FEATURE: An Interview with Smart Office
Having devised a flashy business plan, finding the office space to match can often prove a difficult task. This is far from the case with Honeycomb, the brainchild of Spencer Bourne – a fantastic office alternative – catering to the needs, goals and objectives of a number of businesses on the island.
Who are SmartOffice?
SmartOffice is a business that has recently launched in Jersey and Guernsey, bringing new and exciting services to the islands. They deliver a range of business support services to Channel Island companies, including Outsourced Call Handling, Virtual PA and Customer Services solutions by utilizing digital and Cloud-based technology.
SmartOffice was started by Dan Cattermole and his Co-Director Richard Lowe, whose last business was sold to a multinational IT company in 2013. The directors had been fine-tuning their service offering since spring this year with a full launch undertaken in August.
‘Our customers may not currently have access to a professional receptionist to field their calls, someone to transcribe documents for them or provide customer service support to their clients.’
With a team of virtual assistants and a flexible Pay-As-You-Go pricing model, SmartOffice is able to help solve this problem, working on-demand according to their customers’ immediate requirements, ensuring they only pay for what they use.
‘We try and utilize technology to facilitate our services wherever possible. For example our customers can digitally dictate a letter or document by speaking to an app on their phone, which then securely routes to our Virtual PAs via the Internet for us to transcribe for them. Our customers can be at work, doing their commute, at home or even on holiday and still be productive!’
What the future holds
For SmartOffice, their immediate future sees them developing their operation, through enabling local companies to benefit from advances in technology. Using a local partner with local knowledge, customers are granted easy-accessibility to on-demand support for their businesses.
Any challenges you’ve had to overcome along the way?
‘As always with starting a new venture, there are challenges but it is the nature of running a business to come up against and then resolve any difficulties.’
Why Bourne House?
Whether your start-up is a tech-savvy software company or a mining resources team, having an easily accessible hub in which to work from is a must. Bourne House is just that for SmartOfficeLimited. Offering modern suites in the heart of St Helier complete with no hidden costs, ample space and tasteful, contemporary decor – in fact, they’re the perfect premises for up and coming businesses.
‘Bourne House is ideal for us. It gives the business a central location to operate from for a fixed monthly fee, allowing us to concentrate on growing our business rather than dealing with office related issues. We’d definitely recommend Bourne House and have already done so, with someone moving in this week!’
Another reason SmartOfficeLimited chose Bourne House as their business base is because of its handy location, which perfectly suits the needs of the company’s customers.
‘Many of our customers operate from St Helier, or are in St Helier regularly visiting their clients.’
Further advantages to renting one of Honeycomb’s suites include the flexible lease – if needed, businesses can upgrade to a larger office without breaking their agreement. There’s also a kitchen, free online access, individual mailboxes and no service charges to contend with – an asset to brands wishing to put an accurate budget plan in place. These offices are anything but four walls; they’re a community for talented entrepreneurs.
What does your desk say about you?
‘It’s extremely tidy…a control freak perhaps!’
A day in the life of Dan Catermole…
Dan’s working day is anything but average as he currently works extremely long hours, whilst also making use of the office at weekends (to work on projects that he doesn’t get time to complete during the week). Thankfully, Bourne House, with its 24-hour access allows him to work on office-related tasks as and when he pleases, which in turn allows him to continue making a real difference to SmartOffice’s customer base after having built the company from the ground up.