Although Frank Cottle began his career in commercial diving and eventually moved into yacht brokerage, he came to the epiphany that as long as he was a broker he would never be a yacht owner. It was that epiphany that led Frank to start the Alliance Group.
The Alliance Group started as a property company. That portfolio was sold and then developed into an operating company for 10 years. After selling that particular portfolio, the Alliance Group started its current venture: business services and technology. This allows Frank and his company to own the customers and not the centers.
It is this model that allowed the Alliance Group to have nearly 1100 facilities in 54 countries. The company also has the ability to invest in a number of other companies. The focus for the Alliance Group’s investments is in the PropTech sector. By breaking down Frank’s experience and knowledge, his success can have the ability to become a model to follow.
Cottle’s phrase, “Own the customer, not the center,” started in his first entrepreneurship venture. He had owned apartments but found that residential income business was not for him. It was then that Frank decided to go into commercial real estate. With a familial background in land and farming, he decided to go into land banking.
In land banking, Cottle followed a specific model that built small buildings on large pieces of land. He would then wait until someone wanted to build homes on his empty land. It was an asset-intensive business model. After some changes, the Alliance Group moved into just in time real estate. Just in time (JIT) is a model that means less inventory and a higher level of efficiency.
Frank’s path to his current business model describes how he has become a customer owner and not a particular center owner. The Alliance Group and Frank Cottle do not aim to own physical locations as they do people that will continue to purchase from them. The concept brings a sense of longevity in business.
Frank discusses his history in racing yachts as an analogy for business. Where a yacht has a starting point and a finish line, it also faces things at sea that must be navigated. There might be changes in weather, the tide can be unpredictable, and there is a whole other person involved in the race.
In the business world, there are a variety of adjustments and strategies to consider. The important thing is to keep moving forward. A business has to be flexible and still move to the finish line. It is important to avoid pivoting or moving in a direction that will not get the company to the finish line. If this means working from home, on a conference call, in a coworking location, or over lunch, having the ability to be flexible is the best for moving into the future and toward the desired finish.
Reaching the finish is often dependent on the people that a company hires. By having flexibility, businesses are no longer needing to hire the next best individual because the most qualified or best person for the job has too much of a commute. When the very best potential employee has to work in an office that is an hour from their home, the chance that he or she will choose to work for a company that is closer to home is always higher.
Rather than losing that person as a great employee, companies can offer more flexibility. Flexibility allows each employee to save energy because they have the technological capabilities to work from somewhere remote or closer to home. There is no reason to ask an individual to move across the country for a job when that job can be done from elsewhere. Hire the best people and give them a great work environment - problem solved.
Data becomes information which converts to knowledge and can turn into action. Because of this process, The Alliance Group likes to say, “Get the data.” Starting with the data is important in reaching a place in which action can be taken. Understanding the data is important in making the best moves for every company.
Although the majority of companies seek to make money, it is impossible to do that at its best without dissecting the data points first. It is critical that companies gather data and use data-driven business decision making to reach goals. Data is a fact and should be utilized to the fullest to find success.
According to Frank, the future of workplace is not about the place. Augmented reality and virtual reality are going to become incorporated into offices much like they are used in gaming. The development of virtual office environments is going to be a common form of working. Instead of paying for prime locations with expensive rent, virtual reality will allow companies to offer the same kind of feeling with a VR headset.
Will this hurt current companies that use and sell physical office locations? It might, but the Alliance Group uses technology and investing in PropTech at its core, so there is no fear for the future. Frank and his company have prepared and discussed the options for the future so that they can stay relevant and are ready to remain so.
Frank paints the scene of employees on their way into work on a commuter train and their lack of excitement. This is true for most people - it is not satisfying to be commuting to work every morning at 6 am. New technology and offices allow people to be more flexible and more satisfied. Because of that satisfaction, workplace productivity will rise and overall life satisfaction will increase as well.
Workers will no longer have to commute an hour on a packed train every single morning. Instead, they might spend some time in their home office or an office space closer to home. It allows for a better work-life balance that will make people happier in general.
Isolation might be a legitimate fear when flexibility and less face to face communication become more common. However, Frank feels that technology allows us to stay connected to one another. Interaction in the workplace might be different from what it was in the past, but the ability to connect with technology is only improving as time goes on. Using that technology will only serve to make companies more productive and flexible.
Connect with Frank on Open Sourced Workplace - Click Here
Watch the interview here -
What is just in time real estate? JIT Real Estate is similar to the JIT management style or supply chain concept. It is simply a quick turnaround for products and services. In real estate, it means owning less property at a time, but supplying it when needed. It can be a complicated concept, but once mastered can prove to be especially efficient.
What is a work-life balance? Work-life balance is often a concept that every individual person has to define for themselves. For many people, this means working 40 hours per week and not thinking about their job at all for the remaining hours. Finding this balance requires people to iron out their priorities.
What is PropTech? PropTech stands for Property Technology. It is the marriage of real estate and technology. In its most simple terms, PropTech is the use of technology to buy, use, and sell real estate.
You must be logged in to post a comment.