Owners: Daniel Gunning, Baydr Strik and Barrett Ovens
Location: Sydney, NSW
Industry: Real estate and property tech
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Pre-pandemic, Spacenow operated a sort of ‘Airbnb for office space’, pairing up businesses with under-used office spaces with those who needed a place for a one-off meeting or event. Of course, COVID-19, social distancing and a move to working from home meant a pause on all that.
Founders Daniel Gunning, Baydr Strik and Barrett Ovens had to rethink their operations, but they also wanted to help out other struggling businesses.
The trio turned their attention to the hospitality sector. Their ghost kitchen service allowed restaurants and independent chefs to rent out unused kitchen spaces to facilitate food delivery.
In July, when restrictions in some parts of the country started to ease, the business started turning unused commercial spaces in the suburbs into COVIDSafe offices, meaning people could go back to an office environment without taking public transport.
Now, it’s also repurposing hotel rooms as isolated office spaces, and even transforming one-time Airbnbs into creative spaces for photoshoots, or venues for private meetings.
The business has grown some 550% since March, the founders say.
COVID-19 has forced these business owners to think outside of the box as standard, and finding new ways to optimise the services they offer.
But, in terms of getting customers on board, with no revenue coming in and little marketing budget, they also went back to the basics.
“Our little team of eight just decided to pick up the phones, and call everyone in our network … one by one,” the founders explain.
“We realised that the one thing people craved for was connections, talking to a human being on the other end of the phone who could truly understand their pain points and their needs, instead of receiving traditional targeted EDMs or other more advanced marketing communications.”
That focus on communication and community will continue to shape the business, for the foreseeable future, they add, and it’s a lesson they want to pass on to other business owners too.
“You don’t need to be a massive company with a multimillion-dollar marketing budget to be successful or be resilient during difficult times,” they say.
“Brainpower, creativity, team collaboration and genuine human connections do not have a price, yet they are priceless when it comes to finding new ways of doing things.”