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    Five reasons to join a coworking space.

     

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    So this is something I get asked quite a lot and I hasten to add that it’s usually from people who have never worked in a coworking space or people that haven’t heard of coworking before *gasp*, but yes…it’s true, there are people out there who haven’t heard of coworking.

    I think there are many really great reasons, but as we’re all busy people I’d like to distill it down to just five great things and I guess you could say reasons why it’s great to be in a coworking space.

    1. You’re not alone.

    Now even though this sounds pretty obvious, I think it’s really important to remember that humans are naturally quite social beings. We like to meet new people. We like to share our experiences and most of all I think we like to be reminded that we’re not alone.  So being part of a coworking community like Cape Town Office is a great way to not spend what is a large chunk of your day/s alone.

    2. You get all the trimmings, without the price tag.

    This is a pretty great reason all on it’s own to join a coworking space. With the collective buying power a coworking space has, you get enterprise class internet (or you should) without the hefty price tag, for example. Installing a fibre optic internet line, if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where it’s possible, can cost thousands. Then there’s the monthly premium which again can cost you thousands per month so as a freelancer or a small business that’s a really tough expense to swallow every month.

    3. Resources.

    Here at Cape Town Office we have loads of really talented people. Graphic designers, Illustrators, Website developers and even a guy who sells aluminium components to the building industry. Now, granted the last one isn’t exactly something you can make use of daily, but being a couple of desks away from someone who can help create your new brand identity, a cute logo or even your new website can be a very handy thing!

    4. Productivity.

    I know we all like to think of ourselves as self-starters, energy bunnies who jump out of bed in the morning with a big smile on our face ready to face the day, but let’s be honest. There are many days where the mere idea of getting out of bed can be a challenge. Here’s where having “somewhere to go” can be a life saver. You get in, grab a coffee and get to it! Head down for a few hours and before you know it you’ve conquered most of your To-Do list and suddenly the world is a sunnier place.

    5. It’s fun.

    In a coworking space like ours, there are loads of cool and quirky things you can do when you need to get up from your desk and take a break. Games, yes proper arcade games with Pac-Man, Space Invaders and even Moonpatrol on tap…suddenly it’s all about setting that high score. We’ve also got an old school vinyl record player with heaps of tunes and if you’re still feeling a little bored you can always grab a deck of cards and have a few games with someone.

    So there you have it. Five really great reasons to get out of your pajamas and book a desk here at Cape Town Office or any of the coworking spaces in Cape Town for that matter. It’s important that you find your tribe and settle in to a great working experience, so give me a shout if you want to check out CTO.

    Lizelle

    Your host at Cape Town Office

    August 10, 2015
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    Keeping on track.

    04-05-15

    It’s that time of year. We’re nearly half way through 2015, wow…can you believe that, so I thought it might be good to touch base and share how I’m doing on the old “things to do” list.

    Looking at my list at the start of this year there were a few familiar ones.

    1. Loose a few kilos
    2. Be more productive
    3. Find more creative things to do in my spare time

    Like I said all too familiar and alas … not quite as ahead of the game as I’d like. Although I have to give myself a bit of credit on a few things on that list that are some what better than the year before and isn’t that worth celebrating? I say YES – celebrate the little victories along the way, you don’t climb a mountain in one big leap after all, it’s one step at a time.

    As most women, the first item on my list is generally the one that causes a lot of angst and complimentary guilt. My vice is not the sweet stuff, but the delicious combination of barley, hops and wheat best served cold with a bit of a fizz. I am of course talking about beer, any beer but especially craft beer. Cape Town is such a haven for all things craft beer, from The Beer House on Long Street to our Cape Town Office local, Lefties – it’s just so hard to resist.  But, as I said it’s about keeping on track and celebrating those small victories and to that end I’m rather chuffed with myself by only visiting these fine establishments once a week now. It all helps.

    When it comes to productivity, I like most of you, suffer from syndrome known as “loss of time” directly attributed to scrolling aimlessly down the timeline of my social media fix, Facebook. Why is it that we care so much about what others are doing, seeing, drinking or even thinking? This is not a post that will attempt answering the question of our time, but rather how the hell do we cut the umbilical cord and shed that fear of missing out? #FOMO Here’s what I did and it works! I simply deleted the Facebook application from my phone. No, really it’s as simple as that. At first it was hard, really hard filling in time whilst sitting at Vida drinking coffee or standing in the lobby waiting on the lift when I’d usually just stare at my phone and scroll through the posts. The difference is in so small way, A M A Z I N G people. I highly recommend you do it today.

    I still pop in from time to time via my desktop to see what’s been happening, event invitations and wishing people far away Happy Birthday so it’s not like I went cold turkey, but it’s a start!

    The 3rd item on my list is an ongoing project. I’m very excited to be joining a weekly Life drawing class with good friend, Viky Petermann Rueda right here in the building at Artsauce Life drawing studio. It’s been a long, far too long, time since I’ve let the creative juices flow and I’m really looking forward to getting back into that rhythm. There are still spaces available, so if you’re keen on flexing that creative muscle, why not come along. Beginners (and trust me that’s where I’m at) are very welcome. https://www.facebook.com/events/863154777085807/

    We all get so busy with our daily routines, especially when you’re self employed / an entrepreneur that stopping every now and then to nurture that inner Picasso, Leonardo or Monet just moves further and further away.

    Academic researchers have begun to converge on the opinion that:

    “Considerable evidence now suggests that employee creativity can make a substantial contribution to an organization’s growth and competitiveness” (Baer & Oldham, 2006).

    Further in an article in The Economist it was suggested that the biggest challenge facing organizations is identifying and developing individuals with “brainpower (both natural and trained) and especially the ability to think creatively” (Frymire, 2006).

    (Creativitypost.com)

    So what do you to be more creative?

    In the world, this wonderful world of coworking I’m fortunate and blessed to be surrounded by some of the most creative thinkers and do’ers from all disciplines and walks of life. I love how a quick chat in the kitchen over a coffee can lead to a collaboration which may initially only be a small project, but has the potential to be the next big start up. Coworking is such a great way for all of us to be motivated in the morning, especially a Monday, to get out of bed and get to your desk. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

    Here’s to the start of a new month and in keeping with #StarwarsDay … May the 4th be with you!

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

    May 04, 2015
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    These major coworking events will take place in 2015

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    Almost 300,000 people have worked in nearly 6000 coworking spaces worldwide by the end of this year. The coworking movement acquires maturity, expanding with bigger spaces and more locations, an higher diversity of business models, and exploring more niches. This development will be also reflected in more coworking events next year. Asia’s first coworking unconference will be held in Bali.

    The Global Coworking Unconference Conference is going to California. However, it won’t take place only once, but three times, by popping up in Australia and Canada as well. And Africa will get its first dedicated conference on coworking, in Cape Town. It’s time to mark your fresh calendar with the upcoming major events on coworking in 2015!

    Click on the link to get the full list –> http://www.deskmag.com/en/these-major-coworking-conferences-events-barcamps-will-take-place-in-2015

    Via http://www.deskmag.com/

    deskmag

    March 09, 2015
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    Why you need a mentor.

    LaraMorgan

     

    By Lara Morgan

    Lara is Chairman of Company Shortcuts and a member of The Supper Club

    Launching a new business requires such a broad range of skills that it can be extremely daunting for a novice entrepreneur to face alone. Asking for help isn’t always the easiest thing to do in business, but could tapping into the expertise of someone who has already been there and done it be a shortcut to success?

    I was fortunate to be able to call upon numerous mentors over the 17 year period that I ran my first business, and each of them offered different areas of expertise that helped me to navigate the challenges of managing a business going through fast growth.

    Learning to deal with people was one of the first pieces of the management puzzle I identified, so I set about finding a mentor who was an expert in recruitment. Happily, the gentleman I found not only offered me great advice on dealing with people, but he was also a lawyer, the owner of a larger company, a major supplier of mine, and most importantly someone who I liked, respected and could trust.

    I started the company aged just 23, so to be honest I knew very little about some of the more technical aspects of business. I asked my accountancy firm to mentor me through learning accounting, and I would have lunches and buy dinners for individuals that had professional expertise I could tap into, perhaps in social media, branding, digital marketing or almost any other area of business learning. The key is really not being afraid or too proud to ask other people for their help and advice – you will usually find they are flattered you have asked them.

    A mentor can be an invaluable resource for you and your business, and here are the five things I believe a mentor can give you that you will struggle to get anywhere else:

    1. Help identifying and understanding your own strengths and weaknesses

    2. A network of contacts that would take years to build for yourself

    3. An alternative perspective on problems and challenges

    4. Honest, constructive criticism – it is not a mentor’s job to just agree with whatever you do

    5. Coaching to help you develop the skills that you are lacking

    When it comes to mentoring, I have found that my time and skills are much better suited to public speaking. This has allowed me to share enterprise stories around my successes in export, the experiences I have in both failed and successful business exit and my opinion on the other areas of company development that I have a strong passion about, with a much wider audience. In a public speech I can reach a number of people in a short period, and get an understanding of the challenges the whole audience may be facing.

    With that in mind, it doesn’t mean that I am not delighted to be asked for advice by entrepreneurs. I feel humbled to think people may want my one-to-one advice, but I hope that by sharing my story and the lessons I have learned on a larger scale will help more entrepreneurs all over Britain take the right shortcuts to success.

    Lara Morgan is Chairman of Company Shortcuts – a consultancy dedicated to excellence in sales and leadership. Lara combines her own fast-growth experience with a passion for unlocking the growth potential of established businesses to help organisations whose ambition has stalled. 

    Lara Morgan is on Twitter @IamLaraMorgan

     

    January 13, 2015
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    Thank you!

    Well here we are team, the nearly nearly end of 2014 and pheweeee what a ride it’s been! I wanted to take a minute and thank all of you who helped make this year a very special one in the life of CTO. Too many to mention by name, and I’m sure you’ll forgive me for not running off a list of names like the shiny people do at the Oscar’s.

    So, please accept this token of thanks for me for your contribution, love and support.

    A quick recap of 2014

    We started the year in our old 3rd floor offices with a full compliment of monkeys all beavering away in a very hot and rather stuffy office. It was challenging to say the least, with no airconditioning to help us cope in the heat of Cape Town summer. But we soldiered on with fans, ice buckets and spritzer bottles galore along with the endless supply of ice cold Cafe Gelado’s from Vida downstairs.

    Then came the news… we’d found an investor and we were E X P A N D I N G. Exciting and scary all at the same time it was clear that we needed to make this move as we’d outgrown our space and demand was growing by the day. We then went about scouting for a new home and found the ideal spot, same building, just one floor down – twice the size with windows and views. What more could we want. The rest of the story moved pretty fast with the appointment of LEVR creations as our design team, the work began.

    Work took about 3 months from start to finish, which is pretty good considering most of the hard stuff  had to happen after hours due to the noise restriction in the building. It’s one of those things you don’t realise when  you’re not in the “trade” I guess, but a pretty big consideration no less. The LEVR team were impeccable in their management of the project and the delivery and I couldn’t be happier in the space we’re in today.

    On swealtering days, 29C + we’re cool as cucumbers inside because of their very clever design. I’ve waxed lyrical about their work in previous blogs so won’t go on too much here. Check out the pics here –> http://www.capetownoffice.com/gallery/

    September we had 16 people working from Cape Town Office and I’m proud as punch to say that we’ve more than doubled that already. There are of course still a handful of places left from January, but it’s filling up…fast!

    Looking at 2015

    #CTO3: Very exciting year ahead for CTO with the development of our 3rd space underway already that will have bigger workstations and optional private offices for 2-4 people. We can’t wait to get cracking on this when the builders return from their holidays. For now everyone has downed tools and gone on holiday, a well deserved holiday to say the least.

    #CoWorkingAfrica:  I’ve spent the past few months colluding with Global Enterprise, organizers of the annual CoWorking Europe conference. 2014 saw the 5th successful European #coworking conference take place in Lisbon attended by 320 delegates from 40 different countries. The growth and continued interest in the phenomenon we call #coworking has, as we all know, spilled over into Africa. We felt that the time had come for Africa to celebrate the community of #coworking spaces and what better African city to host this event than Cape Town?!!

    After many skype calls to Belgium we finally arrived at the date of July 23-24 2015 and proud to say that the conference will be held right here in our building at East City Studios. The website for the conference is still under construction, so I will keep you updated via Twitter @capetownoffice on that and other goings on.

    I’m looking forward to the next six months and hope to see you all sooner rather than later!

    Happy Holidays - CTO

    December 19, 2014
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    So who CoWorks in a space like CTO?

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    I often get asked “what other businesses are in the space”, so thought it was time for an update. What’s lovely is the variety of “trades” we have here at Cape Town Office which really creates opportunity for everyone to naturally network. Also, some of you might be interested to learn that not all our members are Entrepreneurs either. We have three companies that use CTO as a base for their employees, two in the UK and one in the USA. We also had our very first UNISA undergraduate join the CTO this month as he simply needed a quiet, focused space to do his studying from away from home.

    Sometimes its not about anything more than breaking the dreaded isolation curse that so many people face when working from home. Socially a space like this can be very uplifting and naturally help someone who might be stuck in a rut change tact in their business to gain better results. Sometimes its just a bit of human interaction that’s required to lift the spirits after a tough day in the office and comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. Many other Entrepreneurs have been in your position and there is a way out!

    We have Graphic designers, Content creators, Financial analyst, Aluminum Composite Panels suppliers, Architects, Software developers specializing in interactive digital display installations, Knitwear, Not for profit, Videographer and even Tour operators and more…

    Here’s a quick list…

    Shane / Ridhu / Richard, Digital genii of RenderHeads

    Ronelle, Founder of TREK outdoor survival gear  and Graphic Designer, GraficTrafic

    Rethabile, Founder of  Thope Foundation

    Michael, Website guru of Solutions Web

    David, Entrepreneur and Founder of NitroCreamy & Missing Piece Films 

    Thorsten, Social Media Consultations and Website Design / www.thorsteneggert.com

    Julian, Chief of Head Stream Water Solutions

    Naomi, Operations behind Khuluma Education

    Anthony, Sales engine of DrinC

    Pete, Illustrator and Founder of LightSpeedDesign

    Annie, Inbound Product and Operations Manager for Jacada Travel

    Tobias & Ann-Marie, Founders and Creative monkeys behind LEVR Creations. (Architects / Interior Design / Furniture)

    Kevin, Sales & Marketing engine of Chocolate & Love

    Amy, Designer for Top Left Design UK

    Dylan & Meagan, Support operators for Order Talk US

    Andrew, Freelance online marketing  & content creator for www.capetownbig6.co.za www.capepoint.co.za www.civair.co.za

    Roberto, Energy Trading Analyst for Trailstone

    Sean, Sales Genius for Alcobond 

    Lizelle (that’s me), Founder of LVR – Business to Business lead generation / marketing

    John & Sonja of Big Blue Sky Tours – Independent Tour Operators

    Brigitta, who with her mom run a small family business supplying quality Knitwear to South African high street retailers

    Denise, in the throws of writing a book & doing her Post PHD

    Guiseppe, doing his Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing via Unisa

    Roelf, Founder of Extra Mile Cabs (Pty) Ltd

    Johann, our resident IT guru – MyIT FIX (website coming soon)

    So, that’s the current list of CTO members and more joining us every week now which is just brilliant. Keep in touch via Twitter @capetownoffice or Facebook /capetownoffice for all the goings on at CTO. If this sounds like it could be a solution for you, don’t wait – pop in & see what you’re missing out on!

    #cowork #network #collaborate

    Best,

    Lizelle

     

    October 17, 2014
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    Seeking investment? The Supper Club Angels’ Tips to a Winning Pitch

    The Supper Club is the UK’s leading membership club exclusively for fast growth entrepreneurs of mid-sized businesses, encouraging business leaders to inspire, support and challenge each other in the pursuit of business growth. http://www.thesupperclub.com/

    By The Supper Club (UK) 

    Are you seeking investment?

    Raising money for SMEs and start-ups is not an easy job and one of the many challenges that entrepreneurs face. Angel investors can be a valuable option and source of funding, support and expertise.

    Our Investment Club runs twice a year, offering you the opportunity to raise investment via our panel of vetted and experienced entrepreneurs. With a combined turnover of around £150M our Supper Club Angels can offer expertise in a variety of sectors such as; technology, gaming, property, logistics and business services.

    In such a competitive environment, having the right information is your best tool. Here are our Supper Club Angels’ top tips on working up a winning pitch:

    Investors often look to invest in the people ahead of the business. Be confident, speak in plain English and ensure you come across as polished. Make sure you explain who your team is and why they are the right people to drive success.

    The scalability of your venture is what will appeal to investors so aim for an exciting but realistic outlook. Emphasise existing revenues and customers if you have them as these will give investors a lot of confidence. Be clear on the risks and how you will address them.

    State what your own personal investment in the venture has been or will be. Investors will not put money in if you haven’t put in some of your own cash and time. Investors will place a premium on you if you work in your venture full-time as this demonstrates your commitment.

    Keep your business plan short, around 2-3 pages, be concise, focus on what the reader needs to know and remove any fluff. The plan should explain clearly how you deliver value to your customers and extract value from them along with a realistic financial projection.

    Get to grips with the finances! Whoever you are pitching to will want to see that you have a very tight plan, know every future figure and know when you’ll see return etc. Avoid a hockey stick plan that relies on sudden massive growth – it won’t be believable.

    Investing in a business is never going to be something an Angel takes on lightly. Of course your pitch needs to reflect you and your business, but the recipe to success is based on your power to inspire confidence, reliability, passion, ability and integrity.

    Follow The Supper Club on Twitter for more great tips on growing your business @TheSupperClubUK

    October 06, 2014