In 2008, Andrea Lekushoff was ahead of the curve when she launched Broad Reach Communications, a PR agency that consisted of a virtual network of communications professionals working from their homes in order to fit their lifestyle and family needs.
All were experienced veterans who wanted a change from the frenzied and exhausting pace of agency work. Some, like Lekushoff, wanted to integrate work life with family life as they raised children. The term Lekushoff coined back then was “lifestyle-driven virtual teams”, when she was asked by the prestigious Ivey Business Journal to describe how the model worked. Now, lifestyle-driven teams are recognized as a new workplace trend.
Rapid growth is driving the shift from virtual to physical operations
But times change and needs change with them. Broad Reach tripled its revenues last year and expects to do the same this year. To allow the team to focus on serving clients without having to focus heavily on managing day-to-day administration, Broad Reach is shifting away from its virtual-only business model and embracing the value of a bricks-and-mortar workspace.
In early 2015, Lekushoff moved into an office in the iQ Office Suites’ Yonge Street’s historic Dineen Building to support the next phase of her company’s growth, which will include hiring four full-time employees in 2015.
“Now that my kids are three and six, I want to build an even stronger culture, with a core team working from an office most days,” explains Lekushoff, whose company currently includes 24 virtual employees. “We’re in the business of communications, and bringing everyone together in an office environment allows us to develop rapport, build the team, share ideas more easily, and grow more quickly. Those are the real benefits we expect to see.”
When she scouted office locations, Lekushoff was ahead of the curve again. She looked for a centrally located turnkey building that would make her home-to-office transition easy and provide flexibility as the agency continues to grow. Some buildings were not as modern as she’d hoped, however, and others were located away from the Toronto business district where many of her clients were based. Then she found iQ.
A community within a community offers unparalleled benefits
“iQ was the perfect move for Broad Reach,” says Lekushoff.
“First of all, the location is fantastic. It’s improved my interaction with clients, most of whom are nearby. It’s a great benefit to be able to say ‘We’ll be there in five minutes’ or to go to their offices or meet for coffee at a moment’s notice. I love that there’s a graphic design firm around the corner, a video production shop down the hall, and one of the city’s best restaurants next door, where I entertain clients regularly. It’s a community within a community.”
The iQ staff and amenities, she says, allow her to run a professional office at a reasonable cost. She meets with clients in the office, the modern iQ lounge, or the bustling Dineen Coffee Shop next door. “The staff,” she adds, “is amazing – a very accommodating, friendly group of people. I needed an extra desk, for example, and it was there the next day.” She also likes the building’s unique blend of historical features with modern amenities and design.
Turnkey office space offers flexibility and allows savings to flow through to clients
“Finding a turnkey office has resulted in one of the easiest moves I’ve ever made,” she notes. “I didn’t have to take time away from business to set up a phone line or buy furniture. And I don’t want to spend a lot of capital on a big fancy office. Instead of the high fees that the big PR agencies charge to offset costly overheads, we’re able to pass savings on to our clients. I want our agency to remain nimble and not have to invest in expensive furniture or equipment that we will only grow out of.”
With the move to iQ completed, Lekushoff can look forward to Broad Reach’s next phase of growth: “As I grow my agency, I can move into other offices that accommodate up to 10 people, all in the same building and all involving a very easy, low-cost seamless move. I can concentrate on continuing to offer great service to my clients. Not only that, I don’t have to search for new space or even leave the building!”