Interview With Greg Beadle, Founder at The Bureaux

THE FARM INTERVIEW SERIES feature image Greg Beadle 01

With a diverse and colorful business background, Greg is the founder of The Bureaux and is also a professional photographer and the owner of Beadle Photo. 

Greg has photographed world-class events including the Tour de France, Ironman World Championships, and the ABSA Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. 

The Bureaux offers dedicated workspaces and private offices within a creative working environment suited to individual professionals and small teams focusing on creativity and entrepreneurship. 

Based in four locations including The Woodstock Exchange, the classic North Wharf Building in City Junction, and The Point Centre in Sea Point; all four locations are in Cape Town, South Africa.

To see the top coworking spaces in Cape Town, click here

the bureaux

What are the best things about coworking compared to a traditional office space? 

Flexibility is our top priority followed closely by an important focus on client service. 

Coworking is more about hospitality than property management. Tenants can enjoy services and facilities they wouldn't normally budget for within their own office spaces. This would include quality coffee service, high-speed uncapped internet, reception services, etc. We want our tenants to stay as long as they want rather than as long as they have to.

Does The Bureaux host events for your community?

We host a minimum of one event per month. We alternate a late afternoon beer and wine networking event between our venues across Cape Town encouraging tenants to network with Bureaux members based at locations different from their Bureaux location. 

Bureaux Black (our executive work suites) offer single malt whisky tastings, wristwatch appraisal evenings and wine on the deck events.

What types of coworkers seem to enjoy your coworking space the most?

We draw a wide variety of business to The Bureaux. The majority of clients are foreign-based entrepreneurs looking to invest in South Africa's broad array of investment opportunities.

Ranging from solar power manufacturers to back end support for European and US-based businesses. Our rental terms allow them to test the waters before committing to a long-term lease which is the norm in South Africa. Our rental terms vary from daily to monthly.

the bureaux

What were the earliest indications that this business could be successful? 

We started off with one 175sqm unit within a creative re-developed building in 2012. 

Based on healthy demand we continued to expand within The Woodstock Exchange and within 12 months we had 2,700sqm (29,000sqft) in this popular building. 

We now have 8,500sqm (91,000sqft) across 4 locations in the greater Cape Town running at 90% occupancy. The demand for coworking seems to be set on a healthy growth curve in South Africa and we will continue to roll out The Bureaux across the Western Cape.

What is your favorite coworking space you have been to in a different city?

I feel that WeWork continues to set the standard when it comes to creating spaces that naturally invite entrepreneurs like bees to honey. 

Their presence in Manhattan can't be ignored and their bold progress into countries fearless of obvious culture clashes is to be admired.

What is working best for your marketing right now?

Online property portals (Gumtree) as well as personal referrals from existing Bureaux members work the best for us so far. 

Social media plays a lesser role although with Facebook we see greater opportunities for targeted marketing.

What is your biggest differentiator compared to other coworking spaces?

We include all our services in one monthly rental amount. No add-ons that you weren't expecting or budgeting for. 

We include 24/7 access, security, cleaning, use of shared meeting rooms and kitchen facilities, uncapped high-speed internet in a fixed monthly rental amount.

What is the toughest decision you've had to make in the last few months?

We are offered new locations on a weekly basis and the toughest decision is deciding on how to pace our expansion in this local marketplace. 

We know there is healthy demand and stick to our guiding principles focused on iconic locations that are convenient to our target market.

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If it was possible, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Listen to your gut feeling more than you did 10 years ago. Time after time my gut feel has proven correct, even when I didn't listen to it. 

Intuition and the ability to make prompt decisions are key attributes for an entrepreneur operating in dynamic environments.

How did you meet your co-founders or business partners in The Bureaux?

We were attending an IBM smart camp as mentors and started chatting as you do. Two months later we were business partners.

Favorite place to travel to?

Amsterdam is a city I will never tire of. The city is familiar to me as it is rather similar to Cape Town in so many ways. 

The cycling commute and well-managed city allow for never-ending exploring of museums, shops, restaurants, and architecture. Any tropical island will do as well.

What are some of the best things about The Bureaux coworking community?

Our community is a super productive bunch. They spend a lot of time in their work environments growing their empires. The majority of our members are laid back and enjoy catching up with other members during our monthly evenings with drinks.

What book are you most likely to give as a gift?

Tim Ferriss is changing the world one podcast at a time. After reading his first book 'The Four Hour Work Week' (with the book cover hidden to avoid critical glances) my attitude and focus towards business changed forever. 

I have given copies to neighboring passengers on long-haul flights and also to work colleagues.

What is your favorite small business in your neighborhood?

There is a new property development business that started out as a Bureaux member and has now moved into their own showroom/offices across the road from our Sea Point Bureaux. 

BLOK are leading the way and totally changing the ballgame when it comes to marketing, sales, design, and client service in the property development industry. I find their work inspiring, relevant and creative.

Do you have a favorite freelancer you have worked with?

I have many favorite freelancers. My current favorite is Jay Clark who is the master of our websites and soon to be launched business directory. This will add further value to our members, sharing their love across a wider audience than they may be able to currently reach.

What is your favorite app or online tool?

Slow to the starting line on this but we have just joined Slack as a team communication/archiving tool. We plan to open up channels to all of our members to keep all matters transparent and always improve our communication with members.

What was the best event that you recently attended?

World Economic Forum AMNC Tianjin 2016. The World Economic Forum is topical and offers access to the industry leaders way of thinking, predictions, and opinions.

How did you finance your business?

I started the business on my own and grew my business within one building initially taking on more space as it became available in The Woodstock Exchange. I built the desks myself and managed the day to day operations. Then I employed my first staff member after 2 years. We are still self-funded as we grow organically in South Africa for now.

What business would you love for someone else to start?

Nothing comes to mind right now besides more high-quality coffee shops everywhere.

What advice do you have for new business owners?

Don't hold back but be patient. Go all out with your efforts but try and remain patient inside.

Twitter: @BureauxAndCo

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