We're just over the halfway mark of 2016. And if this year has taught us anything, it's this: you can never be sure what's coming around the corner!
Indeed, the 2016 BCA Conference - billed 'An Era of Change' - neatly reflects the current circumstances and proves that it's more important than ever to identify fresh opportunities to help navigate the choppy waters of change.
Happily, there are plenty of BCA Members doing just that. What's perhaps most encouraging is that no two methods are the same, which demonstrates the sheer agility, diversity and constantly evolving nature of our sector.
Consolidation and investment
Let's start with Landmark Plc. The London-based operator is no stranger to identifying new opportunities, and neither is Green Kinnear Real Estate, a specialist in business centre acquisition and sales. In his latest video interview, Landmark Plc's Richard Gill talks to Douglas Green, co-founder of Green Kinnear Real Estate, about opportunities within the serviced office marketplace.
Green - who was closely involved with the sale of TargetSpace and Ventia Offices - has observed a significant change in the nature of market consolidation. Whereas once it was mostly driven by large companies like Regus, it is now taking place between independent operators, and Green believes there are plenty more consolidation opportunities still available.
Plus, given the increasing amount of media coverage of flexible workspace, he says we are "likely to have more investors coming in" that will doubtless play a role in the sector's ongoing development and evolution.
Partnerships and new services
Taking the role of new entrants a step further, some operators find fresh opportunities by setting up partnerships with entities outside the industry - as well as those already familiar with it.
United Business Centres (UBC) has just introduced a new business support service. Launched in association with Mi Ventures, the live chat communication platform enables clients to connect with business advisors and seek advice on various topics associated with growing a business. The platform also enables clients to gain access to business factsheets and to network with other UBC clients across the UK.
This isn't the first time Mi Ventures has partnered with a flexible workspace operator. The company is the brainchild of Wenta, a flexible workspace operator and BCA Member, which rolled out the live chat service in its own business centres last year.
Another example of a successful partnership is that of Search Office Space (SOS), which is now Rightmove's official serviced office partner. The link-up, announced this week, sees hundreds of workspaces introduced onto Rightmove's Commercial Property Channel, thereby exposing both SOS and the listed spaces to a vast new audience.
For those with the appropriate resources and backing, setting up dedicated teams to tackle specific opportunities is a highly targeted way of identifying and grasping new opportunities.
Property consultant and leading business rates advisor, Gerald Eve, has recently announced the formation of a new 25-strong Capital Markets team offering advice on real estate investment products. The team is split across key geographical areas including Central London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow and Cardiff.
What better method for identifying untapped opportunities and gaps in the market than a brand new team of dedicated advisors?
Opportunities in action
Finally, if there was any doubt as to the current opportunities available, two operators in particular show us that they are there for the taking - providing you know where to look.
One of them is The Club House, a high-end flexible workspace operator with two locations in Central London, which recently launched a new addition at St James's Square - reportedly the