Blogs, Jo Burston

Do you collaborate and share with your neighbours?

Jo Burston /

Some of the best resources available to you are your neighbours.

 

So why do we spend so much time, effort and resources trying to find the best when the best might be right next door?

 

Since moving to our Bridge Street, Sydney offices two years ago, I took a very collaborative approach to how I wanted the look, feel and community on our floor to be.

 

I took a lease for the entire floor and subleased offices to other start-up, entrepreneurial or SME businesses. We have a shared boardroom and meeting rooms, with a central booking system.

 

Job Capital was able to lease prime real estate in the CBD without the massive overhead being absorbed by the business.

 

I effectively created an environment where small businesses could get off the ground and compete with their bigger counterparts by not being located in the “sticks”.

 

We created a full plug-in environment for our tenants, with access to kitchen facilities, company signage and all at a set yearly fee within the budget of any start-up seeking the best position in the Sydney CBD financial district.

 

As an outsource payroll, salary packaging and migration business, it made a lot of sense to invite tenants that could also be potential customers or suppliers: Neighbours who share a common vision of growing their companies and with a community collaborative attitude.

 

Our first two tenants were recruitment businesses. One was a start-up, the other an established market player. Each had an aggressive growth strategy. Our third tenant, a start-up technology company called YTML had some big bank success and was ready to take phase two of their growth strategy to the CBD.

 

I met the founders and directors, Kevin Liao and Piew Yap, and knew immediately they had Job Capital’s entrepreneurial spirit and drive for success.

 

What happened over the next two years is a testimony to how effective and deeply rich a collaborative, neighbourly approach can be.

 

As each of the business owners became more familiar and trust developed, the spirit of sharing became not just a “favour” but ultimately a commercial reality for each business.

 

Job Capital runs the payroll for two of our tenants. We have enabled many successful business visas through our migration services.

 

Concurrent to providing services to our tenants, Job Capital became a client as well.

 

We have had website iterations completed, quick technology fixes attended to and attention given to otherwise untouched networks. In other words, we became clients through our tenant relationships.

 

Likewise, I have openly promoted leads and introductions to our tenants. This style of goodwill sharing has become an extremely rich and valuable resource.

 

The effectiveness of this style of sharing became even greater when we started to bring close neighbours into the mix.

 

Our “round-the-corner neighbour”, Dimitri Spyridopoulos, founder and CEO of Glintech, came to the collaborative party by sharing some of his resources to help iterate other Job Capital group brand sites and one of our start-up successes.

 

Not only have I gained some amazing insight into other industries, I have learnt the total value of sharing with a collaborative mind space built on trust and respect for each others’ businesses, success and confidentiality.

 

I could have spent weeks looking for suppliers. These resources were literally one wall away. How brilliant to have so many resources and business peers so close and so willing to share a community spirit.

 

I have now begun discussions with one tenant on a future entrepreneurial venture together. I doubt I would have even crossed paths with them, unless we were all so open to sharing.

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Jo Burston

Jo Burston is the founder and chief executive of Job Capital and Inspiring Rare Birds, which works to promote opportunity for women in entrepreneurship.

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