This episode brings you the godfather of the virtual office industry, Frank Cottle. Frank reveals how he essentially created the just in time work paradigm over 30 years ago and how it impacts entrepreneurs and businesses today.
Frank Cottle is CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices and Chairman of the Alliance Business Centers Network. He is a recognized expert of flexible working, the virtual office movement and ‘third place’ working. Prior to creating the Alliance brand, Frank, successfully operated his own portfolio of business centers in multiple locations across North America.
Frank has spent almost the past 30 years delivering business services that are finely tuned to the workplace needs of startups, entrepreneurs and growing SMBs. Over the years he has worked with tens of thousands of business owners and, coupled with a unique global management perspective, has become the go-to authority on flexible and remote work.
- Who is Frank Cottle?
Frank started his work life as a commercial diver in Newport Beach, and moved onto the yachting industry. Eventually, he made his way into a brokerage and came to the realization that he will ‘never be an owner as long as he’s a broker’. He decided to go his own way, and opened his own real estate management business focused on changing the way people worked.
The big shift in manufacturing was just in time inventory, Frank felt that the same principle should be applied to real estate and that’s how the concept of serviced offices came about.
The idea of a 10 year lease doesn’t apply to business today.
- How did you see the way the future of work would be?
Shared work and shared economies have existed throughout history and were the model Frank based his business on.
Technology has changed the way work is done in the world today, but even in the 1980’s there were signs that work was moving in that direction. Frank’s offices were actually the test labs for many of the technologies that paved the way for the gig economy.
Every entrepreneur is going to make mistakes, you just have to survive them. The will to do something is as important as having the idea to do something. The road of the entrepreneur is not always going to be smooth.
Stop worrying about what others think, and play your own game.
- How do you deal with regulatory issues?
Every entrepreneur has to deal with regulation in some way. You have to know your own business and adapt appropriately. Be the best student in your industry and you will be eventually be able to work instinctively.
- How did you build Alliance to its current model?
Better lucky than smart. Frank has changed the Alliance business model since its inception after learning from the dot com boom and the rise of technology. Frank looked to the travel industry as a model for offices.
Almost every company today is international. Being able to operate a business globally by providing virtual office services is the target that Frank was trying to hit. If you don’t innovate, you die.
- What services does Alliance provide?
Government is a large client of the serviced offices industry as well as large corporations. The structure of employment has changed, there are fewer employees and more contractors than ever before.
A serviced office is a more efficient use of resources than the old model for companies big and small.
- Frank’s Takeaway
Play the part. If you have an idea that you believe in, there is no reason why you shouldn’t act on it. If you want to win, you have to buy the ticket.
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