Can you simply start a business from anywhere? In this episode, we sit down with Frank Cottle (Founder & CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices) to answer that question and more. Frank talks about growing up learning about the entrepreneurial mindset. Frank also goes on to explain why building relationships are really important to the entrepreneur. Lastly before the break, Frank explains how his day starts depending on where the sun is rising.
After the break, He goes on to explain how being an entrepreneur is not work but it’s fun. Frank also explains why he looks for decision-makers when hiring new employees. Lastly, he explains that entrepreneurs do have an obligation to engage in social issues.
The Startup Life is a show for entrepreneurs wanting to grow their business and career-minded professionals looking to scale the corporate ladder. Get ready to receive major value as host Dominic Lawson interviews the best business minds in the world. Marc Randolph (Co-Founder of Netlfix), Tom Golisano (Founder of Paychex), and many others that have been featured in many publications from Entrepreneur, Inc Magazine, Forbes, Fast Company, and more. So if you have an idea, be about that life…The Startup Life!
Dominic Lawson [00:00:00] This week on the startup life, you can create your own curriculum very easily. What’s missing from that, though, is sometimes you can be a bit isolated. And so the social interaction that you get in school is very important.
Dominic Lawson [00:00:13] I start up nation so, let’s take flight with Frank Cottle, founder and CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices. The startup life begins now.
Dominic Lawson [00:01:07] Hi Startup Nation, do you enjoy the startup life? Now you can let the world know with gear from the show, choose from the label yourself. Make your own luck and making money T-shirts to tell your story of your path of entrepreneurship. Click the link in the show notes to purchase.
Dominic Lawson [00:01:21] Hi started Macy’s, so I hope you receive some value today. We’re here with Frank Cottle, how you doing, Mr. Frank?
Frank Cottle [00:01:27] Doing just fine. Thanks, Dominic.
Dominic Lawson [00:01:28] All right, did I say your last name correctly?
Frank Cottle [00:01:31] Frank Cottle.
Dominic Lawson [00:01:32] Frank Cottle. I’m sorry, my apologies, make sure I get that right. I read for some knowledge in the startup nation today.
Frank Cottle [00:01:37] If you’ve got a container, I’ve got the juice.
Dominic Lawson [00:01:40] Sounds god, let’s get started. So let’s begin with this, how did you start your path to entrepreneurship?
Frank Cottle [00:01:46] You know, that was really, I think, a family issue. My father and grandfather were my father’s sizable serial entrepreneur. I guess, on both sides of the family they had built for quite successful companies. My father in particular and so I grew up around the kitchen table at dinner, if you will. Hearing stories, learning lessons and it’s sort of, I think, in the DNA of our family.
Dominic Lawson [00:02:08] Awesome stuff. So it is kind of like a generational thing for you, if you will.
Frank Cottle [00:02:13] Yeah, you grow up with it.
Dominic Lawson [00:02:14] Absolutely.
Frank Cottle [00:02:14] I think it’s any child that learns a language and we’ll call this the language of entrepreneurism, is always comfortable with that language for their entire life. Unlike somebody who might learn a language in their 20s or 30s, they don’t think in that language they only speak it. So, I think if you learn things with a child, you think in that language and that’s really the way that I I grew up.
Dominic Lawson [00:02:39] Awesome. And I’m glad you said that we actually have one episode, and one of my early episodes called The Language of Entrepreneurship that speaks to that very notion so, thanks for that plug. Now, you’re going to appreciate that, so let me ask you this, Frank what was your first business idea and what did you do with it?
Frank Cottle [00:02:55] My first it wasn’t really an idea. It was just a basic business as well as I was going to college. I wanted extra money and I needed to work my way through doing a few things and so, I became a commercial diver. I had that skill already as a sport diver when I was very young. And so I became a commercial diver and worked for a company and did some very interesting work with that group but, moving on from that, that company lost its contract. We had a contract, the U.S. Navy, and that company lost its contract and so I decided with one in two of the employees from that company to start our own diving company. So, it was really my first idea was survival and out of need. It seemed easier to start a company if you if you look at it in a college, kind of trains you to work for somebody else, and I was on the front line while I was going to college, and I realized immediately that there was no stability working for others, that I had more stability working for myself and that has turned out to be true through my career.
Dominic Lawson [00:04:12] I hear that now, Frank, that leads me to a follow question, because some of the guests I have on from time to time, we kind of get into that college scenario and we actually have a question based on that later on. Well, let me get your take on it now, actually, since we can already there. Do you think that whole no, go to college and get a job and work for 30 years, you think that’s old business model? Do you think that still works in today’s economy?
Frank Cottle [00:04:35] Well, I, I think it works for some people. Certainly, I was asked not to return to the first college I attended. So, basically kicked out of school, and the lies settled down and went back to school and took a couple extra years to finish. I think, though, that while I was going to school, I was working the whole time or from my sophomore year on, and that shaped a little bit of my opinion back in sixty nine. I was making four or five times what my professors were making so as a commercial diver, so, you know, I wouldn’t necessarily overly inspired by it by many of the lessons they were trying to pass through. That was a misconception on my part I should have paid a lot more attention than I did, I’m sure.
Dominic Lawson [00:05:28] Understood.
Frank Cottle [00:05:30] But I think that if you look at today, if we look at the Gen Z and we look at what they’re doing, that’s the first native technology generation we’ve had. And when I talk to young people myself, there are 16 to 18, between 16 and 20 will call it their self educating at a faster pace than classic academia. And today, if I were to be a student, I could say well tel’s see, I want to go this direction, so I’m going to sit down and listen to for TED talks and then I’m going to spend the next four hours after or an hour after each one of those talks researching that topic so I understand it. Now, if you get the right talks and let’s just use Ted X Ted as as illustrations for sure that you can you can create your own curriculum very easily. What’s missing from that, though, is sometimes you can be a bit isolated and so the social interaction that you get in school is very important. It’s not just get on the good old boy network that some schools imply, but it’s to learn how to deal with people. Because if you can’t create relationships in business, I don’t care what kind of education you’ve had. You won’t really succeed.
Dominic Lawson [00:06:52] Understood. Thank you for sharing it. Let me ask you this, Frank. Who or what inspires you as entrepreneur and why?
Frank Cottle [00:06:58] I want to go back to family I’ll just say my dad. I’ll just say my dad, he was my first real entrepreneurial inspiration and I think of the lessons he shared through time with me and that’s a constant reminder. So, the heritage of my first inspiration in that regard is still with me today.
Dominic Lawson [00:07:19] Got you. Now, Frank, you’re the CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices and so I’m curious, what you what do you wish you would have known before you started Alliance?
Frank Cottle [00:07:27] I think I wish my my reference interpersonal skills as I started our company, this this company. I was very optimistic about such things as partners and partnerships and I made some bad decisions with partners and partnerships that turned out to be very optimistic in the beginning, but didn’t enter that way. And so I wish I had had a little more understanding of that aspect of business and how you can get yourself in a very good position or a very bad position. I only saw the optimistic side of things for the first 10 years I was in business.
Dominic Lawson [00:08:02] Gotcha. So let me ask you, is this switch it up a little bit. So, have you spent some time in corporate America? And if so, what did you learn from the worst boss you’ve ever had?
Frank Cottle [00:08:12] I really have have not spent much time in corporate America. I had one-three year flirt with Deloitte, they made me a partner over on the consulting side to do a project that we was really just a single project. But I still, I was in the sea level of the company, so the organization so, I really spent half of it I’ve never had a boss. I can tell you the best boss I’ve ever had.
Dominic Lawson [00:08:39] OK.
Frank Cottle [00:08:40] What is my wife.
Dominic Lawson [00:08:41] Fair enough, fair enough. I understand that all too well being married myself so I definitely understand what you mean by that. So when it comes to alliance, how do you market or advertise alliance to get the word out there that you use social media, word of mouth, word, space, what works the best for you Frank?.
Frank Cottle [00:08:58] Sort of all of the above everything we own a digital agency as part of our own company structure. So we have a full stack groom, both marketeers, if you will. Everything from web development to video, audio, social media. We kind of run on all cylinders and I think that’s important for companies not to use a single channel. First, that channel might go bad. Second, you’re going to just have to buy your way into it. Third, it limits your exposure and your market development. So you really have to use all channels and when you say social media, most people think Facebook. But, you know, you have to be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, you have to go around the full gamut in order to capture the entire marketplace.
Dominic Lawson [00:09:53] For sure, And so let me ask you this, what did you learn from your biggest failure?
Frank Cottle [00:09:57] Not to make it again?
Dominic Lawson [00:09:58] Fair enough.
Frank Cottle [00:10:01] I really think refusing college and some thoughts on that, I think that the purpose of college is to learn how to make decisions. And so what I think you could say in applying that what you learned from your biggest failure is when you’re having a failure and you recognize the beginning of it, cut it short, instantly. Sort of think of yourself as a gambler and business and, you know, let the good cards run long but what if you don’t have the hand, if you’re in the middle of something wrong, get rid of it right then don’t keep playing with a bad hands as that’s what I think the biggest failure that most people suffer from, they continue to play a bad hand as opposed to getting rid of it.
Dominic Lawson [00:10:48] Got you. So when it comes to entrepreneurship, we always know that professional development is a big piece of that. So what does that mean to you? What are you learning now?
Frank Cottle [00:10:56] Well, oftentimes people come to me because we run a variety of companies shareable globally and they come they say, well, what? You know, what are you. In my own position, what do you do? And I actually my most common reply is I just aspire to be the best student of our industry. And so I think when you say, what are you doing now? Lifelong on everything I’ve done, I’ve always set aside about two hours a day for study. I am one of those Gen Z attitude people of self educating every day, every single day. It’s not something you can start and stop.
Dominic Lawson [00:11:35] Understood and so, with that being said, we talked about, you know, the new way people self educating, you know some people say in order to be successful as an entrepreneur and you kind of alluded this earlier, you need a form of education, you know, to get the networking piece. This idea that somebody would just say, you need an idea and some work ethic so where do you stand on that aspect?
Frank Cottle [00:11:54] I think you do absolutely need an idea and you absolutely need a work ethic with a capital E. But I think more than that, no matter how good your ethic is or how brilliant your idea is, if you can’t communicate it in terms that others can understand, then it will be yours alone. You know, it’s great, but no one else will so, from a formal education point of view, the thing that people really need to understand is how to manage relationships and how to manage communications. If you can do those two things, then your idea and your worth it, work ethic will come to fruition. If you can’t do those things that they won’t, there’s many ways to learn those things. Some formal, some informal but, the time you spend in college as a formulative period, learning how to make decisions is can be very, very valuable and very important. I wouldn’t say avoid school. It’s just not always necessary or you can you can do it. You can always be a little different.
Dominic Lawson [00:13:01] Understood. Now, I’m noticing a thing with you, Frank, where you talk about communication and building relationships. How do you do that? Do you, like, go out to networking events? Is it through, like LinkedIn? What is Frank’s not no school of thought on the process of building a relationship.[00:13:17] Oh boy! All all of the above, I’m actually not not much of a external networker I don’t go to events for that purpose.
Dominic Lawson [00:13:28] OK.
Frank Cottle [00:13:29] I actually kind of shun them but, when I have a friend who has a friend, that’s who I want to know. So on a personal level and maybe it’s just, you know, if you’ve been around a long time, you have lots of friends all over the world. On a personal level, I really like one on one meetings, to and I like having some commonality in advance, and so I’m a great one for lunch meetings and breakfast meetings and dinners and things of that nature. I have a friend, a colleague, he has a company called a service called Lunch with a Stranger and it’s a very interesting way of introducing people. It’s sort of a dating game, if you will, for business people. But that’s really my preferred method, as opposed to going out to networking events.
Dominic Lawson [00:14:24] Got you. So no networking speed dating for you, Frank?
Frank Cottle [00:14:26] No, no, I’m not I’m not that kind of guy.
Dominic Lawson [00:14:30] Understood. All right so really quick, before we go to break, what does the average day look like from sunup to sundown?
Frank Cottle [00:14:38] Oh, well, it depends on where the sun’s rising, doesn’t it?. For me, sun up generally starts in Russia or the Middle East and I’m in California, so it can be an early day. And then I kind of follow the sun as I work my way around to Australia and Asia Pacific and sometimes what gets lost in the middle is India, because I’m in a direct 12 hour opposite with India just about so, I just kind of work my way around and based on time zones and do a lot of video, most most of my work is done video conferencing and because it it gives me a lot more efficiency than physical travel, although you can’t get away from face to face and breaking bread with people. Last week, as an example, I was in London and Amsterdam next week I’ll be in New York, couple weeks after that, I’ll be back over in Amsterdam and Belgium. You can’t get away from that, but you have to that that is augmentation to the technology processes of video and web conferencing.
Dominic Lawson [00:15:46] So we’ve got to go ahead take a quick break highlight being on startup life so far.
Frank Cottle [00:15:49] Hey, I’m loving it.
Dominic Lawson [00:15:50] Awesome. I started a nation I hope you gain great value from Frank story, but we got to pay some bills. Once again, my name is Dominic Lawson are you listening to The Start of Life.
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Dominic Lawson [00:17:41] I startuo nation so let’s continue. So before we got back into the questions, Frank, tell us a little bit about alliance virtual offices and its place in the new economy and things of that nature.
Frank Cottle [00:17:51] Well, we’re in the Surfest office industry and as an industry, we combine people, place and technology into a single bundled product that we deliver with a highly flexible service agreement. So everything from classic business centers to coworking centers, incubators, accelerators, logistics centers, media centers, culinary centers, you name it. When there’s people, place and technology put into a single bundle and delivered with flexibility, that’s the foundation for our industry. And Alliance Virtual Alliance Business Centers, All Work Space Company in the Netherlands flexado a company in the U.K., your city office. They all operate on that format those that’s all part of our company group. We run have about 700 locations, facility locations where we supply services in 54 countries and so we’re very much a global operation and have been for decades. The interesting thing about being of the virtual office business is first we can set up an office for a company, 10 countries, 10 cities in 10 minutes It’s very simple to do. So, people really like the ease with which we can do things that are impossible to do in conventional real estate and it’s all technology driven. We are a global organization so, if you want something set up in Kuala Lumpur or Calcutta or London or Paris, Rome doesn’t matter to us. So it’s it’s kind of fun business and it’s been fun driving from the original property company that we started out as developing commercial properties to do an operating company. So now we’re a network services and technology company so we’ve got we’ve balde decade by decade as business in general has evolved, we’ve not gotten stuck into the old model.
Dominic Lawson [00:19:50] Understood and with your company, that’s why you’re a huge advocate of that, you can start your basis from anywhere, correct?
Frank Cottle [00:19:56] Well, you can start from anywhere and you can run it from anywhere and you can employ people from anywhere and that’s one of the things we like about that, is it’s very cost effective, much lower cost operating model for our client companies. And if you think about it, you might be the best at something, I might be the best at something, I might have a company and want to employ you, but that might mean you have to move. You have to leave your family or upset, maybe your kids have to pull out of the high school there and you have to buy a house in a new marketplace, all these costs and things, this disruption to the quality of your life just to get a better job, you might be in another country and have to figure out the immigration angle and all those things.
Dominic Lawson [00:20:39] Understood.
Frank Cottle [00:20:40] We should have to do that today. So as a company and as what we do is we hire the best people we are and leave them in place when we use technology to manage and we encourage other companies to think through that process. It’s so easy, really, it’s so easy.
Dominic Lawson [00:20:56] Understood. And I’m glad you said that, Frank, because a lot of times when people ask us for business advice or some alone on those natures, they always think the first thing they have to do is to get a brick and mortar location and I always try to tell me if you can put that off or as long as you can, you know, go ahead and do that, you know, because you don’t want to have that cost up front. And so, you know, with what you do at Alliance, I know you’re helping me drive that point home so I appreciate that.
Frank Cottle [00:21:21] Well, you know, to take that a point further. Let’s assume you have a company and I have a company and we’re both gonna go on a pitch, a venture capital fund for funding.
Dominic Lawson [00:21:31] For sure.
Frank Cottle [00:21:32] OK. And you go in and you say, well, I need a million dollars. I said, what do you need it more for? And I said, well, at least I’ve got to get an office and I have to buy some furniture and I have to get some computers and I have to set up a network and I have to employ a secretary and I need a conference room and all that stuff.
Dominic Lawson [00:21:53] Right.
Frank Cottle [00:21:54] And they say, OK, so 50, 60 percent of your million dollars you want is going to go to infrastructure and I walk in and this is only has a million dollars to invest that day. I walk in and they say, what are you going to do if I give you a million dollars? I said, oh, I’m gonna hire programmers. That’s it? Yeah, I don’t need offices. Well, why not? Well, because I deal with alliance virtual and they set me up globally. Where are you gonna hire the programmers? Were the best programmers are at the lowest cost. I mean, you don’t need them all sitting in an office? no, I can connect them through my technology networking alliance gives me. So who’s going to get the money me or you?
Dominic Lawson [00:22:31] Oh, you are absolutely.
Frank Cottle [00:22:32] OK. Who’s going to give the bes results for a better return? Me or you?
Dominic Lawson [00:22:34] You are of course.
Frank Cottle [00:22:36] OK, move on.
Dominic Lawson [00:22:38] Right.
Frank Cottle [00:22:39] The questioning is over.
Dominic Lawson [00:22:41] Absolutely.
Frank Cottle [00:22:41] Of the better model.
Dominic Lawson [00:22:42] Absolutely. I hope you got that started, Mason. I really hope you do. All right so, let me ask you this, Frank what’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?
Frank Cottle [00:22:51] Oh, boy. The best piece of advice let’s see… Okay, I’ll shift over to the personal side.
Dominic Lawson [00:22:57] OK.
Frank Cottle [00:22:58] We’ve talked about relationships and relationships to me means doing what you’re committed to do in the relationship. When I was a young man, I had only been married for a few years and one of my clients, I evolved from the diving world to the yachting world as I was after I got married. One of my clients was a very well-known Hollywood producer of the era, and marriages in Hollywood don’t necessarily last but, this particular very high profile fellow and his wife been married for 50 years. And so I asked him, Billy, what so what? What’s the secret to your marriage? He rose to Rose and he said back, I always treat her as if she’s my most important client. When you have your most important client, you’ll always return their phone call. You never forget a date and you go out of your way to make sure that they’re happy with your service. So it’s as I always think of it that way, it might be a little odd, but that’s what I think the secret is. And that’s really the secret, not just to a good marriage and I’ve been married now for 48 years, that’s the secret to a lot of things in business. Every client, every person is the most important one, least of them and you need to see them in that light. So, extending that concept, not just for my personal life, but to business has been very important and that was that was really valuable advice to me.
Dominic Lawson [00:24:28] Understood. Thank you I appreciate that. So let me ask you this, Frank. What’s a popular misconception about business, about just start a business or just running a business if right.
Frank Cottle [00:24:38] Now that it’s work, OK? Businesses are really work It’s fun, especially if you’re an entrepreneur doing your own thing, you know, making your own dreams a reality. It really has to be seen as fun and not labor and so the old adage of if you do something you really love you, you won’t ever be really having to work or worry about it. I think that’s true and so it’s not a misconception. But, you really have to look at how you perceive business in general and find joy in what you do. If you if you can’t find joy in it, then you need to do something else. I don’t have I don’t have a job have a career.
Dominic Lawson [00:25:22] Gotcha. So let me ask you thi. And I know you probably have a ton of employees, but what do you look for in an employee in alliance?
Frank Cottle [00:25:29] That’s simple decision makers in fact, the one thing that will get you fired in our company is not making decisions.
Dominic Lawson [00:25:37] Interesting.
Frank Cottle [00:25:38] It’s the opposite of some people but if you come in to us and you’re working with us, if you’re there for the first day, we want you making decisions all if you’re making decisions, you will force yourself to learn. If you make a bad decision now, we’ll cover it t was a learning experience, but if you don’t make decisions, you will slow everything and everybody around you down.
Dominic Lawson [00:26:03] Understood.
Frank Cottle [00:26:04] So we look for decision makers, people with the confidence and the courage and the will to make decisions and the willingness to recognize they will not all be the right decisions. That’s when you cut up short, that’s what we look for.
Dominic Lawson [00:26:18] Awesome. Don’t want anybody just kind of sitting on the fenc. Just make a call already, right
Frank Cottle [00:26:23] That and pure native intelligence. We don’t care where it comes from, how they have it. But we want just smart people. Really smart people.
Dominic Lawson [00:26:32] Understood. We got to shift gears just for a little bit. I want to ask you this, do entrepreneurs have an obligation or should they even consider giving a commentary on social issues at all?
Frank Cottle [00:26:45] Absolutely. I think that’s an absolute, we live in a world of with many different elements going on. And I think we all have a social obligation. In fact, if you, I’ll give a pitch, go to… A Web site AllGoodWork.Org. And that’s our own foundation where we take physical space, we take the vacancy factor in our industry. Now, we’ve convinced facility operators all over the world to donate that through our foundation, which we in turn aligned with charitable organizations that have a need for space to house their people. We did a little corporate headquarters for a group called the Hope Train that runs across sub-Saharan Africa back and forth to trains, actually. And each car is a separate clinic and the train with separate doctors and staff for that specialty and we gave them space for their their headquarters in Manhattan that they wanted to establish and because of that, they told us they’d be able to do another eleven hundred cataract surgeries this year.
Dominic Lawson [00:27:54] Oh, nice.
Frank Cottle [00:27:55] Because they didn’t have to pay for the space. So little things like that, we support charities all over. Bring a lot of value and we all live in communities and work in communities and we need to support the needs of those communities and so I absolutely believe strongly in that. In fact, we have a company that we do business with that they actually give away space a big percentage of their space in exchange for what we all now in our industry call social capital. So you don’t pay for the space, you just signed up to do things within the space.
Dominic Lawson [00:28:33] Understood.
Frank Cottle [00:28:33] And that’s your social capital and that pays for your office.
Dominic Lawson [00:28:37] Awesome. Thank you for sharing and I appreciate that. Have you ever had to turn down a client? Every once in a while.
Frank Cottle [00:28:42] I’ll fire a client faster than anyone.
Dominic Lawson [00:28:43] And if so, what are some red flags people should look for when it’s time to let a client go?
Frank Cottle [00:28:54] Integrity, really. If you have an obligation to your clients to deliver what you say, you will when you do when, you said so. Your clients, by and large, have an obligation as well either to pay for that or if the client is a joint venture or a partner, you know, to do whatever they’ve obligated themselves towards and candidly, we don’t like people that don’t keep up their side of the bargain. So if somebody doesn’t pay what they’re obligated to, of course, you cut off services or what? Just try and get out of a restaurant without paying you know, you go to jail. So we look very carefully at the economics of our client relationships and from time to time, we also look at the pain in a relationship. We will not tolerate a client that’s abusive to any of our team members. Period. There’s been a lot about sexual harassment, but that’s not the only kind of abuse that’s out there these days.
Dominic Lawson [00:29:57] Of course.
Frank Cottle [00:29:58] We just don’t like, mean people. So we have that right to refuse service to anybody altitude and we think that anybody that’s disruptive, you know, you try a few times, you try a few times, and you just say, gosh, we just can’t work with you anymore. We’re really sorry, you don’t have to be mean about it. But you should have quite high standards in who you’re willing to work with because they’re whoever it is, they’re getting the gift of your time. And you have to value your own time as very highly, much more valuable than money. And if somebody is stealing your time, being disruptive, then you do have to change that. That’s one of those decisions you have to cut short.
Dominic Lawson [00:30:39] Understood, I appreciate that that’s that’s some great information. I hope you contest out of nation, your time is extremely valuable it’s more important than money. I appreciate that, Frank. Thank you so much. Who were your mentors?
Dominic Lawson [00:30:50] Gosh, unlimited. When I started in business, I as I said, I transitioned from commercial diving to the yachting industry and I had the benefit for about 10 years of dealing with major celebrities, politicians, very, very wealthy individuals in business and the people in that industry are fascinating to me, much more so than the large vessels that we were building and racing and selling and all that sort of thing. So I, I had the ability to literally become part of the family. I mean, you if you are involved with somebody doing something they really love, like purchasing or cruising a big racing, a big yatch and we were at the upper end of the of the industry, you have a very special relationship, very almost a family type relationship. And so I had many of those people the chance to sit down for days or even weeks at a time and learned their lessons. And many of those lessons, again, have stuck with me, through the years, and they’re very, very have been very valuable to helping me to make decisions.
Dominic Lawson [00:32:08] For sure, and I have to ask is this keeps coming up as well, your love for the aquatic arts, if you will, you’ve mentioned diving, you mentioned yachting. Is that from living out there on the West Coast? Or it you just like love, you know… Being in your water, what did that come from?
Frank Cottle [00:32:24] Well, I’ve raised on the water, pretty much so. You know, if you’re Newport Beach and Balboa. So if I’d been raised on a ranch, I’d probably love horses.
Dominic Lawson [00:32:36] Fair enough.
Frank Cottle [00:32:36] I’m still a old surfer sailor type guy and so if I’m not in or around the ocean every day, I start to go through withdrawal.
Dominic Lawson [00:32:46] Gotcha. OK, so let me ask you this. I know you get a lot of competitors out there in the virtual office space. Why should somebody go with the alliance and not anybody else?
Frank Cottle [00:32:56] Well, every company says they have superior service. So I’ll say that same thing, we really have a caring attitude towards our clients and a service standard at our at the center level at the facilities level. Many companies think and travel, if you will, many companies have every kind of hotel imaginable on their site. Good, bad, ugly. They just got everything. No, we actually focus on a quality service standards at each facility. And that is a differentiator we aren’t concerned with having the biggest inventory so much as the inventory that provides the best services. So we have segmented ourselves into that layer and kind of serious layer. And as a result, we from what we’ve seen, we have a longer customer lifecycle than anybody in the industry. That means ultimately we have a lower cost of customer acquisition than anybody in the industry, which proves that if you do provide superior services, you will have superior clients.
Dominic Lawson [00:34:06] Understood. Thank you for sharing that. Frank, I believe all entrepreneurs have a superpower. What’s yours and why?
Frank Cottle [00:34:12] Well, it’s certainly not my sense of humor.
Dominic Lawson [00:34:14] Oh, no. Yes, it is.
Frank Cottle [00:34:18] They would be men… I can see the future, I can see the future. And so that’s my my superpower. I can look about three years ahead and see things before anyone else does. And I would explain that as you asked. I would say it’s not a superpower, it’s a discipline of having it of being a good student. Spending every day learning and not just learning what others have done, but trying to apply what you’re learning. And I think when people say they study their industry, most people that do that, they stay, they put on blinders and get myopic and look at one aspect of their industry, not everything that’s attached to it. They don’t go up to 50,000 feet or up into orbit and look down and see the full scope of things. So I can see the future and that helps me to connect dots faster.
Dominic Lawson [00:35:16] I hear that, seeing the future and making connections, I love to hear that for sure. Let me ask you this. No, this is the part of the show where, you know, if you want to plug any specials or promotions, just want to plug the best is in social media for people to follow you the floor is yours to do exactly that, Frank.
Frank Cottle [00:35:32] I’d like to plug Alliance virtual offices as a company, and it’s virtually to reach an AllianceVirtualOffices.com. If people are interested just to learn more about our industry in general, they could go to a Web site called AllWork.Space. They might find great interest there, that’s a publication that we put out on behalf of the industry to try and help the industry at large not just ourselves and, it’s the largest news and information source around our industry and flexibility in the workplace. If you want to do good, go to. AllGoodWork.Org, that’s our foundation, and we help charitable organizations by providing office space and facilities and services to them at no cost on off day on a global basis but we’re focused mostly in North America.
Dominic Lawson [00:36:27] And lastly, before we let you go, Frank, once again, thank you for coming on the start of life. We really do appreciate it last question before you go. Any party advice for an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur?
Frank Cottle [00:36:38] Never stop, never stop it. One thing that does lead to another and sometimes a first success. It keeps you into a particular limited path. So when I say never stop, never stop looking, never stop learning, never stop expanding. Everything you do, to drive forward and that’s the only direction that you should ever have is is forward. And the only speed you should ever have had is full speed. So just never, ever stop. Don’t. If you’re thinking about retiring, you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re thinking about selling because you’re going to make get rich, you’re not an entrepreneur, you’re just you’re just a transaction guy.
Dominic Lawson [00:37:21] I hear that. So, Frank, that’s going to wrap up the start of life. Did you enjoy being on the show?
Frank Cottle [00:37:26] Absolutely.
Dominic Lawson [00:37:27] I startup of nation. So here’s my final take it was an absolute honor to have Frank on our show, as he is by far our most experienced entrepreneur that we’ve had on the show. His story not only speaks to legacy entrepreneurship, as he’s learned from both sides of his family, but also the fact that he wants people to know that learning is activity that never stops. When he talks about that, he learns like Generation Z as a Cannava, ad hoc or custommade learning curriculum for the entrepreneur. Also, I really appreciated that he pointed out that relationship building is super important to not only him, but on the entrepreneurs as well, because Frank knows that people don’t buy things from people that they don’t know and I’m really glad that he pointed that out. Also, Startup Nation, this is a very special episode because this is Episode 70 of The Startup Life. Once again, thank you for taking this journey with us and I hope you’re really getting value for my show. I say it time and time again, if you’re not able to use or you’re not getting actionable advice after every single episode, then I’m not doing my job and if I’m not doing my job, let me know. So with that, we that way we can rectify that. But I guess with this being episode 70, this is officially the march to episode 100. So I hope you’ll join us when we get to that point I’m trying to think of some ideas of what I may do. I think I have a pretty solid one, but I’m going to vet that out a little bit. But once again, thank you, Startup Nation, for joining the start of Life Journey. And hey, let’s continue the ride of learning and adding value. If you want to let us know what you think about the show. Have an idea for a show topic or like to advertise on our show. Send us a message on the Startup Life podcast, Facebook page, and while you are there, like and follow our page as well, it’s a new way for us to engage with the start of nation and really grow our community. The link is here in the show notes, to subscribe to the show as it can now be heard on Apple podcast, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify, I Heart Radio and SoundCloud. If you are listening oh apple podcast and you find our content valuable, please give us a five star rating as it will help us climb the charts and help more people find our show. And hey, if you have an idea be about that life, the startup life.