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A Current Perspective On Commercial Office Space In South Africa

TBE launched their first podcast, where CEO David Seinker elaborated on entrepreneurship and commercial property.

David’s property career began in the inner city, where he was involved in renovating old buildings into residential space. From there, he moved into the family business, which focused on student housing. However, his passion for connecting entrepreneurs and investors soon led him to Johannesburg, where he could follow through on this dream.

While renting office space at a business centre, David realised that there was a gap in the market during his networking with entrepreneurs and investors. This gap proved to be an opportunity for David to create a business that created annuity revenue and didn’t rely solely on brokerage fees.

He realised that he could combine his passion for property, people and entrepreneurship with a unique workspace offering to entrepreneurs and bigger businesses. This workspace would provide, amongst other things, business networking and events to tenants, as well as an opportunity for them to connect with private equity clients and grow their businesses in the process. David then approached Raizcorp with this concept, and as it fitted in well with their overall strategy, The Business Exchange was created. This successful business has now been in operation for seven years.

However, the path of an entrepreneur is never smooth, as David well knows, and even more so with the current COVID uncertainties. David’s advice to young entrepreneurs is always to retain their passion and energy. “The business you start today will continuously change, so you need to be passionate about what you do, and recognise when you need to adjust your strategy,” he says.

In the same breath, he believes that if they don’t have the energy, then they will struggle – regardless of how big or small their business is. Each entrepreneur needs to discover what energises them. “Exercise is key for me.” Says David. “I wake up every day around 4.30 am and head to the gym at 5 am for a workout. After that, I have a healthy breakfast of oats and a shake and head off to work. A balanced diet is also vital for an energised mind. I am always online and constantly engaging with my staff, partners and clients.”

As business owners and entrepreneurs constantly learn and interact with people, David suggests that they find and build up a high-performance team that can be trusted from the start. When choosing business partners, values must be aligned; otherwise, the culture and vision of the business will never truly emerge. David adds that perseverance is another important trait for entrepreneurs to cope with the many highs and lows along the way.

When asked about his local and global perspective on commercial property, David responded that office space is currently under a lot of strain. However, the global economy was under pressure for many years before Covid. With his usual inimitable positivity, David believes that these conditions are great opportunities for a company like TBE to engage and partner with landlords.

“These conditions also allow us to grow and expand our portfolio,” he says. “Traditional offices adapted to a more hybrid way of working during the pandemic, with many corporations and smaller businesses allowing their employees to work from home and the office. It’s good to have a hybrid mix so that people can separate their private and work lives to have a better lifestyle balance.”

The Business Exchange has experienced a surge of enquiries from large corporate companies who do not want to renew their traditional office leases with the landlords in conventional spaces. One of the main reasons is that these corporates no longer require as many seats for their employees as they did in the past.

With hybridised office space comes the flexibility to quickly up or down-scale office space as business needs change. These are challenging but exciting times for commercial office space, and hopefully, by the end of this year, more companies will be making the change.

Listen to the full podcast here on:

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