I’m very excited to be introducing a new interview series to my blog, Behind The Biz. This series will explore small businesses, the people behind them and their business journey.
Today’s interview is with Ed Goodman, the co-founder of Cambridge Business Lounge.
Where did the inspiration for Cambridge Business Lounge come from?
I was delivering a Digital Marketing Course to a number of business owners in a venue which also housed a coworking space. I immediately got the concept, because I worked from home a lot then and frequently struggled with the feeling of isolation that home-working creates. I already wanted to go self-employed as a Business Trainer and the idea soon struck me that a hub that marries my training skills, with the concept of coworking, was worth investigating. Soon after, Cambridge Business Lounge was born and we haven’t looked back since.
How did you decide upon the name of your business?
We wanted a name that evoked professionalism with informality – much like an airport business lounge.
What did you do before starting the Cambridge Business Lounge?
I spent 4 years working for a high street bank, training their in-house business relation managers, contact centre staff and small business customers. I then went on to join a young business that offers digital solutions and cloud services to small businesses, through strategic relationships with larger partners. This meant that I spent much of my time there training and coaching the small business customers of these larger corporates.
Did you always plan to be self-employed?
Not always, but the more the I came face to face with an extraordinary mix of start-ups, freelancers and other business owners, the buzz was always bound to wear off.
What has been the biggest challenge in running your business so far?
Selling the concept of coworking to new audience. We’ve always been encouraged by people who love what we do and think it sounds great. However, getting them to walk through our doors still remains our biggest challenge. However, our community has grown considerably since we opened that, once people do try us out on a free day, they’re quickly hooked and revisit soon after.
What has been the highlight of your business journey to date?
Being asked to write a book by one of the largest publishing companies in the world. In January 2014, I was contacted by Pearson to write a book aimed at businesses who have been trading for about a year and are now going through the challenges of growth. E.g. employing people for the first time, embracing new technologies, etc. Then, in February 2015, “New Business, Next Steps: The all-on-one guide to managing, marketing and growing your small business” was born and is available to buy on Amazon.
What role does social media play for your business and do you have a favourite social platform?
It’s crucial to help bring the community together when they’re not working from CBL, especially Twitter and LinkedIn. We’ve also been successful at reaching new audiences through these channels. Pearsons also approached me to write the book through my LinkedIn profile.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
There is so much to focus on, but the main thing is that No Cash = No Business. Business is more than passion. Without proper financial planning (e.g. costs, cashflow, profit) it may not be a business at all
Where do you hope to take your business in 2016?
We’ve already increased our presence by opening in St Ives in 2015. This year, we hope to open in Ely, and anywhere else where someone would like to open their own [Location] Business Lounge. Also to take my Mastermind Groups to new areas and increase my mentoring of new businesses and freelancers to areas outside of Cambridge.
Thank you so much to Ed for taking the time to be a part of this series. I hope you all enjoyed the interview as much as I did. I can’t wait to see Cambridge Business Lounge grow throughout 2016.
Fancy getting involved with Behind The Biz? Leave a comment below or drop me a message over on Twitter.