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Tagged ‘January, 2014’

Denis Mehigan

The Best Office for Your Business:  Five Rules for Leasing Commercial Real Estate Space

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Companies in San Francisco recently received a boon in their hunt for office space:  a six-year payroll tax exemption in return for helping develop the formerly neglected mid-Market Street area.  However, businesses everywhere can use these five simple rules when looking for commercial real estate space.

Five Rules for Getting a Better Lease: 

  1. It Pays to Shop For Office Space:  Office space is the second largest operating expense of a company’s budget, so it pays to have someone who knows how to find the right space and negotiate the lease.  For smaller companies, finding office space usually falls to the most recently hired employee, who may not know what incentives to ask for.  
  2. Think Outside the Real Estate Listings:  Don’t let yourself be limited by what’s officially on the market.  Large companies often lease a bigger space than they can use and are willing to rent part of it to others.  If there’s an area or even a building you’d really like to be in, you might be able to find space in it even if there isn’t anything officially for rent.  
  3. Make a List of Non-Monetary Lease Benefits:  Incentives aren’t always dollar bills.  One San Jose business asked the city to change a one-way alley behind their building into a two-way street.  After studying the issue, the city made the change, making it easier for their employees to get to the office.  Would your business benefit from building signage or some other non-monetary incentive?  Make a list and see what the landlord or local government is open to doing.  
  4. Timing Counts When Negotiating:   The internet gaming company, Zynga, signed a lease on a building a few months before the mid-Market tax benefits were proposed--and had to go to the mat with city officials over it.  They didn't get the payroll tax, but they did receive a tax cap on stock-based compensation--and a lot of bad press in the process.
  5. Mutuality Makes Good Leases:  There are incentives you can ask for from the city and and others that the landlord can address.  With respectful negotiation and a sense of mutuality, companies can ask for--and obtain--a variety of incentives that make it a win-win for all involved.   

There are many things to consider when renting commercial space.  Knowing the right questions and how to ask them can save you time and money while helping you find the best place for your business to thrive.

If you need consulting on Commercial Real Estate, contact TrustedPeer Expert Denis Mehigan.


CE Shue

How to (Really) Drive Business Innovation

The NYT’s Adam Bryant recently devoted a Corner Office column to the Six Key Drivers that create a culture of innovation in business.  

TrustedPeer CEO Philip Bouchard points out that Bryant overlooks the most important innovation driver of all:  acknowledging and embracing change.  Bouchard shared his views on the 7th Key Driver, which are rooted in his business experience as a CEO as well as his previous training and experience as a Navy SEAL.

 Embracing Change: The 7th Driver of Innovation

  1. Balance change with stability:  Corporations focus on achieving stability.  In an ideal market with no competition, they can tweak the same product every year, work on more efficient manufacturing processes or optimizing solution sales tactics with no pressure and routinized processes.  Embracing change is a necessary counter-balance to moving toward stability.
  2. Don’t be blind:  Any product can be more than just another product, it’s a potential competitor – regardless of the market. The NYT article cited the case of Garmin, the GPS device maker who lost 85% of their sales to Google Maps.  Garmin didn’t see what was going on outside of their industry and got blindsided by Google, which wasn’t even targeting the GPS market.  
  3. Look outside—and listen:  Every company needs to look outside of their comfort zone to understand what consumers are looking for, now and for what’s next.  This process of looking and listening is the basis of creating a culture of innovation.
  4. Be adaptable:  Change happens.  It will happen whether or not we like it (let’s face it, even plants don’t like change).  Change has to be a part of your business strategy. 
  5. Talent matters:  Acquiring the right expertise to make intelligent, targeted change is crucial.  Sometimes companies need to bring in a new perspective to implement innovative changes. It’s not a coincidence that many successful Silicon Valley start-ups have maintained a trend of Acq-Hiring companies.

Change is an opportunity, a positive catalyst.  Smart businesses learn how to use change to their advantage.

What makes the SEAL Teams successful?  They expect change.  They know that no operation is going to result exactly as planned.

Look at the Bin Laden operation.  One of two helicopters critical to the mission became inoperational.  Hey, just another day.  Adjust and continue to execute because you have a culture of embracing change.

Philip Bouchard
Former SEAL Team 2
BUD/S Class 99

If you need consulting on business management, contact TrustedPeer Expert, Philip Bouchard.


CE Shue

Alleviating CEO Stress in 2014

Sunday’s WSJ featured a piece on CEO pressure turning up in 2014.  

We talked to TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard about what CEOs can do to manage the pressure they are under.  Here are 5 simple rules, garnered in a 30-minute Expert Session.

  1. The primary responsibility of the board of directors is to hire and fire the CEO.  The tool the board has is blunt, so it needs attention.
  2. The biggest mistake a CEO can make is to over-promise on your plan.  Be realistic and push back on pressure if the expectations feel unreasonable.
  3. Managing the board isn’t about personal relationships; it’s about trust and straightforward information. This means open communications for both good news and bad.  A board member should never hear news about the company from a third party. Never.
  4. Board-level communications should always be inclusive.  Send an email to all board members stating that you will call each of them over a specified time-frame.  Phone or face-to-face is the only way effective board-level communication should happen.
  5. Use the board to manage strategy, not the details.  You don’t want to ask the board's advice about managing the company; they can hire a new CEO to do that.  You want to talk about your plan, how the company is performing, and what you see coming. Board members respect solid, well-thought-through arguments in which the CEO takes a position and provides a risk assessment.

If you do all of the above, your performance as CEO will burnish board members’ reputations with investors and limited partners. 

Make them look good!

Ultimately, straight talk and predictability earn trust and respect. 

If you need consulting on business management, contact TrustedPeer Expert Philip Bouchard.