the hidden value of coworking

thomas boston brandersone of the things i like most about coworking is how we all become a small part of each other's business. not in the sense of working together on specific projects (though that sometimes can happen), but in being each other's sanity checks, idea generators, expert gurus, and occasional psychotherapists. we share each other's struggles, share more than a few giggles, and savor in one another's success.

although coworking at the zen bungalow is done on a small scale , we have our fair share of talented and accomplished professionals. today i've chosen to highlight one of our original members to illustrate some of the more powerful (but hidden) benefits to coworking.

the back drop

thomas | boston helps business owners and marketers establish engaging and sustainable whole brands. i first met its owner, tom lanen, a little over 15 years ago when our children attended the same day care. tom is the epitome of a marketing guru -- a master in the art of focusing and amplifying the essence of a business so that it stands above the crowd.

tom's not old, but he's been around the block a few times. he's helped build and focus brands for big names such as boston edison (now nstar), boston whaler, lexis-nexis, thermo scientific and velcro. and he's done his share of amazing things for small brands too (like andrew abu realtors, long life farm and quebrada baking company).

shortly after joining our community at the bungalow, tom was hired to direct the re-branding of pacific resources benefits. two partners on the executive team were buying out the founder, and re-branding the business in a way that reflected its expertise, capabilities, and track record was long overdue.

tom assembled his team of top-notch professionals to partner with him and began to do his thing. it was a privilege to capture glimpses into his process. he does for branding what we do for business -- create simplicity out of complexity. and it ain't easy.

the take away

when you share a work environment you also share other things. your excitement. your frustrations. your doubts. your concerns. we turn to each other for perspective and feedback. we interact. it's what humans do.

these fleeting but consistent interactions are incredibly educational. through tom i've learned about aspects of brand strategy my untrained eye never consciously recognized. i've learned how their meaning gets communicated on such an instinctive level that we have no choice but to react to it. you don't learn these kinds of things in a classroom. and you don't even learn them when you hire folks like tom, either. they're all hidden in the process.

tom's daily "lessons" help me think more clearly about the re-definition of my own company's branding. they've also positively influenced my work with clients. and tom isn't the only person giving lessons.

though others at the bungalow may not be able to articulate the kind of learning process that goes on here, i've no doubt they recognize the impact. it's just one of many hidden values to coworking. just one of many that can have a tremendous impact on any small business. coworkers unite! here's to our success!

jack speranza is president and founder of main street ventures, a technology geek, an attorney (shhh), and "zen master" at the bungalow. for 15 years he's helped companies grow faster, for less money and with fewer mistakes. he's had long stints in corporate america and the world of investor-funded startups, but small business is his passion.

scenes from december's lunchtime office hours :: how to make small brands more profitable

december lunchtime office hours with the main street mentors (sm)

this month's lunchtime presentation added a bit of seasonal flair (click on the picture above to see more photos)

a capacity crowd for today's lunchtime office hours...  fellow zenster tom lanen, brand storyteller, held our attention by providing an excellent overview on the essential elements of a good brand, and how his company has helped many businesses become more profitable by re-focusing on what matters most.

the icing on the cake (so to speak), were the wonderful shortbread cookies provided by quebrada baking (tom's client)...  not only were they "fresh, fresh, fresh," but also among some of the most decadently delicious desserts ever to pass these lips.  too bad all of the main street mentors don't have clients with such tasty treats...  (does anyone out there work with lamborghini?  if so, we need to talk...)

does your business have any employees besides yourself?  if so, you should plan on joining us for next month's lunchtime office hours.  pattie sinacole of first beacon group will demystify the "alphabet soup" of regulations around employment.  more info and registration is available on-line at ::