Course 2: How Large Commercial Real Estate Companies Can Help Small Businesses
By: Kevin Szmania
Director of Leasing
Small businesses have little room for error. Their success depends on smart decisions early and often. If the business plan is to grow operations, staff and/or locations, working with a large and experienced commercial real estate (CRE) company that offers a full-service solution is worth consideration.
A real estate partner should offer
1. the flexibility to suit your needs,
2. a team of experts to guide you,
3. experience, success and reputation, and
4. business relationships and community connections.
Flexibility to Suit Your Needs
Businesses may find that smaller CRE companies have a ‘one size fits all’ approach, limited locations, few in-house services and cookie-cutter leases that do not provide the flexibility a business owner needs. A versatile CRE company can offer customized real estate solutions for clients with their large, diversified property portfolio, and in-house services to design and build leased space.
Additionally, large full-service CRE companies offer businesses space and location options that can better accommodate business growth over time. This is accomplished by either allocating future-use space in the existing floor plan or expanding into a nearby vacant suite or relocating to another property in the company’s portfolio. Taking advantage of this flexibility will save time, money and frustration for years to come.
A Team of Experts to Guide You
Leasing space can be a complicated and overwhelming process. CRE companies should have on-staff leasing agents to guide you through the process and take care of the details so you can run your business. The firm should include value added services such as space planning and construction management to make the most of your time and budget. For instance, experts from the design team can help you maximize the efficiency of your floor plan. An experienced construction manager can provide cost-saving or higher-quality alternatives to your plans. In addition, interior designers will help you select furniture and finishes based on product performance and client satisfaction.
Experience, Success and Reputation
Because market conditions for both real estate and small business are cyclical and fluctuate over time, you will want a company that has successfully weathered the ups and downs of the real estate market. Find a company that has at least 20 years of experience, a history of success, and a stellar reputation in the business community. Talk to the local Chamber of Commerce reps and ask other business owners about which CRE landlords are most reputable. If you have identified potential locations, call or stop by other businesses who lease space there to inquire about their experience with the landlord and property management. Then, do a thorough online search of news regarding the building owners and comb their websites for leadership profiles, customer testimonials and awards. Once you are satisfied that you have found a CRE partner that can help your business, call their sales and leasing department to get started.
Business Relationships and Community Connections
Commercial developers and landlords with a large portfolio of buildings have many resources in the business community. They have likely cultivated relationships with hundreds of businesses in the region from ‘mom-and-pops’ to Fortune 500 companies. Access to these relationships is priceless and can help your business in ways you didn’t imagine such as forming strategic partnerships or simply expanding your network.
If your business desires to establish or enhance a community relations program or simply adopt a charity, find a CRE that has experience in that domain. Some have dedicated years of volunteerism and millions of dollars to causes that help support and benefit the community. Consider doing business with a firm that is dedicated to building a community where all businesses thrive, thereby providing jobs and a better quality of life.
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For more information on this topic, contact Uniland Development Company at 716.834.5000.