Hi Nick, great to have you on the blog! Tell us- what is Exforces Energy?
Hi! So people call us energy brokers, but to be honest, we’re not. We’re more third party intermediaries. We work across the UK, helping small to medium sized businesses with their energy costs. The average business spends around 20-30% of their income on their energy, so our job is to reduce that and help the business understand what it could gain from saving. Here’s a diagram to help explain the idea:
What’s the idea behind Ex Forces staff?
Well I was in the military myself for 8 years actually, and as people know, ex forces personnel are regarded highly for their skills such as integrity, loyalty, and performance. Also, having the ability to absorb information and regurgitate it effectively.
The business’ staff is all ex military, and I suppose our main task is to find a problem and find a solution. We refer to the ‘KISS’ term a lot, which some may know is short for ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid’. That’s what it’s all about really, making things run as smoothly as possible.
If a business has four different energy suppliers providing different services, and they have varied expiry dates, then this isn’t going to be clean and organized compared to if you had one supplier charging you a rate for the whole package. It makes things easier for your business to succeed. When there are more parts to something, there are more chances that something can go wrong, so remember ‘KISS’; it’s important.
We like that term; we’re going to use that in the future! So you work all over the UK, but what markets are most popular with this kind of service?
Actually, manufacturing is the most popular. There’s around 8,500 SME’s providing for the forces, because no big project in the forces is built from one supplier.
We were talking with a business just last week that craft widgets, that go into other pieces of machinery that then go into an aircraft carrier. Due to there being time penalties and financial penalties, lack of delivery, late delivery, the fines can be punitive. This can mitigate the profit made, and so the business needs to work 24/7, 365 days a year.
Manufacturing is one of the biggest users of energy, and a lot of these SME’s have a connection to the military. Quite a few of them are ex forces personnel, and they’re in fairly senior roles in the facilities management. The sole reason of this is that they can come up with a plan; they’ll follow it through and won’t deviate from it. If they need to deviate, a plan B is always ready to put into use.
We’re glad you’re here at the Business Centre, how are you finding it?
It’s fantastic. The view could sell it before you’ve even seen the space, but when you do see the space and meet the people working in here, you realise how it’s got its own community up here. When you’re sat out in the coworking area, you can hear laughter, business introductions, a real sense of growth comes from this place, everyone knows everyone.
I love the diverse range of businesses working in here as well, we’ve got designers, printers, solar power providers, consultants, PR people; the list goes on. It’s an enjoyable place to work.
If you’d like to find out more about Exforces Energy you can check out the website here: www.exforcesenergy.co.uk
Give them a follow on Twitter as well! @exforcesenergy
Coworking spaces are full of a variety of different businesses, so as a freelancer, these spaces are great for gaining useful contacts to help you develop. Need help with getting your business across to your audience? There’s probably a consultant in the building. Need more customers? There are loads of startups and even some bigger corporations you will be working across a desk from.
However, it’s not just about sales. How will a coworking space help you as a businessperson?
- The dress code
We know the feeling; 2pm, you’re working on a project but you’re still in your PJ’s. Having a dress code will actually help your productivity. It’s been proven! It’s a routine that will help you feel more ready to work; “I’m up, I’m dressed, let’s go.”
- We’re interested
We want to know what you’re up to, because we’re interested. We could have contacts you want to meet, and if you’re in need of help, you’re surrounded by people that can probably give you a hand. If you’re a web developer for example, we’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “you’re never more than 10 feet away from a web developer.” This is actually quite true, but you shouldn’t see it as competition. These people are in the same position as you, and could need your help as much as you need theirs.
We’re a social bunch too- we all want to know how things are going, how your weekend was etc. It’s a community that the 4 walls and laptop in your home office just cant provide.
- Stay on top
Working in an environment with other professionals, you’ll find your self more focused, and productivity will improve. It’s not like you’re trying to prove yourself, but you’ll want to be seen as someone people want to do business with.
- Here’s the best bit
You’ll never run out of coffee or tea. It’s always provided! You might even get some biscuits, or even cake if someone has had a birthday.
Coworking shouldn’t been seen as just a desk in n office. It’s an opportunity. It lets you be productive, collaborate with others, and grow your business.
Serviced offices are growing popular throughout the UK due to their ability to cater to flexibility whilst being affordable. This is of course great news for start-ups.
When choosing a serviced office, you first must think about the needs of your business. What does your business need in order to function?
- Meeting rooms?
- Call areas?
- Break-out rooms?
Remember to check whether you can rent them as-needed or on an ongoing basis. Also, you will want to find out whether the office’s reception includes answering customer calls. If they do, you are going to want to see if the reception staff are professional and friendly, as they could be speaking directly with your customers or clients.
Next, you’re going to want to think about location. If you have clients or colleagues coming into the office, and thinking about your own travel arrangements, you need to ensure that your serviced office is easily accessible. For example, our serviced office in Reading, in a 5 minute walk from Reading train station. The great thing about these offices is that they are mostly situated in central locations, in which if you were to rent a standard office, you would be paying a lot more money for probably a lot less than you would have access to in a serviced office.
Try before you buy! Make sure you have viewed images of the office online before paying, as these images may be outdated. If the office allows you to book a viewing then do so. You may think you have found the perfect serviced office for you, but when you arrive it’s not exactly how it looked on the website. Similarly, you may have seen some fairly basic pictures of a serviced office, but absolutely love the place when you go to view it.