Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Paperless: dream or possible?

    Weird topic right? But the other day I had a pleasure of spending time in a similar space to Cape Town Office, 88mph located in the (uber trendy) Woodstock Exchange. A good friend of mine has taken over the running of the space and what a space it is. I won’t bore you with the details only to say that this is a space for tech heads, start-ups to be exact.

    Sitting with my mate I couldn’t help but notice the distinct lack of shelving / storage and so asked him about this. I wondered whether there were perhaps lockers or cabinets elsewhere where they could store their paper work. The answer I got was simply, no. This is a paperless office.

    When I got back to my office and saw the amount of paperwork on my desk I wondered to myself whether it was possible to lead a 100% paperless office.

    ADMIN

    I work online and receive as much as I can (bills etc.) via email, but still I have paperwork that I need to file, so even in this day and age my question is whether this is simply an ideal we strive for or whether it’s possible to truly have a paperless office.

    So, send me your thoughts / comments and pictures of your desk to compare.

    Can you go 100% paperless?

    Have a great week,

    Lizelle

     

    October 07, 2013
    APP development Business Cape Town Digital Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Start-up

    Start-up diary: Collaborative workspaces are great for growing businesses c/o The Telegraph

    Forgive me for “borrowing” this content, but this is a great read for those of you still trying to work from home. This might just be what you needed to hear.

    Deciding where you’re going to base your business is a massive headache. With little money coming in to begin, with you feel you should work at home. I did this for a few weeks but found it a distracting existence. Due to the close proximity of my kitchen and internet recipes, I found myself becoming a better chef rather than a better entrepreneur.

    What was worse, though, was feeling that I couldn’t switch off when the working day was done. So I went through the business owners’ rite of passage of looking for office space.

    Initially I was not looking forward to this. I felt I would be faced with serving my time in a broom cupboard. Yet due to the huge growth in single-person businesses, up by 500,000 between 2008 and 2012, a whole industry has emerged that provides workspace to this group.

    Collaborative workspaces are the hot new trend for one-man bands. These are spaces in which like-minded communities of entrepreneurs work in the same area and help each other. This concept is attractive because they naturally create a sociable environment by bringing together companies that have things in common.

    A central theme of my business is to ensure that the operation of 100 Bodycare is as environmentally friendly as possible in terms of its ingredients, packaging and production, so when I was looking for space I sought a community of social entrepreneurs and soon came across The Hub.

    This concept was launched in 2005 in a converted warehouse in Islington and has grown to have workspace on five continents. Anna Levy, who co-managers the Hub Islington, describes Hub entrepreneurs as “having a shared set of values in wanting to make a positive social impact with their businesses.”

    The Hub was my first proper office. I found it particularly useful in moulding the initial structure of my business before I started trading. The Hub is setup to foster communication between its businesses and I benefitted from its monthly Hub Club meetings in which entrepreneurs present business problems to each other. I made a presentation about measuring the carbon footprint of my packaging and as a result got the feedback and contacts I needed.

    Entrepreneurial business space is increasingly transient in nature. Community-based spaces have contributed to this trend as certain environments can suit your business at different stages in its lifecycle. Therefore many small businesses have a nomadic existence going from one community to another and sometimes back again depending on the needs of the business at a point in time.

    This was certainly the reason I left the Hub. When I started trading I recognised that I had a big knowledge gap around digital technology. In order to compete with the larger companies in my industry, this was something I really had to learn. As a result, I sought out a workspace called ‘The Accelerator’ based in Shoreditch, London.

    The Accelerator is publically funded to support high growth businesses which use digital technology. It develops the digital knowledge base of its community and helped me via courses they put together from the learning of the businesses that work there.

    In addition the Accelerator provides strategic advice to its entrepreneurs via a team of experienced business people that coordinate the workspace. Richard Celm, who manages the Accelerator, also explained that he sometimes facilitates access to finance.

    “We have private and public contacts that have helped Accelerator businesses such as ‘Tweet Photo’ and ‘Fitness to Life’ recently get the funds for growth,” he told me. “Being publically-funded makes our willingness to help entrepreneurs more credible as we’ve got no commercial agenda.”

    Collaborative spaces aren’t perfect for every type of business. The byproduct of the vibrancy of a collaborative space is that they’re often very noisy and distracting. Also there can be an issue of employee retention as the close proximity of the community can lead to people moving from one company to another. Nevertheless, for my business at the moment, as I seek to evolve my business model, the contacts and knowledge I’m gaining offset the disadvantages.

    I hope my thoughts were of use and if anyone wishes to contact me I’m very happy to help on www.100bodycare.com

    To comment on the original piece, please visit The Telegraph website here.

    Happy October folks (or should that be #Ocsober)

    Lizelle

    October 02, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Internet Shared Office Social media Uncategorized

    Greetings…Salutations…And all things yummy for 2013.

    Brave new world this post apocalypse stuff – we’re all here, the world did not go BANG (as expected) and most of us are back into the swing of things worky wise. On a personal note I’m rather glad that’s the case, as I quite enjoy this world and all the delicious things it has to offer.

    Cape Town Office is bursting at the seams *she says with a delighted tone* with newcomers from near and far. Welcome to Craig from Core Systems who’s returned to his Cape Town roots from London. Jessica who joins us for a few months from the Berlin office of World First. Christina and SJ from Event Stars and the crew from Maverick Digital (too many to mention) make us 20 in the office all together.  What a lively bunch and I look forward to getting to know them all over the coming months.

    So 2013 is off to a great start and I feel truly privileged to share space, rub shoulders, hang 5 and all that jazz with these guys. Our regulars of course should also get a wee mention – Brandon from ASA Media, Barry our resident Irish software guru, Angus from African Storybook, Ronelle from Graffic Traffic, Robyn from Word on the Street, Suzanne…freelance Education consultant, Paula from ResRequest, Jennifer freelance Writer / Layout & Design and Alex from ABO (A Back Office).

    Wishing all you monkeys a fabulously productive and successful 2013… may we all thrive 🙂

    Please do come say hi on Twitter @capetownoffice 🙂

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

    January 11, 2013
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media Uncategorized

    Excitement in the air is blowin to the East

    Hey crazy kids,

    So the Fringe is one exciting place to be right now. A few weeks ago a new little Gem of a spot opened its doors on Roeland and let the beautiful aroma of  Deluxe & Kupa Coffee pour out to entice us in. The Blend / East City Eatery is a fine addition to all the hungry and coffee loving folk here on Roeland Street and at R15 for a flat white you can’t go wrong!

    Our office is filling up nicely now with the addition of two new faces. Chris (photo editor) and Paula (business consultant) and they’re both in the same boat… they simply can’t work from home! Welcome guys and here’s to a productive end to 2012 😉

    The building is also coming along very nicely now with rumours adrift of a Sushi Bar on the ground level… ooooh la la. The 7th floor space is also nearly ready with the official opening party happening this month, you can imagine the stress levels up there! But it’ll be well worth it, there simply is NO other venue like it in Cape Town. End of.

    This was taken yesterday (excuse the crappy Blackberry image), but really…that’s the view…wow! 

     

    So that’s about all for this one kids. Hope you guys have a grand rest of October and I’ll be sure to keep you all posted with the developments here.

    Cheers,

    Lizelle

     

     

    October 11, 2012
    Business Cape Town Entrepreneur Network Hot Desk Infographic Internet Shared Office Social media

    Spring is here!

    So the doors to CTO are open once more and so it’s time (I thought) for a quick update. Sadly the building we’re in is still not finished, but a whole lot further along and looking absolutely brilliant.

    We reopened the doors in June after a few month’s away, shuffled the furniture around a wee bit and put up a few new prints on the walls and gosh I have to say it’s lovely to be back! We now have 17 comfy workstations in the office and we’ve created even cosier spaces for those individual freelancers to work from. The idea we started with all those months ago is still at the core of what we have here, keeping it as affordable as possible to those who cannot work from home any more and need a bit of social banter with living beings other than their cats.

    I think we’ve achieved just that. We’re keeping the price at R1,100 per month and that includes your desk (obviously) and internet (2Gig) which I think is dirt cheap!

    Currently home to the following peeps:
    * Evoluu
    * Graffic Traffic
    * ABO Software
    * African Storybook
    * ASA Media
    * LVR business to business

     

    The other rather exciting addition to the 62 Roeland Street family on the 3rd floor is Shanti Yoga. Ulrika opened up shop a month or so ago and it’s awesome to have such a lovely calm vibe right next door to our office. Check out http://www.shanticapetown.co.za/ for more information, specials and beginners offers!

    Hope you all have a marvellous start to Spring…after what’s been a rather long and cold winter.

    Cheery,

    Lizelle

    September 04, 2012
    Business Internet Social media

    Mixed Results as Google Enters Microsoft’s Turf

    Via: http://jascoll.blogspot.com

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Michael O’Brien, vice president for information technology at Journal Communications, would prefer not to have the employees of the Milwaukee media company use Microsoft’s Office software any more.

     

    Via: http://www.nytimes.com

    Venkat Panchapakesan of Google, left, and David Girouard, who runs Google Apps for Business. The service has lured small businesses, but few big companies, away from Microsoft Office.

     

    He has installed Google Apps for Businesses, which provides word processing, spreadsheets, e-mail and calendar software, for 400 people and said he planned to “convert” 900 more.

    Because Google Apps performs many of the same functions as Office, but through a Web browser instead of local software, it is cheaper to own and operate than Microsoft’s desktop software, he said. An additional 1,400 people will be giving up their Microsoft e-mail, documents and spreadsheets for Google in December.

    Mr. O’Brien said he was also seeing a difference in behavior. Many people can look at and work on the same content together, and access their memos and calendars from lots of different Web-connected devices. So people are starting to work together by sharing documents that are stored in the cloud. Even at this early stage, he said, “it started to change us.”

    What’s happening at Journal Communications is one small win for Google and its cloud computing challenge to Microsoft’s lucrative Office division, maker of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. But more than 4 1/2 years after Google Apps for business made its debut, the question remains how much of a dent Google is making in Microsoft’s business.

    Microsoft says Google’s efforts are hardly noticeable. But Google executives say that more and bigger companies are signing up for the cloud service.

    Possibly more important to Google is the way that Apps helps Google build social networks inside business. If successful, it would be a threat to Microsoft’s biggest division and would create another inroad in its struggle with Facebook to dominate users’ online lives.

    “Businesses are inherently about people and relationships,” said David Girouard, who runs Google’s Apps business. Predictable things, like figuring out the supplies needed for manufacture, were “not the minimum to play,” he said. “You need to have a social system, where a guy can introduce an idea about a new supplier, and he gets input from a lot of people quickly.”

    Though Mr. Girouard said that 5,000 businesses a day signed up with Google Apps, few big companies have done so, most likely because some people do not entirely trust a cloud-based service, they like Microsoft or do not want to force employees to learn a new system. So Google does the next best thing and is focusing primarily on smaller businesses. Google maximizes the appeal of documents, calendars and spreadsheets at a cost of $50 a person a year. Many companies say that is 50 percent to 80 percent cheaper than Office. Google has the deep pockets to go slow since its search-related businesses bring in over $30 billion.

     

    Via: http://jascoll.blogspot.com

     

    Microsoft has deep pockets too. Its Office division revenue alone is $5.6 billion.

    Most corporate software is sold through big consulting firms, like I.B.M. or Accenture, but Google has yet to use a partner. “They have approached other companies, but others think it’s not in their best interest,” said David M. Smith, an analyst with Gartner. He estimates Google gets just $150 million a year from Apps, and that it is not enough to cover costs. Google says it does make a profit.

    Instead, it uses the business in “asymmetric warfare” with Microsoft. “Google spends $1 to make Microsoft spend $10 defending itself, because Microsoft went after Google on search,” Mr. Smith said.

    Microsoft is dismissive of the situation.

    “We sell a copy of Office 2010 every second — over 100 million so far,” said Tom Rizzo, a senior director in the Office division. “Nine out of 10 customers who use Google keep Office on their desktop.”

    Microsoft started its own online documents business in June, at a price of $2 to $27 a month for each employee using the service. Mr. Rizzo, a 10-year Microsoft employee, would not say how sales were, but said, “I think this has the potential to be the fastest-growing product I’ve ever been a part of.”

    Via: freshnetworks.com

    Bradley Horowitz, vice president in charge of products at Google+, the company’s new social network, says the long-term reality of cloud computing will be the obliteration of any line between business and consumer. “Work and home meld into each other,” he said. “People at home already have access to huge supercomputers through the Google grid; they will not abide having old tools at work.”

    Google Apps is centered on Gmail, used at no cost by hundreds of millions of people. The free version comes with ads and fewer features. Paid Apps have no ads, and Google says it guarantees a sustained quality of service and provides features like a way to publish corporate videos.

    Capgemini, a technology services consultancy, uses Apps in a Guatemala-based call center because employees were used to the free version. That cut training time. Virgin America uses the Gmail system for its 2,100 employees, but lets people choose whether to use Microsoft Office. “When you have people on one tool, it takes them awhile to convince them it’s worth it to move,” said Dean Cookson, Virgin’s chief information officer. “It comes down to finding the killer thing the new one does.”

    Google recently enabled companies to create corporate pages inside Google+, its social network site akin to Facebook. Where the consumer version of Google+ has a feature called “Circles,” which allows a person to keep the posts he shares with his frat brothers separate from those he shares with his mother, corporate Circles can be used to create virtual departments and teams, or for collaboration on projects including e-mail, documents, or video.

    Once Google+ has perfected features like security and encryption, said Mr. Horowitz of Google, “it will change the way people work, share and communicate. I’ll have work conversations at 100 water coolers a day.”

    Via: blog.turnthescrew.com

    At Journal Communications, Mr. O’Brien’s staff used Circles to train people on the transition from Microsoft Office to Apps. “We deployed six different teams in six rooms,” with video links between each, he said. “People could go into different rooms, and get different expertise from anyone in one of the other rooms.” He thinks using Circles to establish ad hoc teams of reporters will enhance collaboration among the company’s newspapers and television businesses.

    Mr. Girouard said that Google Apps would introduce even more features with Google+ over the next few months. “We’re headed to a place where all productivity is inherently social,” he said. “Questions like ‘What do we do next?’ and ‘Who needs to make a decision today?’ are handled inefficiently now. It’s why there are so many meetings in companies.” Social networks in business, he said, could be faster, less formal and more efficient.

    Social networking “is the next phase of what we’re going to do in business,” said Mr. Girouard.

     

    Article via: Quentin Hardy

    November 21, 2011