Back in 2001, years before flexible offices became a global trend, franchise partner Ricardo Lagdameo recognised the potential of the industry while working from a Regus centre. The head of Damosa Land, a Philippines property development firm based on the island of Mindanao, was always excited about the possibility of similar centres opening in his region, but it wasn’t until 2016 that opportunity knocked.
At the time, IWG was expanding across the country and approached him about its office building in Davao city. Together they opened the largest Regus centre in the Philippines, attracting clients from a diverse range of sectors, from IT to consultancies, and from beyond the local area, including the capital Manila and internationally. It proved a huge success, filling up fast and maintaining a high occupancy rate.
The next step
Yet, while Damosa Land had invested in the centre and had a profit share agreement, IWG was still responsible for running the business. It wasn’t until December 2019 that Lagdameo (who has now worked in real estate for seven years) took the next step, becoming an IWG franchise partner committed to opening eight new centres in the region over a five-year period.
He says that his business made this decision based on the fruitful relationship it already enjoyed with the brand and, importantly, the impact the Regus centre was having on the region’s business environment. The flexibility the centre offers attracted an even more diverse cross-section of customers and it allowed a lot more investors from outside of Davao to do business in the city.
“Previously, investors were hesitant to visit the city because they didn’t want to spend much and there was a lot of uncertainty about whether they could earn back the costs,” Lagdameo explains. “But by having a Regus centre offering flexible workspaces it removed that whole variable. It meant now they could come in and not have to spend so much on capital expenditure. They could scale up or scale down as needed. The centre also acts like an incubator for new business. There have been a lot of positive effects.”
Navigating the new world of business
Lagdameo says it’s still early days for his franchise and Damosa Land is still working on plans to open its first centres on the island – something it is currently fully focused on. His main involvement with the franchise in the future, therefore, will be its expansion, as well as driving customers to the centres. The day-to-day operations will be left to a team on the ground that he will liaise with on a regular basis. He will also pay special attention to choosing the best location for the new centres.
Of course, opening eight brand new centres in the middle of a pandemic comes with its own challenges. But IWG has been incredibly supportive throughout, arranging for training on everything from sales to operations. Top management from IWG has also played an active role in guiding Lagdameo’s team on the measures that need to be taken because of Covid-19, as well as helping them navigate this new world of business over the next year or longer, if necessary.
“They are extremely accessible,” Lagdameo says. “The good thing about IWG is that it understands that our success is its success. It’s not as if the organisation just left us alone with the business and collected the royalties. The team is there when you need them.”
The best thing about being an IWG franchisee is the brand recognition that comes with that partnership. As the global leader in the flexspace industry, the company has decades of experience under its belt and that’s a vital ingredient to ensuring the success of your own venture, claims Lagdameo.
He says: I feel the same way about IWG – we could have tried to do this on our own but partnering with IWG as a globally recognised brand definitely makes it easier to bring in new clients to our office buildings.”
Effort will be rewarded
What advice would Lagdameo give to someone considering becoming an IWG franchise partner? Make sure that you are committed to really rolling out the business – and don’t be afraid of hard work, he says.
“This is a very serious business for IWG, so if you’re thinking of getting into this as an add-on to another business, you might want to think again,” he says. “IWG is the gold standard in what it does. To be successful, you have to be prepared to put in the same amount of effort. I can tell you that it’s worth it when you do.”