Opening a franchise of a well-established business can make for an easier startup, but for ongoing growth, owners tend to be on their own. Otto Beatty, owner of the Columbus Intelligent Office, is two years into franchise ownership, and as he strategizes his growth plan, he’s decided to take the business in a new direction.
What started as a facility offering virtual offices and staffing will soon focus on Virtual Assistant Services, a pivot that Beatty believes will keep the company relevant for years to come.
As it is now, Intelligent Office provides the majority of its services to non-local companies testing out the Columbus market, and local small businesses that need an affordable Downtown presence. Their suite at 175 S. Third St. contains seven or eight offices, a board/conference room, a coworking space, mailboxes and file storage space.
The most important parts of his business, though, are the assistants and receptionists fielding calls, typing, and managing databases and social media. Together, between two and four assistants juggle 168 businesses. As more people care less and less about having a physical office in the city, or having their own personal receptionist, these virtual services have become the focus of Intelligent Office.
“So what my strategy is is to pivot the business more toward what we call intelligent assistance,” Beatty said. “I don’t want to acquire anymore real estate. I don’t want to open anymore locations in Columbus. I want to focus on the part that’s the most innovative and has the most potential for growth, which is the intelligent assistant work.”
To achieve that goal, Beatty needs to dive back into the initial steps of branding, marketing and launching a new business model, something he hasn’t done in a few years. For assistance, he turned to the Entrepreneur Exchange program.
“Rather than me trying to do all that by myself or rely on past experiences, I wanted to take advantage of this program which would surround me with some mentors and some other like-minded businesses that would coach me towards, and help me develop, a strategic business plan, marketing plan, and financial plan to be able to grow my business,” Beatty said.
Halfway through the program, Beatty has learned to formalize goals as well as action steps toward achieving them. Business coaches and a peer group of other business owners hold him accountable to those action steps, making it a real-time process of transforming Intelligent Office into Intelligent Assistant.
While the shift is still happening, Beatty imagines doubling his staff size in the next three years.
Click here for more information on Intelligent Office of Columbus.
To take the next step in scaling up your business, visit YourManagementTeam.com/EE to apply and learn more about the Entrepreneur Exchange Program, funded by SBA ScaleUp America.
All photos by Lauren Sega.
YMT Consultants is a microbusiness consulting and training firm providing monthly consulting and business development. We help microbusiness owners change their mindset, resulting in greater control of their business, increased revenue and bottom-line, and a strategic growth plan to achieve their “big-picture” vision for them and their business.