Welcome to the Steve Jobs based Join Up Dots Free Podcast Interview with Frank Cottle
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Introducing Frank Cottle
Frank Cottle is my guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
He is the founder of the Alliance Business Centers Network
They provide premium virtual office and telecommunications solutions for companies all over the world.
With over 650 Office Business Centers operating in 42 countries, his is the authority on the subject of virtual offices and remote work.
So if you want to start moving around the world, remote, independent from your team then where do you go?
If you don’t fancy trying to find dodgy wifi in some bar in Timbuktu then today’s episode is for you.
But that is just one part the equation that our guest has brought to the world.
When The Dots Started Joining Up For Frank
How does the standalone entrepreneur gain instant recognition, and authority when they are in a small bedroom doing everything themselves?
Well they work with our guest today, to gain a high impact business address.
New York, London or Paris, mail forwarding, a receptionist taking calls on their behalf and all for a small monthly cost.
He can teach us tons of great information for startups and entrepreneurs about flexible and remote work.
Along with his unique global management perspective developed during his 25 years within the Office Business Center industry.
So when did he come up with the idea to create a global network such as this, and what were the first steps he took to achieve his aim?
And what took him longer to achieve, finding the locations or selling the idea to customers across the globe?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Virtual himself, Frank Cottle
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Frank Cottle such as:
We discuss how to get balance in ones life by finding the work that inspires, delights and never feel hard.
Frank shares the importance of having a global mindset if you want to true success in your life.
The huge benefits of having virtual office space ready and waiting for clients to organisations everywhere, but the difficulties of getting them to know about it.
He highlights the simple logic, that no matter how bad economics are across the world, someone has the money. Just go where the cash has gone.
How To Connect With Frank Cottle
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Frank Cottle Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, Hello, good morning to you. Good morning, every single listener across the world, thank you so much for being here on another episode of the number one motivational podcast, which is join up dots. That’s what you’re listening to. It’s my show you’re here. So let’s do our thing. Um, today’s guest I’ve already been chatting with him and he is laid back. He so laid back, he’s almost horizontal. So I don’t know how he’s going to deal with my kind of bouncy attitude, we’re going to see maybe it’s going to be fire and water. Maybe we’re going to clash maybe we will end up fighting. Who knows. But one thing for sure is he is the he’s a guy that should have been on the show long time ago because he’s the founder of the Alliance business centers network, which provides premium virtual office and telecommunications solutions for companies all over the world. Now with over 650 office business centers operating in 42 countries. He’s is the authority on the subject of virtual offices and remote work. So if you want to start moving around the world remote independent from your team, but don’t fancy trying to find dodgy Wi Fi in some bar in Timbuktu. Ben Today’s episode is for you. But that’s just one part of the equation that our guest has brought to the world. How does the standalone entrepreneur gain instant recognition and authority when they’re in a small bedroom doing everything themselves? Well, they work with our guests today to gain a high impact business addressing say New York, London or Paris mail forwarding a receptionist taking calls on their behalf and offer a small monthly cost that he can teach us tons of great information for startups and entrepreneurs about flexible remote working along with these unique global management perspective developed during these two 25 years, we’ve been of this business center industry. So when did he come up with the idea to create a global network such as this and what were the first steps he took to achieve his aim? And what took him longer to achieve finding the locations or selling the idea to customers across the globe? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Virtue office himself. Frank Cottle. Good morning, Frank. How are you?
Frank Cottle [2:27]
Good morning, David. I’m just fun. Thanks.
David Ralph [2:29]
I thought you would be you only back I can’t imagine anything ever gets you flustered? What what would make you scream and shout and run around the room? Being a bit ranty?
Frank Cottle [2:41]
This is a dramatic pause. While I’m thinking I’m not very little. Honestly, I think you’re right, I am fairly laid back. And there’s very few things possibly rudeness. Other others get to me a little concerned. But in terms of business in terms of life, in general, it happens. You deal with it. You enjoy it every day and move on.
David Ralph [3:07]
And Have you always been like that Frank, or was there a fiery younger version of you are you sort of settled into yourself, you know your stuff, so you can be a bit more relaxed.
Frank Cottle [3:17]
Um, well, as the saying goes, I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. Yeah, I know who I am. I’ve always known who I am, what I wanted to do, or how I wanted to do things, at least from the time I was young. And part of that probably came from growing up in a very entrepreneurial family with good guidance from my father, who was if you think I’m laid back boy, laid back. And just a general outlook of life balance, life, work balance, whatever you want to call it, that, that the word balance is very important to me. And then
David Ralph [3:53]
I wasn’t going to talk about this, but I can’t I don’t know if I can get work life balance. Because I when I quit my corporate job to do this, I thought it was going to be work right balance, I was gonna have more free time to do this and then do what I wanted to. But as I started to love this more, it took more of my time up. So the balance went the opposite way, I found it very difficult to get really good balance, I’m either thinking about work on doing work. Are you a bit like that? Or can you switch off totally, um,
Frank Cottle [4:22]
I don’t, I don’t think I ever want to switch off totally.
The the concept of balance, I think is how you handle work. And the old adage, you know, do something you love and you won’t really be working. That sort of thing comes into play. So if you plan your work to be doing something you thoroughly enjoy, then you don’t consider it being necessarily out of balance, but more being productive and and contributing both to yourself, your family and to the world around you. And that should never be stressful that that should always be a feeling of goodness.
David Ralph [5:05]
Now you obviously a raging success. I I’ve been looking around your portfolio of properties. And I was I was blown away to be honest there. It’s like looking at the sort of map of McDonald’s, it seems that you’ve got property everywhere. I was really surprised by how many has that been difficult to get that many where where was your first one, Frank, where was the first place that you actually bought, let’s set up somewhere that people can sort of like connect into?
Frank Cottle [5:32]
Well, I’m going to start before the very first property because the transition in that regard to a global outlook really started quite young for me when I was in finishing college, and just as I was about to get married, I worked initially as a commercial diver doing some work that was considered with with some of the alphabet agencies here in the United States. So I did interesting work as they say. And that put me into a global frame of mind when I was quite young 19 2021. And then from that period, when I got married on when I was 21, I started racing yachts for a living. And so I’ve been traveling and my family always traveled when I was quite young. So I’ve been traveling globally, really sometimes about 19. And so the concept of other places does not exist for me when I think of other places I think of the moon or Mars but I don’t know if countries. And that sort of mentality means everything I’ve ever looked at from the time I was in my early 20s had a global context to it.
David Ralph [6:50]
So you kind of understood the concept of abundance, and quite early where so many people look at their local area and think that’s what they’re dealing with you you would have had a much wider expansive mindset right from the from the
Frank Cottle [7:04]
go. Well, you know, it’s funny because, well, we were racing yachts, we’re also building quite a large yacht brokerage at the time that I sold out. And when I was 30, we were the largest brokerage in the world. And people would say, as we went through various economic cycles, oh, the markets so bad, how can you be selling a big luxury product? And we’d always scratch our heads and pretty much say, Well, you know, at any moment in time, there’s never less money in the world. Because different people that have it. Yeah. So you when you look at markets, and you look at things for expansion, you can say, I either want to go to the place where there is no money and take advantage of it. Or I want to go to the place where all the money is and take advantage of it. So if you get to that simple concept. And then you look at trends, sort of like dropping a pebble, a pebble in a pond, and the wave patterns that emerged from wherever you dropped that pedal on the right side of the pond in the middle of the pond. However, those waves break along the shape of the pond is very much like economic and business trends. They always start somewhere and there’s always they hit different places first fast and someplace was very slow. And so if you think through that a little bit those two simple always money somewhere. pebble in a pond trends theories. life gets pretty easy.
David Ralph [8:32]
Have you ever found yourself on the wrong side of the ripples that the ripples are going away from mutely?
Frank Cottle [8:37]
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Everybody does. I think the issue there is a decision making issue. And my dad was a interesting guy, very successful entrepreneur, but he was also a bit of a gambler. Everything from horses to high stakes poker. And in doing so it taught me the simple decision making role is when things are good. Stick with them. When you’ve got a bad hand or you’re against get on a bad horse, get off as fast as possible. So don’t let your bad decisions continue to run. This is no remake, or you’ll never make right. It’s all right decision. But if you can make even 5050 good decision versus bad decisions, but your good ones, you let those run and your bad ones, you chop them off short, then you’re going to come out ahead.
David Ralph [9:32]
But that’s what Branson always talks about. He always talks about every opportunities there to be had. Look at the upside look at the downside. And if the downside becomes bigger than the upside, jump, and then move something else.
Frank Cottle [9:44]
And do it fast. Yeah, do it fast.
David Ralph [9:47]
So so let’s let’s take you back to that young man. I’m fascinated by the young man with the horizontal dad, who was so laid back. How the hell did he sort of how did he become entrepreneurial? Because I always see nowadays I talk about hustle and being everywhere. But obviously back in the days, it was all about sort of one to one networking, it was about knocking on doors, it was about going to places and what did he do that?
Frank Cottle [10:14]
Well, I think it’s still lives, by the way, but one on one relationship. But our family’s old farming and ranching family here in California. Everything from grapes up in the Napa Valley to avocados down and it’s a miraculous. So we’ve been in that business for many generations, as well as the business I’m in today. And I think my father’s understanding of you can’t do much about the weather. And you can’t do much about, you know, the crops and that sort of thing. But nature has its path. It led him to a comfort with dealing with things.
If you you look at that lifestyle style, excuse me.
You know, there’s a lot of laid back people honestly.
So that’s where it started. And then my my dad was very successful in the food production and distribution industries, as well, which is what I mostly grew up with, as opposed to the farms back time that you hear about the guy. Well, he sold the farm. Yeah, I sold all the farms. I, my dad and I had a talk when I was young. And he said, Well, you know, take over the company one day, and I said no, I’m not a farmer, Dan. Sailor, I’m a surfer and a sailor and I love the ocean. I don’t love the land. So we made a decision that at a certain point when it was right, that it would be my decision whether to sell the farms or not. And I opted to sell them when my dad retired.
David Ralph [11:48]
So so you jumping in there, you were very self aware of yourself at that time. Because we I had like 1000 conversations, and I would say probably 80% of people got pushed into something before when I found that thing. But he was very aware of what you wanted to do in life. And you were willing to say no, it’s my life.
Frank Cottle [12:07]
Well, you know, my my folks, both my folks were very understanding that when I was young that I was possibly more mature than my age. In fact, even when I was 16, and 17 and 18. still in high school, during the summers, I was taking off with a friend and driving two 3000 miles south of the border into Mexico and Costa Rica and places like that. This is in the 60s, when it was a little bit rugged, and living in the jungle and surfing the coast. Just a couple of kids. So even at that age, I was very independent and traveling. And I knew what was important to me. And it was, you know, the freedom of that lifestyle. And that’s why I went and evolved my first professional career was one of being on the ocean and sailing.
David Ralph [13:05]
And now of course you are traveling the world in a different way allowing other people. So what was this unnatural coding for you to create this virtual office space? Does that fulfill your own personal spirit?
Frank Cottle [13:18]
No, honestly, I had an epiphany, I guess you’d call it when I was in the brokerage business when I was about 29 or so and listening to one of the other fellows in our office, and he was making kind of a whiny sales presentation to one of his larger clients. And we sold very high end vessels, you know, large hundred 200 foot vessels and things. So I’ve listened to this. And I’m Listen to this. And he’s a gentleman, same name as mine, Frank, who had known all my life, and he was older than me, damn it, I’ll never be an owner, so long as I’m a broker.
Unknown Speaker [13:57]
And I had to quit.
Frank Cottle [13:59]
So I took a year or so to look around and to figure out what to do with my interest in the firm and where that was all going to go. And I decided that I wanted to go because of our family background into land, land banking. And that meant farming, which I didn’t want to do that meant remediation of difficult properties, things with chemical spills, on spills on them and things of that nature, gas station corners, all of that. Or it meant lands banking through entitlement meaning acquiring property that had the right to build a very high density on it commercial office density in particular. And that seems more likely to me as a fit. And so we started looking around and said, Well, we want to buy very high quality properties. And we want to sit on a portfolio of those for about 10 years. And what’s the smallest amount of bricks and mortar, we can build on the biggest piece of dirt with the greatest over entitlement, meaning if I built a 50,000 foot building, did I have the right to build a 500,000 foot? Yeah. And so we came upon this funny little nascent embryonic industry called the executive suite industry. And I looked at the business model and thought, my goodness, this is the highest revenue per square foot. And it’s also very complex as a lot of moving parts because we combined people place and technology all into a single bundled product, and then provide that product on a short term service agreement rather than a lease and employment agreements and lease contracts for purchasing equipment, etc. So there’s a lot of moving parts in that. So I felt felt that it would not be easy for lots of people to jump into. If we were 16 solar overall, that there’d be a sort of firewall on on other competition and decided to enter that industry, which we did in 1979 80.
David Ralph [16:14]
I’m gonna jump into again, because you know, that’s early, that’s really early, you know, where we are now in 2018. I remember distinctly hearing the word Google for the first time. And I don’t know why and that that was 2000. That was the year 2000. Because I know exactly where I was. And so that was really early to think that, you know, you had the ability to connect, not virtually at that stage, but in that concept across the world.
Frank Cottle [16:42]
Well, I think you’re the name of your show, join up dots.
People have always said that, you know, we we as a company, and myself as a visual we we connect the dots well. And, you know, when you look at the stars, you know, think of the fellows or the women, whoever they were that that identified the constellations just by looking at the stars? Well, if you stop and look at the stars, and you see the current constellations that have been developed, look at Sagittarius and Leo etc. Well, if you keep looking at the stars, you can actually see other constellations too. And if you’re not limited to connecting dots, and that’s what we did we we basically looked at two or three business models, and connected the dots of those models and help to turn those models into a unique real estate product category. And it’s been lots of fun. I mean, it’s still fun every day, he’s talking about work life balance. Well, you’re in London, I’ll be in London next week. I’ll be in London in Amsterdam next week, dealing with some some folks. It’s still just tons of fun. The concept of retirement to is anathema me that that just something cannot consider
David Ralph [18:03]
just before I play some sort of motivational words. How old are you, Frank? If you don’t mind me
Frank Cottle [18:07]
asking. I’ll be 68 on May the fifth?
David Ralph [18:10]
Oh, yes. Did a baby My dad Oh. And he’s still going at it for full power.
Frank Cottle [18:16]
Yeah, well, one of my
colleagues that I know very well, and I’ve known for a long time is 96. And he’s still going full well and running a multi billion dollar company. So I don’t see any reason not to do that. And just enjoy it. I don’t know if we’ll be multi billion dollar company then. But
David Ralph [18:38]
it’s fun. It’s just fun. blow me. I’ll tell you what, when I’m 96 I’ll be lucky to be controlling my bladder, let alone a billion dollar company. He’s doing with me?
Frank Cottle [18:48]
Oh, yeah, he is. And he’s got good bladder control still so
David Ralph [18:52]
good on him.
Frank Cottle [18:54]
So he tells me so yeah,
David Ralph [18:55]
we don’t want to be putting plastic sheets down all over the place. Well, what I am going to do, going to play some words that we play every day on the show, and we’re going to play him again, he is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [19:05]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [19:33]
You always had belief in yourself, as he was saying he didn’t believe in himself. But you seem like right, from an early man you believe that things were there to be made you you go out and make your own opportunities?
Frank Cottle [19:46]
Well, I I don’t know if I’ve always had a belief in myself so much, as I’ve always believed strongly believe that anyone can do anything they put their mind to. And you hear lots of things, stories of people that come from very humble, humble backgrounds, and accomplish amazing things. And so I don’t believe in the concept of limitation
David Ralph [20:14]
is a limitation at all, though it you know, Can Can you make limitation? Or is it just,
Frank Cottle [20:20]
you know, I think people make limitations for themselves, they imposed limitations on themselves more than then the outside world does. Now, if you have a person in a third world country that struggling just for survival, they obviously need a hand up Yeah, in order to take advantage. But in the countries that you and I’ve been born in, and and the economies were we’ve been involved in limitations or self imposed, generally, or, or they’re imposed by educational institutions, I strongly believe that most educational institutions always got say, college or university
teach you to work for somebody else.
David Ralph [21:04]
You’re not alone. They
Frank Cottle [21:06]
teach teach you to think independently. Yeah, try and conform you. And I’m glad that I was working through college and my last two years, especially very independently, and I had sort of a cocky attitude. I said, geez, I’m making three times, but my professors are making Why should I listen to them. And so I learned on the docks, and I learned on through experience that different things that have helped me to, for my own life is as imperfect as that is, you know it because every day you’re trying to make improvement. But, you know, I, I’ve never been a big fan of, I’ve been a great fan of gathering knowledge, but not necessarily a great fan of highly formal education.
David Ralph [21:54]
Now, pretty much as I was gonna say, literally, every guest has said the same thing really, they’ve learned more, once I’ve left anything that I had before. So so let’s let’s explain what your business is. We say it’s virtual office space. A guy is in a bedroom, and he’s creating a business. And he wants a more professional image is this the sort of client you want, always the kind of client who is roaming the world and wants to sit down for an afternoon and deal with their business?
Frank Cottle [22:26]
Well, we want all clients
that can take advantage of our services, where we provide a real value proposition of those clients. So we don’t again, don’t believe in limitation in that regard. But we service everybody from federal governments on down through the corporate, global fortune 1000, legal accounting, financial services, professionals, entrepreneurial and local marketing, media, etc, companies and startups. So all of that needs flexibility. And I think the key term is today, all business needs to be more and more flexible, and more and more mobile. Every company today, yourself included right here right now, you are an international company. Okay, but you’re parked somewhere, making yourself International. Some people don’t have that luxury. If you want it to be doing the same. Cast in multiple languages with multiple parties, you might need to expand your footprint. If you need to meet people that you want to interview, let’s say in London, always from from from where your home is, and your office is just a short train ride, but maybe you want to meet them in central London, well, then you need a meeting room. You don’t want to meet them at a coffee shop, because maybe you need a Beemer or something to make a presentation. So anybody that needs flexibility and mobility, which is everybody in the world today.
David Ralph [24:00]
Why would you travel across the world to say like London, why are you not just scraping in and speaking remotely virtually?
Frank Cottle [24:08]
Well, actually, I do about five video conferences a day. So we’ve learned and we’ve been a totally paperless company since 93. So I can take the paper in our company and put it into four file cabinet drawers. And yet we’re pretty, pretty good sized. Yeah. So we do use video extensively. But when it comes to relationships, video is good to retain and maintain relationships, but you still have to be meet in person to secure those relationships, especially if you’re going to be creating something. Or if you’re going to be solving a problem. We have a belief that because we’re global that every time you create also border you need a partner. Because you’re never going to understand the nuance of a market as well as the locals will. And that means you need to pick a partner, which is pretty dicey sometimes picking the right partner, think of just the divorce rate as an example of that’s a pretty important partner to pick and yet most people blow it at least once and sometimes two or three times. So in business, it’s it’s it’s very critical to and that requires knowing people understanding them. And that level of communications is not available by video. Humans don’t work that way. We like to see fields smell, touch, get involved with people. And as you said earlier, it’s like to chat to having a beer or as I said, a good whiskey at two in the morning, that’s when you get to know people
David Ralph [25:53]
is interesting, though, isn’t it? Because we have got so much more opportunities because we connect globally, as you say, you’re in California, I’m in London, we’re doing this, it’s very easy, very cost effective. But it’s quite difficult sometimes to break away from your computer and actually get out there. Is it something that is driven by yourself? Or do you have members of staff that are quite happy to just sit in their New York office and Skype here, there and everywhere? Or do you make everybody get out and about?
Frank Cottle [26:26]
Well, if people are happy doing it, then they’re happy doing it, you shouldn’t make them do anything. You know, at least that’s my view, people do well, what they want to do, and they’ll do poorly what they’re forced to do. So there’s a little of that involved in all these decisions. Most people actually enjoy a bit of travel. It’s good to get out of the house and out of the office and out of town. It’s good to have friends all over the world. That’s a good thing. You’re understanding of such simple things as politics, if that’s ever simple, but but reading between the lines, before a newspaper is is kind of nice to be able to understand what what’s really going on. And it’s very important to understand what drives economies and economic cycles as you’re building your own business. And you don’t understand that then you’re at a disadvantage to those that do so. Well, I wouldn’t say travel for travel sake, I would say don’t be afraid of travel. And you hear people all the time say oh, well, I’ve I’ve never been to London. Man, I got to get on a plane. You live half an hour from an airport, you can be there for lunch.
David Ralph [27:42]
Do you know Frank, do you miss your pillow? That’s the thing that, you know, travels. Great. I can lay on a bench but my pillow. I need
Frank Cottle [27:49]
it. Well, that’s where we’re different. David, by the way,
David Ralph [27:53]
no, we’re not if you’re just playing Call.
Frank Cottle [27:59]
Absolutely. Right now, I don’t miss my pillow. At all back. Sometimes I miss the pillow at the hotel as much as I missed one of my own then
David Ralph [28:06]
No, no, about the same pillow for years. It’s all squeegee it says perfect around my head. So we will be a business then where where’s this sort of stretch points? It sounds like it’s just something that’s naturally grown. But there’s always a point where it’s not growing. And you’ve literally got to allow it to stretch to that that point where it’s ready to go to the next point. I’d say I think education of the public and whenever you have a new product,
Frank Cottle [28:37]
then people need to know about it and understand it. And today, people will say to me, oh gosh, you do this all that’s amazing. I’ve never heard of that. I’m going Oh darn. Getting into the main stream of thought processes so that people and companies and your client base uses you strategically in their planning processes, as opposed to tactically like, Oh, geez, I need a conference room right now. Where can I find one? That’s good business. But it’s much better if they say, Well, I know we’re going to be traveling 10 cities, let’s preset our meeting rooms. So we’ll book those in advance. Again, using our industry strategically, is been a challenge to break through. But it’s started to occur, I would say since 2008 or nine, the last economic downturn cycle, a lot of companies needed more flexibility. A lot of companies work processes, human resources process. We’re moving around offshore and globally.
David Ralph [29:40]
These these have been going 20 years by that time.
Frank Cottle [29:43]
Yeah, yeah. Well, actually, we’ve been in this business since 1979 80. Yeah. So about 37.
David Ralph [29:51]
Yes, only 30 years. Yeah.
Frank Cottle [29:54]
And but our industry, that while there are some large companies in our industry that have done very well, the industry at large, hasn’t been a known standard. And now the service office co working industry is is recognized as a very important part of the workplace process. And it really is the future of the workplace, as we see it, at least until probably 2025, when we see some more shifts coming along. But getting getting the public educated to him and turning your product mainstream. So your your your industry has a real brand. That’s that’s been a challenge.
David Ralph [30:39]
It makes perfect sense what you’re saying. And I always I used to work up in the City of London for years. And when I go up there now I look at these big office blocks and stuff. And I think, Surely there’s a better way of doing this Surely, you know, a regional office, but a postal address of London, so people feel like they’re connecting with London, economic Spain, it looks good on the letter, it looks good on the stamp, you know, I can see all about there must be some expense having these London properties. You know, I’m saying?
Frank Cottle [31:11]
Yeah, no, I appreciate that there is an art company and our industry is very well permeated the city fact, we probably as an industry has maybe nine or 10% of all that office space. All those office blocks, and are providing clients with flexibility and mobility. The flexibility premium in certain markets, too, and London is in particular is very high. Meaning if you are a small company or a company establishing a branch office and want to take space in London for let’s say, three people or five people, it’s very hard to find small space. Number one, number two, you know, the term of the the vertical landlords in those areas are somewhat difficult. The covenants are difficult and challenging the length of the term, maybe you have to commit to 10 or 15 or even 20 years. And who knows what size company you’re going to have in 20 years. If you go into a listed building a registered or listed building, then you’ve got to be responsible for the maintenance of a two or 300 year old property. And all these things and putting in new Wi Fi systems, putting in telecoms, etc. are very costly. So the flexibility premium that our industry provides and receives so that somebody can walk in and say, Hey, I need an office, we say well, how many workstations? Do I need five workstations? Great. Do you need those today or tomorrow? All the clerical, secretarial administrative reception help is all hired by us and managed by us all the technology is managed by and you can have that office for the day, the week, the month, a year, multiple year contracts, whatever you want.
David Ralph [33:08]
What about logging on to their own sort of computer? Can I just Oh, the course they can just log on and all their files of their natural?
Frank Cottle [33:15]
David Ralph [33:16]
Yeah. Oh, yeah. She’s, what a stupid question, David. Yes, yeah,
Frank Cottle [33:20]
that’s, that’s a little bit silly. In this day and age, David, know, its bandwidth and management of bandwidth. Network Services is a critical part of our our business. And it is a service by which service standard by which really, individual locations are highly judged. And there are certain hotels as an example in London that I really liked the location, and I really liked the personalized services in, but their connectivity is so bad in the rooms because of their construction, or just their lack of paying attention to it that I won’t stay there. Our industry is the same way. If you don’t have really good connectivity, which is what people need, people will move out. It’s a demand product. Absolutely. I’m being an absolute
David Ralph [34:13]
novice here. I imagine I imagine Frank, I’m a complete idiot is going to be a stretch and imagination for you. But say there’s some businessman and a businessman sits down at this desktop. He’s got his workstation in front of him and he wants to access he’s his office space. Does he have to sort out passwords and stuff with these? IT department first? Is it all? How does he do it, he can’t just walk up, sit down and Ben log on and
Unknown Speaker [34:39]
where you go? Well,
Frank Cottle [34:42]
within every center, there’s two layers of connectivity, there’s a guest layer, just like you’d have a hotel. And then there’s a resident layer, and resident, you know, the guests have one login. And we like to know who’s in our centers. So we asked people to, and it’s pretty much an industry stay now as well, if you want to access the internet. So to speak with the bandwidth, you have to log in with your name and your email credential. And then you’re given, you’re given the access. Yeah, if you’re a resident, well, you have an office or a workstation, you have the resident password. Once you’ve logged into that in most systems, and I’m trusting me about our whole industry, not just our our group, once you’ve logged into that, then the system recognizes your IP address on your computer, and you’re you’re automatically logged in. So once you have access to the bandwidth and the internet, now what do you want to do? Do you want to go into your own companies VPN and do things? Do you want to just use the public access? You know, search engines? And you know, what do you want to? Do you
David Ralph [35:51]
want to search for pornography? Could I could I just search for pornography? Or? Or is that all stopped?
Frank Cottle [35:57]
No, no, you can do that here your access.
So you can search for pornography, or or anything else you wanted in most most locations. But Heaven forbid you do that in a public area, because that gets your butt kicked right out.
There’ll be some pornographic expressions
David Ralph [36:16]
we do in the manager. I’m not gonna do that. Frank. I’m, I’m above all that kind of stuff. But um, I just got to ask these questions, because because there’s going to be sure, lonely businessmen out there, that’s thinking to themselves, oh, this is a cheaper way of doing it then in hotel room.
Frank Cottle [36:34]
That regard it is?
David Ralph [36:36]
Yeah, say, this is how my brain works. So how does somebody get a receptionist as well? How because that that interested me actually that somebody could be sitting there? And do they answer your call? And then they have to pretend to be somebody else. The next call? Were not that dedicated just to yourself? Surely.
Frank Cottle [36:56]
Correct. Correct. Their common commentary, receptionist, both front desk, front office receptionist, as well as telephone operator receptionist. And just like, if you were to go into a large law firm with 50 partners, well, there’s only one receptionist at the front, and she knows all 50 partners. And it’s the same inside of any of the service office and co working centers and in our industry. And in terms of toughening in some instances, things are done centrally. And in some they’re done on a center by center basis, it doesn’t really matter, the systems that we use are the same. Once a client has been established, and we’re handling their account, they have an access to have their own little control panel. And so they can fill out information about their company, who they are, what they like special callers. Whatever information that they want, that reception is to have, get the receptionist gets what we call a screen pop, when an incoming call comes in, and that screen shows the receptionist, all of the information that has been populated about the client. So they might say, well, if my wife calls, here’s a special number. Or if, if these are my five most important clients always put them through just whatever you would have if you had a personal dedicated receptionist. Most people today don’t need that, because we all use mobiles. And we all use Skype. And we all use WhatsApp and 50 different ways to communicate. So the need for a dedicated receptionist is fairly rare. For most people, even pretty high powered executives do not need a dedicated receptionist, except in the rarest of cases. So we we found that by sharing as needed in real time, that these these things work quite well,
David Ralph [39:02]
I think they do. And so I was looking around your site, I was looking at a place called Casper, I don’t know why I clicked on Casper, but I was having a look at this point. I can only remember where Casper was now. And it was like $100 and I get forwarding. I’ve got a receptionist I get you know, a mail address. hundred dollars a month, that seems a bargain to me.
Frank Cottle [39:21]
Well, it is. And that would have been Casper, Wyoming in North America, most likely. And it’s a very good value. But you know, technology today allows that value to be passed along to the client. And this is one of the things that’s helping to drive international and global expansion of business, we can do things very reasonably today that you couldn’t have done 510 certainly not 20 years ago, 20 years ago, to open an office in London, you had to get on a plane, go sign a lease, put up a big deposit, build your own phone systems, buy furniture, hire people and Lord knows you can’t find anybody in the UK. So if they didn’t work out, you were stuck with them. And so there’s all sorts of things like that the costs were staggering. Today, you can say I need an office in London for the next year because I’m doing a project there. I’ll get a virtual mail address at a high quality location where I when I’m in London, I know I can have a private office or a workstation or a meeting room and I’ll have clerical, secretarial and administrative support. And that’s going to cost you in London at a good address in the city anyplace from about, oh 89 pounds 289 pounds per month.
David Ralph [40:39]
Okay, okay, I’ll have four of them are full of them straight away.
Frank Cottle [40:44]
Okay, well, let’s give us me your credit card right now know you we can open an office in 10 countries in 10 cities in 10 minutes. You don’t need no credit
David Ralph [40:52]
card. Oh, you’ve been on my show. Where makes now Frankie don’t ask her credit cards for me. Surely,
Frank Cottle [40:57]
well, that will take an automatic gun.
David Ralph [41:01]
Enough across. So so when you I’m going to ask a question that’s been bothering me right from the very beginning. But when you were looking at your global mindset, and you mentioned about, you know, a different place to you is the moon. Do you ever look at the moon and think yourself one day one day people are be up there? And were be part of it?
Frank Cottle [41:21]
I don’t like green cheese that much?
David Ralph [41:24]
And I said no.
Frank Cottle [41:26]
No, I don’t think so I think technology for explorers and experimentation in off planet activities will probably I hope I see them in my lifetime. Because I think it’d be thrilling, but I don’t think it’s going to be common place travel. I think it’ll still be very much exploratory pioneering efforts, mostly by governments and agencies. figuring out what to do with anything off off planet,
David Ralph [41:57]
I’m going to be the first podcast I’m going to get on Branson ship, and I’m just gonna fly out there and I’ll do their first join up dots from the moon. That’s that’s what I’m gonna do.
Frank Cottle [42:06]
I think that’s a great idea. I think I think that kind of travel will be fascinating. And like I said, I hope to see it in my lifetime. But I don’t look at it as a in my business as a place for the market necessarily.
David Ralph [42:19]
Now and you can be my guest and I want to take a credit card from you or anything Frank, you can just be here for nothing. That’s that’s
Frank Cottle [42:25]
what I do. I’m ready. I’m ready. I fact I’ve been looking reading last night about the new supersonic that are coming out. Looks like boom is going to be a pretty exciting opportunity by 2022 23.
David Ralph [42:41]
I tell you what the world is changing in so many ways is unbelievable. But one thing that’s not changing is this music that we’re going to play because this is a part of the show that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Mr. Kotter. What age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Frank Cottle [43:32]
Frank, damn, you’re a good looking 21 year old. Say,
a couple of things I’d like to mention to you. First, you’ve just gotten married. Remember, that’s your most important partner. Second, you don’t have to be tired and hungry. If you’re going to work, work hard, but make sure that you’re well paid for it. Don’t work hard for no pay. Second, when businesses good, do it, when it’s bad, when the economic cycles are against you, or there’s a something you really need to think about. Go to Tahiti, hang out. Think about things. reposition yourself.
Next, you’ve always been a racer, a sailor,
you know that the boat that sales fastest is the one that’s actually steered the least. A rudder is a good thing gets you where you want to go. But it also puts pressures against the water. And that slows you down. So learn to sail fast. And don’t steer hard. make minor corrections, lots of my new ship. Miniature corrections don’t make any big ones unless you really have to. Blast, never stop, never stopped doing things never stopped being productive. Just enjoy yourself and know that you’re contributing to the world in the best way you can start a foundation GIFs others?
Unknown Speaker [45:05]
That’s my advice. Ah,
David Ralph [45:07]
great stuff. And I hope the young frankly listens closely. So Mr. cut all the people that have been listening today, what’s the number one best way that they can connect with you?
Frank Cottle [45:17]
A couple ways. If you can go to Alliance virtual offices.com. That’s one of our main companies or ABC n.com. And I’m easily reached on a personal basis through either of those companies. And if you just want to learn more about our industry, which I’d recommend for everybody, go to all work dot space. And if you’re in a charitable mood, go to that foundation light referenced, go to all good work dot space.
David Ralph [45:51]
I have over links on the show notes. Frank, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots of your life. And please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past it’s actually the best way to build our futures. Mr. Frank Cottle, thank you so much.
Frank Cottle [46:09]
Thank you, David.
David Ralph [46:13]
Mr. Frank Cotto, I’ll tell you what he sounded like he didn’t ever care in the world. And he just sounded so laid back. I wish I could be like that I’m not as laid back as maybe I sound sometimes I get a little bit. So Mr. Frank, you are the benchmark for what I’m going to aim for. But yeah, it seems perfectly sensible. You start a business, you need a bit of more profile. Get yourself in London and New York office or receptionist or for $100 a month. seems too good to be true. But of course, as you heard is true. And if you want more information on that, you can of course, jump over to the website, and we will have all the links to Frank Cottle’s business. Until next time, thank you so much for listening to join up dots really appreciate as always you being here, showing us up is showing us your time. And if you could tell other people about the show, it really will help us grow. But until next time, I will be here again. Thank you so much, and I will see you Cheers.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.