CMC Properties Encourages Small Business Growth with the “Perfect Small Office”
Written by Katie Southerland
Entrepreneurship is experiencing a resurgence in the Tristate, even in the midst of a still shaky economy. Because entrepreneurs have been given an opportunity to network in a supportive environment, they are sharing ideas, support, and camaraderie to create lasting success. One of the drivers of this resurgence is the “perfect small office” spaces provided by CMC Properties, which currently accommodates more than 1,000 small business owners. If not for their properties, entrepreneurship might not be as robust.
When they began building office spaces in the 1970s, CMC Properties―developers, owners, and operators of residential, retail, and commercial property throughout Greater Cincinnati and the Midwest―had one goal in mind: to provide the perfect office environment for small business owners. CMC’s objective is to “lower the barriers of going out on your own” and “provide well-located and exceptionally affordable business communities for professionals and entrepreneurs” to operate independently.
In order to achieve that, every inch of their office spaces were designed with the small business owner in mind. Offices were built so tenants can communicate just like they would in a corporate environment―sharing ideas, advice, and best practices―and all seven locations have property managers on-site that work to spur growth.
“We provide the office space, but more than that, we help entrepreneurs to get out of their homes and come into a conducive environment to become successful,” says Chasta Postler, regional manager for commercial property at CMC.
CMC promotes the growth of new and existing businesses in each of their locations. They hold monthly networking events for each property where owners can meet, exchange contact information, and answer questions about their business in a public platform. Moreover, CMC has a new online business directory that connects all seven offices. Tenants can log in, do business with one another, and see a calendar of events. These extra perks can help businesses grow, but more importantly, it gives business owners a chance to communicate with like-minded professionals.
According to Postler, many times, if in a typical office space in a standalone building, it may get lonely from time to time. But CMC offices provide a networking atmosphere that is similar to “a corporate environment where you can talk around the water cooler … There is the same camaraderie in our buildings,” she says.
The networking environment―with shared lobbies and kitchen areas―and networking events serve to encourage businesses to grow. In fact, when offices were designed, costs were kept to a minimum because CMC understands small business owners want to expand, which can be difficult with high rents. CMC offers low rents and they have developed an expansion program so they can grow along with their tenants.
Several tenants have expanded because business owners have an easier time investing in their own growth. For example, Engineering Dynamics―a company that provides generators for hospitals and other facilities―began in a 240-square-foot office and now has 1,200 square feet of space.
Many tenants have also expanded to CMC’s flex space—warehouse and office space combined. Just like offices, flex space comes without community area management (CAM) fees―insurance, taxes, landscaping, etc.―which decreases costs and hassles for the tenant, allowing even more room for future expansion.
“We know businesses are on a budget. We don’t want them to worry about those costs because we want them to be successful,” Postler says. “… If they keep growing, we grow with them. And if they do have to leave, to a different state or larger space, we don’t want to see them go, but we know we did our job. They grew.”
With high occupancy rates, CMC is concentrating on their own growth in order to be available for more small business owners who are ready to expand. They have plans for office construction in Noblesville, Ind., and are exploring the Louisville and Lexington areas. Moreover, they’re bringing ideas to life, such as the Cincinnati Small Business Igniter in Springdale. This building has furnished, private offices, but a shared waiting room, conference room, kitchenette, and Internet provided by PowerNet Global. The all-inclusive space costs $350 a month.
Another similar concept exists for nonprofit agencies at the Blue Ash location where they have free unlimited use of the conference room, free use of the training room once a month, and 20 percent off consulting services with Executive Service Core. At the same location is a “pop-in-space” created for those who need a quiet space, but are not ready for their own office. These spaces can be rented with a daily, weekly, or monthly membership card.
No matter what type of space it is, CMC works to provide a space with a sense of “community that has purpose, order, and meaning” that encourages growth.
“We always see through the eyes of tenants. What’s going to help them the most? How can we help them to grow?” Postler asks.