Back in 2012, I was frustrated with the lack of options for startup office space. Landlords, often with their institutional investors, had tremendous inertia to make any changes. Potential tenants had to sign 5+ year leases, show profitable operating history, and deliver letters of credit — all this just to get office space. Clearly, the commercial real estate industry had grown up around the traditional business as customer and was never going to provide a solution for high growth, high risk startups.
Now, and then, it was abundantly clear the market missed a segment of potential customers. Today, the combination of community and co-working is incredibly popular and we have great options like the Atlanta Tech Village and WeWork.
Challenging the inertia around you is often the most difficult, and rewarding, course of action.
I tried workarounds in the commercial real estate industry for years — special subleases, different term structures, etc. — and the inertia was too strong. My solution was to buy a building, recruit a team, and move forward without the industry. Sometimes it takes more dramatic approaches, sometimes there are more elegant approaches.
Embrace the inertia as a challenge. Recognize how and why it’s there. Fight through it.
When the industry insiders scoff at you, like they did with us and the Atlanta Tech Village, you know you’re on to something.
Challenge the inertia around you.