Trump win will intensify landlords’ need for property managers who thrive on chaos18/11/2016

When I was at business school back in the nineties one of the books that inspired me most was Tom Peters’ Thriving on Chaos. He said that people and businesses that thrive in chaotic environments are the ones that succeed. But even Tom Peters could not predict what disorder Trump being elected President of the US and the UK’s vote for Brexit would bring. In a world that is constantly changing it’s the individuals who embrace change and adapt quickly that thrive. And this has been a philosophy that has stuck with me throughout my career. Citibase is a business that has always embraced and relished change and this has enabled us to adapt to ever growing demand from SME’s for affordable, flexible work space.

This week was Global Entrepreneurship Week marking entrepreneurship success in over 160 countries. I hope this celebration of creativity and ingenuity has helped to inspire a new generation of innovators, creating leaders who drive economic growth in their regions and expand jobs and prosperity. These cost-conscious entrepreneurs and SMEs work across a huge variety of sectors and we are helping connect them with building owners who are looking to make profit from properties which are either unoccupied, or not achieving the value expected. Many small and institutional landlords are realising that converting their buildings to flexible, serviced office space can provide positive cash flow and a risk free alternative to outdated long contracts for traditional occupiers.

Earlier this month we surveyed our customers across the UK, from Aberdeen to Brighton, about the impact of Brexit on their business. The results showed 46% said they have a positive outlook for their business compared to 20% who believe prospects are negative and 34% who did not know. Although it is promising that nearly half of our customers are optimistic about their businesses’ future, these figures demonstrate that opinion is split – and that is because no one knows what is going on.  The courts are saying one thing, the government disagrees, while the papers are squabbling over the meaning of Article 50. It’s a mess. On top of this we have the most unorthodox and unpredictable US president the world has ever seen. Businesses – more than ever – will need the flexibility to manoeuvre in a rapidly changing market.

No one knows where this road is leading. No state has left the European Union before and the rules for exit – contained in Article 50 – are ambiguous to say the least. With all this uncertainty, why would a business want to sign an office contract for the long term? What we will see – and why our enquiries and deals have increased – are businesses craving agility to help manage risk and costs, allowing them to scale up and down more easily. Smart landlords have recognised this change and we are seeing many building owners diversifying and de-risking their portfolios by working with flexible property managers like Citibase.

Trump has divided the world, he has been described by some as hero and others as a clown in the US election pantomime – but the fact is he will be running the White House in January and there is nothing funny about the ripple effect of uncertainty. “The world of work has changed forever” has been my mantra for some time and it is now more pertinent than ever. Attitudes and office requirements are changing week by week and despite doom-mongers predicting the end of the world as we know it, SMEs have been quick to respond and find a solution to their business needs following the Brexit vote and shock of the US election. Nimble entrepreneurs are the reason for unbreakable confidence among small businesses and, as a champion of SMEs across the country, Citibase is proud to work with landlords to provide an affordable and more flexible alternative to the long-term contract.

Trump and Brexit combined has created the most uncertain atmosphere in world markets for a generation and only businesses that dare to embrace the chaos will truly succeed.

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