10 Years of Office Divvy
Office Divvy is celebrating 10 years in business in 2018!
When we launched Office Divvy back on January the 2nd, 2008, there was so much we did not know…
We did not know that the rug was pulled from under us, economically speaking. The downturn in real estate and the economy was felt first in major markets in the United States. The small sleepy suburban community we lived and worked in–in this northeastern corner of Florida, Flagler County–had some signs of a slowdown but we did not know that was the start of a worldwide recession and the next four years in Flagler County were going to be so bad that our area was going to be among the highest unemployment figures and probably one of the worst places for overall business.
We did not know that our idea of Palm Coast Coworking was about to become a national and worldwide phenomenon and movement. Creating a monthly location-and-workspace-subscription for Coworking and starting “Coworking Jellies” in Palm Coast and Flagler County, put Office Divvy among the first dozen or so companies in the United States doing anything like it!
We did not know this small company–originally started as a side hustle–was about to create so much noise and big economic impact in Palm Coast and Flagler County. We thought, first, we’ll build a community for consultants, freelancers, technologists, and entrepreneurs. And we would primarily solve problems such as isolation and distractions that can come with working from a home office. But it became so much more than that.
In the Beginning
Three co-founders with complementary skills found each other, trusted each other, and ideas were born. In the Fall of 2007 we did what most Startup founders do when it comes to creating a new business–created a concept, funded it and executed the idea.
Team is so important for a Startup. At the time of launch, your team often is your co-founders. Find people who complement your skills –that is unless you have funding to hire tremendous people from Day-1.
Our partner, Sim, was instrumental with the space itself and really providing good, sound advice.
Lisa was tremendous in what she does best, project management, launch strategy and systems & procedures, and of course coming up with the name, Office Divvy.
…and I did what I do best, a one page business plan (with components including financial projections on a single excel sheet and visualizations similar to what later became known as “business plan matrix”), getting the website domain name, designing the first website over a weekend, and getting the word out with inbound marketing moves.
We filed out our incorporation papers and officially got started on January 2nd, 2008.
We started talking to people about Office Divvy, and in the background we worked on all the other logistical items that need to be worked on when you create a new business.
Our First Clients
We signed our first two clients in late January. About a month in, early February of 2008, we received compliments from both of them on how our “office space” solution was a perfect match to their needs–and that’s when we knew we had something.
Our first client was a Startup franchise owner. He wanted to be financially conservative when it came to his office overhead as he officially launched his company. Within 6 months he realized he did not want to continue the business he started.
A traditional “business location” choice would have cost him tens of thousands of dollars, and might have made him feel locked in. Our location solution was the best way for him to test his business idea and prove it out as not the right time to pursue.
Decisions to not move forward or failures can be learning experiences. This failure was celebrated for this entrepreneur.
Our second client, was an attorney who moved to Palm Coast from Fort Lauderdale.
And at this stage, the reception and lobby area, one meeting room and one other private office, were complete. Other offices, community workspaces, and conference rooms were not.
When we gave him the tour we still had three rows of folding chairs standing alone in an otherwise empty room. We were testing a conference/presentation room idea for Office Divvy at the time.
He never referenced our “soft launch” indicators. Instead, he said “you look and sound like reliable people, I will do business with you.”
10 years later, that second client, is still an Office Divvy client.
In ten years, over $100,000 in savings has afforded him the flexibility to spend those dollars in other ways.
He’s an O’Divvy advocate. He goes out of his way to tell others that we have exponentially helped his practice in ways he could not have known back in 2008.
He told us on many occasions that we never steered him the wrong way.
Feedback like that is what makes our business priceless.
The First Two Years
One and a half years into our Startup, by the Summer of 2009, we doubled our space by expanding into the next business suite.
As of late 2009, we already started adding services by observing the common pain points of our clients–including a High Touch Boutique Call Desk and Virtual Assistant Services. We started growing the team with growing services.
Observations we made about our members’ pain points early on and the solutions and services we’ve created to solve those pain points really laid the foundation of what Office Divvy has become.
Today, you won’t find Office Divvy in a New York or a San Francisco.
By design, we operate in an under-served and underprivileged area for entrepreneurship.
We call ourselves a Business Percolator, because there is no operation similar to Office Divvy anywhere in the United States that we see: Under one roof we provide Co-Location Facilities (a business cluster and community), a one-of-a-kind Call Desk; Business and Digital Consulting and workshops and classes, that are simply not available anywhere else.
A very good profile of our business is captured in Thrive Magazine by Flagler Chamber of Commerce ..if you have time, do read that, if not, get a feel from this video:
And take a sneak peak in another video below of all the wonderful things that have happened since we began in 2008 here in this “visual timeline” laid on the X-axis, with World events laid right below.
We sent out 500+ cards with this timeline to past and present clients, friends and ambassadors of Office Divvy, and the dignitaries in Palm Coast and Flagler County.
If you would like to receive a copy of the full timeline, do let us know by contacting us on the Office Divvy Facebook page or call us 386-445-4153, and give us your address and we’ll mail you one.
Perhaps a scorecard of Office Divvy at this 10 year mark of our company through the following infographic is appropriate also:
The Good Times Come with The Bad
Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.
In the case of Office Divvy, we have been certainly having fun and doing something super meaningful to us and for our clients. But emotions in business are never linear.
Certainly, there is laughter, pride, jumping up and down with joy, and happiness in business.
But there is also sadness, frustration, anger, anxiety, exhaustion, fear, shock and other not so fun moments.
Not everything was rosy during these 10 years. We had moments of real challenges, difficulties, and uncertainty.
Difficult, negative moments are just facts of life, including the business life.
Two losses that hit hard and reminded us how fragile life is were our long time Office Divvy member, Jonathan Stanley of PC Specialists, and our own, beloved Intern, Jirawadee Marie Battenhouse. Their memory will always be with us.
We’re full of gratitude at this 10 year mark, to all those with whom our lives intersected, in this journey. That includes our hundreds of clients, friends and supporters of Office Divvy, and certainly the Office Divvy team.
A lot of amazing people have been part of the Office Divvy story. Team members going on to do huge things, and some still discovering, is all part of the fabric that is Office Divvy. But there is no doubt their lives and ours have been impacted from this experience.
Each and every year, I say, “we have the best ever team this year”. That’s a genuine sentiment.
Our team, as we marked our 10 years, is comprised of a fantastic mix of individuals ranging from age 15 to 84! I certainly feel our current team who is marking this 10 year anniversary with us is the most amazing of all.
In the sport of business, the team matters a lot!
So…. Thank you team! Past and present….for making the 10 years possible for Office Divvy!
Here, a shoutout to all those team members who’ve contributed to Office Divvy is certainly appropriate. Lisa and I are thankful to all past and present team members:
Writing about our gratitude for 2008 and beyond, makes us want to write a little on what we suspect we don’t know about 2018 and the years to come and all the things we have yet to be grateful for.
Some Things Never Change
Some things in life and business never change, especially the values that we hold closest to our heart. And at Office Divvy the thing that we hold closest to our hearts (both personally and within the companies mantra) is “Empowering Entrepreneurs.”
Our commitment to entrepreneurs–and to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, locally in Flagler County and even regionally in Central Florida–will always be a top priority. This doesn’t just hold true to us, but to our team as well, who all have customer service based interests and a love of people.
This ties in nicely to another point that will never change in our culture here, which is our dedication to a client-first approach. We have a progressive, real-human customer service mindset, both in person and on the phones –which is one of the best in the country.
And we stay up-to-date with technology as a company too. This year in 2018 we started developing two of our own apps, for space management and concierge-services. Because we stay in the now and do things 10-times better than anything that is on the market currently, we are always creating new things and staying current.
Our commitment to share what we know, continues through classes and workshops.
Which brings us full circle to our dedication to entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Flagler County and Central Florida. The more we give, the more we get.
“Change is the only constant in life” ~ Heraclitus
You can expect incremental changes, in the form of improvements to our commitment to entrepreneurship, services, technology. That is all expected in business.
But there are also other types of changes we’re planning ahead.
One of the major ones is our vision to take the Office Divvy concept to a much larger scale and reach groups beyond our current client profile. It is our goal to build a standalone complex that scales the existing operation–which services: professionals, laptop workers, and those who need to meet clients; but also expand it to other types of potential members. To name a few:
- Trucks-in-the-field with workshop and storage spaces
- Food entrepreneurs
- Makers and the creative class
- Photography & videography
- Sound entrepreneurs
- And more
You’ll get updates from us as we start materializing this vision and the goal.
Second big change is our plan to take the grassroots event we created, Entrepreneur Night, to a more impactful status. With this move, our wonderful event, that was born in 2011, can make a bigger contribution to the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem in the years ahead.
There are changes that we initiate. Then there are changes that the environment dictates…
In the next 10 years (in fact, probably in the next few years) another economic slowdown is something we feel is coming.
The business model we’ve created has proven to live through the up and down cycles of the economy, so we are ready for that. We hope though that the entrepreneurs in this landscape have the vision to understand and consider the services and solutions offered by Office Divvy. Otherwise we’re afraid they will lose the battle to either overhead or to consolidation that’s been happening in different industries and professions.
If you’ve never taken a tour of Office Divvy, call us to schedule one: 386-445-4153
We’ll also offer you a fresh cup of coffee and learn a little bit about your business, too.
As you read this article, tell me, have our lives intersected with you? Please leave a comment below. We’d appreciate it very much…
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