OfficePort and JavaPort
Two of the newest and innovative evolutions in startup business concepts to hit Kansas City. OfficePort has been marketed as a turnkey, zero-commitment, shared work environment for freelancers and small business. There are no contracts to sign and no business plans to submit. Crazy, you say? Or is this thinking outside the box. I work with many business owners, overhead is one of the main reasons they are unable to get their business to truly move from dream to reality. It is an obstacle that has to be overcome for some businesses to take off.
Shaul Jolles is here to save the day.
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Shaul has created a very unique environment that is conducive to collaboration. From the minute you walk in the place you immediately feel the vibe is different there. It’s open, it’s creative, it’s unique which fits right in to my theme of this blog. How are business owners doing unique things that set them apart from everyone else? Shaul is doing just that, setting himself apart from others.
OfficePort is currently already booked full. However, JavaPort recently opened about 3 weeks ago and is basically a coffee shop space yet business owners have access to the same support that OfficePort uses which are 24/7 access, Business mailing address, Unlimited Roasterie coffee bar, T1 internet service, Telephone access, Scanning services, table and bar seating, multiple lounge areas, reduced rates for conference room and event space.
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Shaul Jolles and Michael Edmondson co-developed this 94-year-old building. Shaul is a broker in the crossroads district with several buildings that he rents out. But by far this is the most collaborative environment that everyone is using. He is loving what he is doing with this space. It is evident as he talks about his newest passion. He lights up and smiles about this new venture that everyone around him is obviously enjoying. He is very interested in helping small businesses grow and has partnered with UMKC Entrepreneur Small Business Development who can help business owners find funding which gives them the chance to succeed. Overhead can kill entrepreneurial spirit, being alone can help depression fester. Having a space that allows interaction and collaboration with others not only allieviates those issues but fosters creativity as well.
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“Jolles and partner Mike Edmondson have led the effort, spending about $500,000 to finish the space, but supporters include a blend of local players. The Roasterie, based in Kansas City, donated several thousand dollars in coffee equipment. University of Missouri-Kansas City business groups will provide entrepreneur advisory services and training programs; JavaPort will offer FastTrac program grads a month free. OfficePort tenant PlanetReusedotcom LLC provided, at cost, high tables and other furniture, much made from wood recovered from Union Station’s floor. Kansas City-based Avid Communications LLC provides the connectivity.” (taken from http://officeportkc.com/)
The VIBE: this is a creative space, almost an anti-corporate America feeling. Flexibility, with a business plan that is too structured doesn’t allow for the kind of flexibility that can let your overhead change. Signing a contract for 1-5 years with huge commitment to rent can kill a dream. Shaul is a dream nurturer. He is doing what he can to give everyone the flexibility they need to make their dreams not only possible but easily adaptable as their business needs shift and change.
Collaboration is a key in this innovative space. One problem many home business owners have is lack of contact and collaboration with other people. It can be very isolating to work from home at times.
Shaul uses a handshake type agreement(brief contract month-to-month) which is based on Trust. This is exactly the type of agreement I have with my coaching clients. I ask that each person continuously assess as they move forward, ‘is this meeting your needs and helping you reach your goals.’ If it isn’t then as a consumer and business owner you should find a different solution.
The one thing that I think separates Shaul from other entrepreneurs is his focus on building relationships. He is creating relationships in the community of entrepreneurs and small business owners who as their businesses grow will be looking for other space to move into. Who would you choose to do business with? I’d choose someone I already know and trust which for these business owners will be Shaul Jolles. Someone they have seen daily and is invested in their success. Not only has he seen a niche that needed to be filled. He stepped up to utilize a building he had. If anyone is wondering given the cheap rent, he is not making a killing on this venture. But, how do you place a value on building trust and relationships?
I walked away from my meeting with Shaul wanting to shout from the roof tops what a great guy he is. Relationship building is about giving not getting. Shaul is giving much more than he is getting from this venture if your looking at ROI, but if your asking around town his reputation is building a strong foundation that will carry him long into his new ventures.
Coaching Question: How many people walk away from meeting you blown away by how much you give?
How are you revolutionizing things? Share your thoughts here.