Successful Start-Ups can be Virtual Reality
One of the three Birmingham entrepreneurs behind the £1.5 million investment into Grosvenor House has shared his inspiration and motivation behind the venture.
Ian Mourbey, managing director of Alexander Daniels and investor in Grosvenor House, used virtual office solutions to create a bigger presence for his recruitment business when he launched it from his kitchen table seven years ago.
Not many people would be brave enough to start a business in the middle of a recession but his courage and hard-work certainly paid off. Ian’s firm Alexander Daniels, which is based in Birmingham, now employs almost 50 people across sectors such as legal, finance, engineering and off-shore.
With the financial restraints that come hand-in-hand with starting your own firm, Ian used every bit of endeavour he could in those early days to create an illusion of grandeur to give his business a kick-start.
He said: “I worked largely from home to begin with but I didn’t want potential clients to think I was just a one-man band – which, of course, I was!
“Using virtual office solutions eased the financial pressure of having to lease office space, decorate and fill it so clients weren’t coming to a horrible, dingy place and all the other associated costs that come with running your own premises on a budget.
“It also gave the business a prime address, a receptionist to handle calls and facilities which you only paid for when you needed to use them. It was a huge support.
“Within a year we were able to upgrade services to co-working and then, as our head-count grew rapidly, we moved into fully-serviced offices before purchasing our own office five years later.”
Such was the support Ian received in those early days, he and two partners have now invested £1.5 million into launching Grosvenor House’s virtual office solutions which build and improve on the original concept.
Based in the desirable St Paul’s Square, Birmingham, Grosvenor House provides a prestigious address and modern office space which is a world apart from traditional, tired shared offices.
With an impressive and innovative business model, Ian is now keen to replicate the kind of support he received for a new generation of start-ups, as well as established businesses looking for a second city ‘branch’ and those who can utilise co-working space.
He said: “The way business operates is evolving. Birmingham has recently been crowned most entrepreneurial UK city outside London and a lot of these business people may be operating with not much more than a laptop and a mobile phone.
“We’ve entered a ‘lean business’ generation, when people looking to go into business simply don’t have to be leasing offices and employing staff straight away. That’s where Grosvenor House comes in – it’s the perfect solution for lean businesses.
“From as little as £25 per month, it is a really cost-effective way of allowing people to set up a business with a feeling of professionalism and scale.
“They then have use of a prestigious address, call-handling services, post is received and re-directed and, of course, there is the co-working space, meeting rooms and function space.”
Driven by success and with a proven track record in business, you get the feeling it won’t be long before Ian’s vision for a new generation of businesses becomes a virtual reality.