Office Community: What to Look For when Picking an Office Space


Your start-up has grown from a little idea in the back of your mind to a business that requires you to hire another person or two. Clients keep coming and the work keeps piling up. Your home office is starting to spill over into the living room and the kitchen, making your spouse get a little cabin fever going.

You’ve made the decision to move your company from your home to an office. It is time and you’re ready to take the leap. You tour business center after business center and you notice something. The centers where clients don’t interact, where there is no comradery seems dreary, almost depressing. You don’t want your company to get stuck under a gray cloud of anonymity.

The best marketing, even in today’s world is word of mouth. We don’t necessarily think of word of mouth being on the forefront, but just open the App store on your iPhone. Each app has reviews. The better the reviews, the more popular the app. Reviews are word of mouth.  When you come into a business center, how great would it be if other company’s on the floor knew who you were, what you do, and were able to direct new clients to you. It is free marketing, but the only way that can happen is if you’re in a business center that promotes a sense of community.

When you have peers singing your praises because they have interacted with you, built a connection with you, it can really make a difference. If you settle into an executive business center that does not promote community, it could be five years before another company even knows you’re there. Anonymity is not the way to go when building a business.

At Executive Suite Professionals, community is key. Events take place monthly to bring people out of their offices and to interact. Even in a world of technology, that face to face interaction can mean the difference between a lean month and a full month on the books. Community and communication is the best way to build a better network.

Soft Skills: How They Can Set Your Business Apart


As we run with open arms into the future, embracing technology, and automation, companies are finding that the new influx of employees are rusty on their soft skills.

Shaking a hand, looking someone in the eyes, or simply smiling and greeting them with pleasantries has seen a decrease in the workforce. With the advancements in technology, we as a society have become heavily reliant on automated messaging systems and email. There is nothing wrong with these forms of communication, but an essential step to retaining business can be missed when a person is greeted by a machine or a disinterested front desk.

Soft skills are slowly fading with the onslaught of technological advances so when a company still incorporates soft skills in their business model it can really set them apart. Face to face interaction is on the decline in the work force, but there is still that need for a client to put a face to the voice on the phone or the emails they receive.

When thinking about your business, think about the reviews your company is receiving. Are they positive with client and employee interaction, or is that just omitted in the reviews all together. Sometimes silence on a particular aspect of an interaction can be just as bad as a negative review.

At Executive Suite Professionals, the ladies that work at the reception desk are encouraged to cultivate their soft skills to prime clients for a positive interaction. Shaking someone’s hand with confidence, smiling, and opening a dialogue that allows for the client to have undivided attention can be the difference between a new client or a missed opportunity.

There is nothing wrong with emails or automated messages, but at the end of the day, face to face interaction can make a big difference. Politeness and professionalism can bring in more clients than just an information email. At ESP we offer that face to face interaction. The front desk is always polite and professional and endeavor to give potential clients an opportunity to have a positive experience.

-Devin Hill

How to Market a Small Business


Day Office at ESP

The office is all set, the decorations are up and they are inviting. The website has launched, the employees are ready to go, but clients are having a hard time finding your business. Why?

Much of it has to do with the fact that when you hire a company to build your website, they will put it together, they will even launch it for you, but in some cases they neglect SEO. Search engine optimization, also known as buzzwords. As an employer, when you are looking at candidates for a position in your office, you look for buzzwords in their resumes. Well your clients are doing the same thing when they are looking at your website.

We are in a digital age where if we need to know something about a subject or a person we hit the Internet, hard. We throw a combination of buzzwords out there and hope that a helpful website flies back at us. If your website does not have embedded SEO, the correct buzzwords, new clients are not going to be able to find your website.

Along with those buzzwords, you will need positive Google reviews. The more reviews you have, the higher your website will climb on that search list.

Social media is also an excellent marketing tool. For some outlets, the marketing it can provide is free, for others there is a monthly charge. When attempting to market via social media, be sure to read the fine print so that you don’t go over budget.

However, even when all of that technology and potential, unless you have someone handling your social media and staying on top of popular trends, there is a chance your marketing will take a hit.

That is where Executive Suite Professionals can help. With the start of 2018, social media marketing is being offered to new clients, as well as SEO and blogging.

Your new business has nothing but potential. Be sure to use the tools available to you when it comes to marketing, including ESP’s new marketing consultant.


-Devin Hill

Starting a Small Business and Finding the Right Office Space


Inside each of us is the flicker of a dream. For some that dream is to support our friends and family in their success. For others their dreams are to strike out on their own and build their own empire with their support team. Both are noble pursuits, but when striking out on your own you have to have a plan, a solid foundation; an office space.

It takes 10 seconds to make a first impression. For most people it is how we dress that conveys that first impression. For businesses, it is their office space. Your office space is the suit your company wears and it is being weighed by existing clients and potential clients. At Executive Suite Professionals that proverbial suit is always dry cleaned and pressed to instill confidence in clients.

At ESP, when you pick an office space, not only to get an ideal spot in the heart of downtown and in a reputable, easily identifiable building, but the office itself comes fully furnished. When a potential client calls in, there are two receptionists on the phones at all times so no opportunity is missed. The first few steps into suite 1400 is a breathtaking display of marble and cherry wood. In that reception area your clients will be greeted with the utmost professionalism and you will be called to come walk them back to your office. At no time will a client catch you unawares.

The quiet professional atmosphere instills confidence in the clients, but it also offers comfort. The perfect office space is hard to find. When breaking down the budget for a budding business, it is better to save as much money up front as possible, while still giving your clients the best possible experience. Executive Suite Professional can offer that to you.

We have been here in the Downtown area for five years going on six with many satisfied clients on our floor. We don’t just offer office space though. Along with the office space our clients can take advantage of our conference rooms, our social media experts, and our notary service. ESP is a full service business center and we are here to help your business grow.

It is the New Year, your dream can come true. ESP can give you the foundation you need to take your business from an idea to reality.

-Devin Hill


Executive Suite Professionals – 301 W. Bay Street, Ste. 1400 – Jacksonville, FL 32202

904.329.7250 –



The Flavors of Downtown

Thursday, June 15th,   Lisa Gufford, Managing Member at Executive Suite Professionals planned an event in cooperation with CenterState Bank entitled ‘The Flavors of Downtown” where several brick and mortar restaurants donated food. Some of the restaurants include, The Pita Pit, Banks BBQ and Bakery, Akel’s Deli, Uptown Kitchen & Bar, The Ultimate Caribbean, and the Burrito Gallery. Why is this important?

People come together over food, as its an integral part of our culture. We build networks over a meal, strengthening old bonds over chips and salsa or a rack of ribs. These downtown brick and mortar restaurants are an integral part of our culture and our economy in downtown Jacksonville. Recently however, there has been a decline in business due to the rise in popularity of  food trucks. At the event, the representatives of the restaurants featured explained that the food trucks, which are a good idea, ultimately are not a good fit for downtown.

The trucks are traditionally made for carnivals and theme parks, a more whimsical environment. They even work wonders in places like New York and LA, but here in Jacksonville, the population density has both brick and mortar restaurants and the food trucks marketing to the same patriots.

During the event, the food was sampled and it was noticed that there were many healthy selections, Pita Pit and Akel’s offer exceptionally delicious and healthy food choices compared to the food trucks, as well as friendly inviting atmospheres. The Burrito Gallery and Uptown Bar & Grill are perfect for dinner meetings with their full bar and eclectic selection of food. These restaurants are part of what make Downtown Jacksonville amazing, they bring the people together in a way that the food trucks can’t.

We are all a family, the Burrito Gallery even advertises local artists, their artwork hangs on the walls, inviting conversation and nurturing the talent locally.  Next time you and your co-workers want some good food and to make good memories visit the brick and mortar restaurants, they are here to serve you and bring you the best experience possible. Remember this is our home and we are all family. We must support one another when we can. It is reported that the restaurants featured at the event will be called for catering opportunities by some of the guests who attended.

-Devin Hill

Suites near courthouse working for attorneys

By Max Marbut, Associate Editor

It’s only about 600 steps and 5.3 minutes from the Duval County Courthouse.

That’s part of what’s made Executive Suite Professionals such a success since it opened in July 2014, said Lisa Gufford.

She and some partners built out most of the 14th floor at EverBank Center to offer small businesses small office suites and meeting rooms with a Class A address Downtown at 301 W. Bay St.

The space includes traditional office amenities like mailboxes, shipping and receiving services and a coffee lounge. It has a central reception area and shared support staff.

Gufford said the response was so strong that nine months after opening, a second phase of EPS was added, for a total of 31,000 square feet including 93 suites and six meeting and conference rooms occupied by more than 150 entrepreneurs, small business owners — and mostly, attorneys and legal-related service providers.

Gufford said Tuesday EPS is 95 percent leased. Eighty percent of the tenants are solo practitioner lawyers or small firms and about 15 percent are court reporters.

Read full article on Jax Daily Record

Differences Between Class A, B and C Office Space

Offices are normally categorized into three different types of spaces: A, B and C. It is a tiered system with level A office spaces being in the most sought-after buildings. Many times located in downtown areas, level A office spaces are ones where image conscious companies usually have their offices. Fortune 500 companies are likely to have level A office spaces.

Office Space Class A

“A” spaces may have terrific amenities like cafes, mailrooms, and fitness facilities. As you might expect, these also are the most expensive spaces and are highly competitive.

While “A” space is the most expensive, it is possible to have your business located at spaces like this on a budget. One such example is with Executive Suite Professionals. ESP clients only pay for their individual office, but expenses for common areas, receptionist, mail service and larger boardrooms is absorbed by Executive Suite Professionals. The result is an affordable office space that still has the upscale image for those companies that want to give their customers and employees comfort and peace of mind.

Office Space Class B

These spaces are not as impressive as the ones with an A rating. They’re about average as far as rent and age of the building itself. The building could be approximately 20 years old and be ready for a remodel. Perhaps it was once considered an “A” space but changing area demographics or lack of maintenance caused it to be downgraded to a “B” space.

As far as amenities, a B level building could have fancy marble lobbies,  or functional spaces that are medium-sized and near to a prime location. They could have some amenities like security personnel on site or parking for customers, clients and employees.

This type of building is for those who need to be near a certain location and would like some amenities, but can’t afford traditional “A” space.

C Office Space

A level C office space is primarily functional and lacks any amenities or highly coveted street visibility. It’s possible the space is outdated, perhaps in a higher crime area, in need of repair and lacks basic comforts like central air conditioning.

However, this is cheaper than class A or B space.

Best of “A” space without the cost.

In Jacksonville, Florida the concept of shared space continues to be a popular alternative to traditional space. With improvements in technology, many companies and individuals are electing to not have any space at all. Instead, they have a “virtual office” and have all the benefits of a traditional office, without the commitment of time and money it requires.

To learn more about shared office space or what it means to have a virtual office, visit Executive Suite Professionals website.

Executive Suite Professionals Receives 2016 Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award

Executive Suite Professionals has been selected for the 2016 Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award in the Shared Office Spaces category by the Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program. This is the second time since 2014 that Executive Suite Professionals has been selected for this award.

Each year, the Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Jacksonville area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About the Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program

The Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Jacksonville area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Best Businesses of Jacksonville Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

5 Business Types That NEED a Virtual Office

With the ability to do job tasks remotely, many professionals are turning to virtual offices for their businesses. While many business owners can work from home, there are times when they will need an office to visit with clients or have professional meetings. Virtual offices make it possible for professionals to have their business in their homes. At any time, they can step into a virtual office to give them a more professional work environment when needed. 

From conference and video call technology to desk space to conference rooms for large meetings, a virtual office has all the technology in place that a business owner might need. The offices are run by a manager who provides all the state-of-the-art equipment of an office for a set price based on services required.

Financial Advisors

Financial advisors can do most of their work from home because most of the communication comes over the telephone or through email. In the event that they need to use an office space, they can reserve a virtual office space. That space might even include a virtual assistant to schedule appointments or a virtual receptionist to answer the phone. When they have a new client that wants to meet in person the meeting can take place at a virtual office.

Law Firms

A small law firm might need virtual assistance with office space or an assistant to provide basic administrative tasks like bookkeeping or billing. Potential clients might not understand a lawyer who works from home. While the concept is coming into the latest century, some clients expect to see their lawyer in a luxurious office. With this in mind, lawyers can rent those luxurious offices for clients that might need that reassurance.


Along with tools like Skype and Dropbox that allow architects to share online, there are virtual offices and assistants that will help a remote worker be productive. It reduces the need and overhead associated with an office space. There are many architects who are opening the doors of their small business without having a physical door. They are setting up websites and doing all their work virtually.

Software Developers

Those who develop software can often do their work from home. As long as they have the computer that will allow them to code and work with others, they can develop processes at home. The most important part is that developers might have to work remotely but collaboratively. They may need more technology like the ability to connect with others through Skype or Google Hangouts. That can be accomplished with the help of a virtual office. Client meetings can take place in a virtual office for those developers who are working for themselves.

Engineering Firms

There are both financial and environmental considerations for those who want to work remotely in their own home offices. It allows their staff to work remotely too. There’s no extra cost for equipment, utilities or overhead. The freelance workers or telecommuters have to be able to access virtual space occasionally to hold group meetings and meet with potential clients or investors. A rented virtual office space will cost less than a dedicated office year-round.

Whether it’s physical space like a meeting room or administrative help with a virtual assistant or receptionist, a virtual office like those found at Executive Suite Professionals can be a great way to fill in the gaps between working from home and having a professional office.

How to Go About Asking Members for Google My Business Reviews

By Ceci Amador

When it comes to picking between you and your competition, prospective clients will look for and rely on reviews. Reviews matter, simple as that. And they matter even more if they come from the right place.

In previous articles, we’ve explored why adding your flexible workspace locations to Google My Business is a good idea; not only will it improve your Google ranking, but it’ll also make it easier for prospective members to find you. But, before people go out and find you, they’re likely to have conducted some research beyond where you are located; hoping to find out who you are, what you offer, and–most importantly–what’s being said about you.

Google My Business can be a great marketing tool. When people do a local search of businesses or workspaces, Google will give preference to those businesses or workspaces who have a Google My Business profile. Yet, it’s not enough to just have a profile, it needs to be complete and robust; and offer accurate information of your workspace, your location, your contact details, and, reviews.

In today’s world, an online review qualifies as a WOM (Word Of Mouth) recommendation. Reviews are influential, and just like a positive review can greatly improve your business, a negative one can greatly affect it. According to Business2Community, “[H]aving an indication of the quality of your services in Google’s search result can be a powerful way to stand out from the crowd. In Google’s Local Pack once you have received 5 reviews your result will be accompanied by 5 gold stars, these have been shown to increase click-through-rate (CTR) by as much as 20%.”

Asking for Reviews

Ideally, your flexible workspace members will write reviews without prompting from your part; however, no harm is done by encouraging or asking for it directly–that is, as long as you do it right. Like B2C says, “engaging with someone directly about their experience is actually good customer service and will often prompt a positive review on your Google My Business page.”

So, without further ado, here are Business2Community’s 3 steps to successfully ask members to write you a Google My Business review:

Get Your Timing Right

You can’t ask for it too early or too late, for you risk either the member not being fully aware of all the benefits and perks, therefore not having formed a full opinion yet; or, alternatively, if you ask for it too late, then the initial excitement and affect your workspace had on them might have faded.

Make it Easy to Leave Reviews

Don’t assume everyone knows how or where they can leave a review. The easier you make it for them to leave you a review, the more likely they are to do so. Link to your reviews page in your website, your social media accounts and newsletters, and do it constantly.

If you don’t know how to link to your Google My Business reviews page, here’s how to do it:

  • Go to (or your local Google maps domain)
  • Search for your workspace name
  • Click your workspace name on the search results
  • In  the box that appears after you click your workspace’s name, look for the reviews link underneath your name
  • A new tab or window will open. Grab the URL link from this tab or window.
  • Copy the URL address you grabbed and paste it to an email, a blog post, your website, or any place where your members can easily find it and click it.

Integrate with Your Email Marketing

Your email marketing campaign can be a great ally in getting reviews; you can ask members what they think about your workspace and services, and encourage them to write a review. Make a CTA (call-to-action) and link it to the URL you got from the step above.

Remember, you want members to leave an honest review about your workspace, so thanking them for their honest opinion is something you should also do. It’s likely that not all reviews will be positive, so you need to be careful on how you respond to negative reviews, but it’s important to always do so; whether it is to thank them for being honest or to let them know you’ll work on the issue, make sure that the public at large knows that you’re aware and interested about what others are saying and are looking for ways to improve.


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