Businesses big and small across the country all have to overcome the same hurdle at one time or another: finding the best-suited office space for their needs. Whatever collar-color its designation, your business will benefit from operating in an appropriate space, in which all employees are motivated, productive, and comfortable, and where you can best pitch your product or service to potential investors.
The modern commercial real estate scene has diversified greatly over the past two decades, particularly since the spread of creative office spaces and co-working space providers. While market diversity bodes well for an ever-diversifying economy, it can make the task of locating your perfect office space more daunting.
Finding a Home for ActivTrak in Bustling East Dallas
Our Q&A interview series gathers insight, tips and tricks from industry professionals who have quartered their enterprises in either a traditional or a co-working office. Our interviewees share the reasons for their choice of space, as well as what they found to be most important during their search for the perfect office.
This week we sat down with Brad Price of Birch Grove Software, developers of ActivTrak—a comprehensive cloud-based analytics service, which allows businesses to improve and gain insights on employee productivity.
The Dallas-based company was funded by Herb Axilrod and Anton Seidler, and incorporated in 1995. The business now operates out of Campbell Centre I, a 322,283-square-foot office tower located right off the North Central Expressway. Read on to find out how Birch Grove Software found the perfect office space for its highly skilled team, hand-selected from across the world.
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about your business: what industry are you in and what services do you provide?
A: ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that provides team behavior analytics for organizations big and small. Our Software as a Service creates company transparency instantaneously, and adds a reliable layer of accountability and security. We help teams gain an understanding of how work gets done, what affects productivity, and how to create a more efficient business. Think Google Analytics, but for the office.
Q: Where is your office space located and what did you consider when searching for it? Did you use a third-party company?
A: We’re in a bustling part of Dallas, a few miles outside of the city center. We wanted a place that was accessible, without some of the unnecessary traffic that comes with being in the very heart of the city. We wanted good building management and good facilities. We used a commercial realtor. The building we signed with has an on-site gym, 24-hour access to the building, and allows for expansion or customization of our space, as needed. These aspects have significantly helped our company establish our culture, and attract the kind of talent we need as a growing SaaS Company.
Q: What do you think is the most important thing when searching for office space?
A: In addition to location, I think it’s the freedom to both customize and expand your space. We’ve moved offices, expanded our space, painted walls, modified the network, and a lot more, to make our space our own, and build an inspiring working environment that our team loves.
Q: What challenges did you encounter in the process of leasing/buying the office space and how did you deal with them?
A: We didn’t have any major issues, but there was a lot of jargon flying around, in addition to large amounts of bureaucracy during negotiations, lease signing and lease finalization.
Q: How do you feel about co-working spaces?
A: I don’t think they’re for everyone, but I enjoy the opportunity to engage outside of your daily scope when in a co-working space. If you’re a small, solo, or remote team, co-working spaces can offer loads of benefits that otherwise would only be accessible at a larger or localized company. For us, we wanted to have everyone under one roof from the start, so co-working spaces were never something we were interested in as a company. It’s imperative to know what kind of culture you want to build, and we knew from the start that we wanted an in-house team that could collaborate and solve problems in one space.
Q: What would you recommend to other start-ups looking for office space?
A: Definitely move into a space that you can make your own, and can accommodate swift growth without uprooting your whole operation. Also, don’t overcommit financially. You can typically get something really good for a lot less money, if you look. The key to an inspiring workspace is designing it in a way that reflects your culture, mission, values and team.
Q: Are there any other things you want to share with us? Feel free to add any other information, tips & tricks, or anything else you think start-ups should look out for.
A: Think about the look you want for your office sooner rather than later. It can get expensive to replace things if you decide, 20 people in, that you want different desks, matching equipment, etc. If you don’t know straight away, that’s ok. But keep it in mind before you grow so much that changing things up becomes an unreasonable expense.