Transitioning from Corporate World to Business Owner by Guest Blogger Bob Fox, CPA

Many people go through career transitions during various parts of their life, learning new and leveraging existing skills. After a 40-year career in the corporate world with great companies having both financial and operational roles, I decided to look at various options of owning my own business.

When one decides to start down the business ownership trail, there are three options:

  1. Start a business from scratch – This was the highest risk option given the number of new businesses that fail in the first two years
  2. Buy an existing business and improve it – After research, I found the prices of existing businesses to be too high based on the cash flows those businesses were generating
  3. Buy a business system and process called a franchise – I spent much time looking at various products and services in the franchise world and decided to buy into a shared office and co-working brand titled Office Evolution out of Colorado

Why the shared office and co-working space business? My focus, besides turning around businesses, is helping those companies grow. This business model allows that business-to-business customer base with providing the atmosphere for growth for small and mid-sized companies. There was also an opportunity with this franchise to just have one employee – coming from managing up to 300 people globally, that was really attractive to me.

So what about the shared office market?

  • Flexible office space market demand is currently 1 percent of the commercial real estate market, but it is projected to triple in size in the near future
  • Some projections have this market growing to 5 percent and 10 percent of the market
  • Small businesses are the primary driver, which are the job creators in the economy
  • The gig economy plays right into this market
  • Even larger companies avail themselves of available project demand space, as well as decentralizing their office footprint

The industry was dominated for years by Regus, which has over $2.7 billion in revenue. Recent entries into this market of WeWorks, Premier Business Centers and Office Evolution round out the top four companies in the space.

I opened my first Office Evolution location in Southlake, Texas in April 2018, and am pleased with the demand I have seen in the market. Learning a lot from this first location, I’m now looking at applying that learning to future locations.

I would encourage people who are about to enter into career transitions to look for opportunities to invest and grow. There are many different avenues out there to pursue. One of the keys is to be patient to search for what it is you would really like to do and then review the available options of getting there.

Robert Fox, CPA

Bob Fox, CPA, is a strategic advisor, turn around strategist and growth consultant who transitioned to entrepreneurship after 30 years with Halliburton. He is an active member of TSCPA’s Fort Worth Chapter and co-chair of the chapter’s Members CPE Day Committee. His Office Evolution location is on State Street in Southlake, Texas.

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