Surviving everything from natural disasters to global disarray, for over 30 years, left some battle scars and priceless knowledge that built resilience for Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces. Laura K. talks about the history of the industry, lessons learned along the way, the value of a good reputation, recession proofing your business, the label less future ahead, and more in this episode of the GCUC Podcast.
Gain insight into 30+ years of industry experience with these juicy sound bites:
I’ve been through a lot. When you’ve been through a bunch of recessions, hurricanes, super storm Sandy, 9/11 – you learn. It’s like a muscle. Every business has its ups and downs, every industry has its ups and downs, everything always comes back to equilibrium. It’s not always going up and if you know that’s just a part of life, especially an entrepreneur, you roll with it. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
No matter how hard things get when they get tough, somehow you still have to try to have fun going through the process, as hard as it is, and not take everything so seriously. It’s not going to last forever. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
Make sure your business is solid, make sure the fundamentals are right. You don’t want to go into a tough time struggling. Now is a time to be cautious in terms of expansion and now, more than ever, make good business deals. If you’re not sure, a management contract or jv is a better option than a long term 10-12 year lease. Operate, as if. As if it could happen but don’t let it paralyze you. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
People always ask, why Florida? You do a deal in Florida, the brokers on the agency side like working with us, then they bring us another deal and another deal. Then we have owners that have seen what we’ve done, and they want to keep doing it. Our growth in Florida, I have not gone out looking for any of it, it came to us. When you have a good reputation in a marketplace, the deals come. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
At the point in my career when I started Quest, I didn’t have anything to prove, there wasn’t a lot of ego involved. I had been part of those high-flying organizations doubling in size every six months, I’ve been on both ends of the M&A side, I chose this path. In terms of how we were starting and growing the company, the fact that we are the size that we are, was a choice. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
I’m fluid. I don’t get hung up on what the words are and what everyone calls themselves. After doing this for 3 decades, some of the names our industry was called back in the day was so crazy, executive suites, business center, just terrible. From the day I went into this business, it was service, it was always service. My background is hospitality. I knew hospitality before I knew real estate. For me, no matter what, what we offer is hospitality and service. That is one thing that will never change. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
Now, we call it community. It was always about creating those great spaces where people felt like they belonged. It’s about coming and having a great experience and connecting. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
Coworking is people coming together, working together, and what you do with that. This is why I’ve done this for 30+ years, it’s the most fun part of the entire thing. When you get people connecting and all that magic that happens when you get your team is supporting them and they’re supporting one another and they’re working together. There’s nothing like it. It’s incredible. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
Back in the day there were a lot of different drivers that brought people into these spaces, a lot of it was technology support when technology was so expensive. Now, it’s the flexibility component of it. For a company to be able to scale up/down, give back space when they don’t need it, and come to market within days and hit the ground running; that’s a necessity for every business right now. Being flexible and having choice is the biggest driver. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
When people make the business decision to come into one of our spaces, whether they call themselves coworking, flex, or any one of the other definitions, they come because it’s flexible. The flexibility, the plug and play, all those efficiencies, and what keeps them there is the community. -Laura Kozelouzek, CEO at Quest Workspaces
Click HERE to listen to the full podcast with Liz Elam and Laura Kozelouzek. It’s juicy!