Second Office Lines Up Companies For Government Contracts

There are many business opportunities accessible through local government departments and public entities in the growing Eastern Cape economy. The very first step in lining up your company to access these opportunities is to register on government’s Central Supplier Database (CSD).

The CSD serves as a single database for organisations, institutions and individuals who can provide goods and services to government for procuring from organs of state. If you are interested in pursuing the many opportunities to conduct business with government, your company must be registered on the CSD database, which links up with other government departments such as SARS (South African Revenue Services) and CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission), as well as local commercial banks to have company information verified.

While businesses can self-register on the CSD online, many companies never complete this crucial first step, due to the cumbersome and time-consuming process, which involves first registering as a natural person before the business can be registered and navigating a series of emails, One-Time Passwords sent to a cellphone, and verifications.  

Responding to an overwhelming number of requests for assistance from local businesses, East London-based virtual office provider Second Office has added CSD Registration to its range of unique business solutions designed to “run your office while you run your business”. These include premium office space and a range of administrative services delivered by professional staff, on highly flexible hourly, daily, weekly or monthly terms. In addition, their unique Tender Support Services Solution improves prospects of tender success with on-time, procedurally-correct tenders.

Second Office’s CSD Registration offering now further enhances the capabilities of businesses to do business with government with a simple, affordable service that professionally guides businesses through the various steps, captures the required information on the government system, follows up to ensure verification and delivers a Registration Report Summary with the company’s M number and full details. 

“We are excited about the business prospects in the Eastern Cape and passionate about facilitating business growth and success in the area!” notes Sibongile Booi, founder of Second Office. “It is the driving force behind the solutions we continue to create, including modern virtual offices and business resources, our Tender Support Services and now our CSD Registration service, which will allow companies and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many opportunities to do business in the Eastern Cape.”

Virtual Offices, Shared Office Space and Co-Working: The new way of working

Business is changing. The economy is shifting towards smaller businesses, start-ups and self-employed consultants and freelancers. This is changing the way people work. Thanks to technology, today’s entrepreneurs and workforces are increasingly mobile, on-the-go and flexible. As a result, they are turning towards flexible work spaces that fit their lifestyle.

This has driven an evolution in the concept of office space.

Traditional office space, when well located, properly furnished, well equipped and professionally staffed, creates a professional environment and boosts productivity. However, finding, furnishing, equipping and staffing such a traditional office requires a significant and long-term investment of time and money.

The first virtual offices addressed some of these challenges, allowing businesses to rent a professional address, a dedicated phone number, and a shared receptionist to answer phone calls and take messages.

Today, virtual offices have evolved into a complete solution, offering fully furnished offices, boardrooms, meeting spaces and workspaces with state-of-the-art office equipment and secure wifi, and a range of amenities such as mail forwarding, call answering and administrative services, all available on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Located in key areas or vibrant business hubs, virtual offices provide the professionalism and enhanced productivity of a traditional office, without the costs of buying or renting space and furnishing, equipping and staffing the office, or the inflexibility of long-term office rentals, equipment leases and employment agreements. Through virtual offices, a new breed of businesses can access office or meeting space and/or administrative assistance that allow for maximum productivity on extremely flexible terms and at affordable rates, freeing up both capital and cashflow for investment in the business.

Evolving further from the virtual office concept, "shared office space" or “co-working space” is one of the fastest growing trends in the way people work. While shared office space is essentially a virtual office shared by a diverse community of independent business owners, it delivers even more benefits, most notably a shared community network.  

Although each business operates independently, business owners, entrepreneurs and managers work within a shared community in which they can connect with each other, not just with colleagues as in a traditional office. This allows for collaboration and networking with like-minded business people, creating opportunities to connect socially, grow networks and tap into new resources. A shared office further lends itself to recommendation, referrals and feedback from like-minded business owners in real-time.

Even larger corporates find that their staff are more productive when working ‘offsite’ with other teams, rather than working in one office with the same team day after day. These employees have access to a community of like-minded professionals from a range of industries – a rich pool for new ideas and inspiration.

I am optimistic about the growth of virtual offices and the new trends arising from this successful concept, such as shared office space or co-working space. Businesses of all sizes are discovering that a virtual office is the ideal solution, offering cost-savings, increased productivity and exceptional flexibility required to succeed in today’s dynamic and rapidly changing business world.

Business trend analysts agree that the virtual office phenomenon is worldwide and is here to stay. The annual DeskMag Global Co-working Survey confirms a massive growth in co-working spaces: with the number of co-working spaces worldwide growing from 1000 in 2011 to 11,300 in 2016, and the number people working in these co-working spaces increasing from 43,000 in 2011 to 835,000 in 2016. The latest survey predicts the number of co-working spaces to grow to 13,800 this year, with a million people working in these spaces in 2017. (Source:  http://coworkingeurope.net/2016/12/31/first-results-global-coworking-survey/)

The evolution of office space into virtual offices – and now into shared office space or co-working space - has brought cost-effective and flexible solutions for start-ups, small businesses, travelling professionals, companies exploring business opportunities in new areas and businesses that are downsizing or looking for temporary space. Virtual offices have become enablers of a new way of working and connecting businesses, offering a real solution for the realities of the modern business world by creating a seamless and hassle-free business environment conducive to growth and success.  

Author: Sibongile Booi, Founder of Second Office

 

 

Second Office Scoops Top Accolades

Since Sibongile Booi established the first virtual office solution in the Eastern Cape in 2011, Second Office – and Sibongile herself – has been widely acknowledged for providing local and national businesses with an innovative, cost-saving and highly flexible business and serviced office solution. 

In October this year, Second Office was announced as the first runner up in the services and trade category of the 2016 Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC), aimed at recognising and rewarding small businesses that are significantly contributing to the fight against unemployment and poverty and growing our economy.

“Small businesses play an immensely important role in unlocking doors to economic opportunities and inclusive growth. Through the Eskom Development Foundation, we remain committed to playing our part in this field by acknowledging the difference that small black-owned businesses make in our economy,” said Dr Baldwin Ngubane, Chairman of the Board of Eskom Holdings.

Second Office, along with the other BIC finalists, also participated in the Small Business Expo (SBE), held alongside the Buy a Business Expo in Johannesburg, providing an opportunity to market themselves and interact with corporates, investors and potential clients.  

“The Eskom Development Foundation has exposed us to markets we normally would have not been exposed to, and the BIC certificate has brought us so much recognition,” says Booi. 

Second Office was also named as one of just 46 small business owners countrywide who are recipients of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Fund, selected from more than 2000 applications.

According to Catherine Wijnberg, who founded Fetola, the implementing partner of Tholoana: “The Tholoana programme is specifically keen to support enthusiastic, passionate entrepreneurs who are committed to building a successful future for themselves and the people their business serves.”  

“I am thrilled that Second Office will receive a nudge and a coach from the programme!” says Booi, who values contributing to the local economy and is a participant in various business associations, including the Border Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), the Business Women Association (BWA) and the Black Management Forum (BMF).

Booi was also recently announced as the newly elected President of the Rotary Club of Beacon Bay for 2016/2017, poised to make her contribution to the Rotary mission to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty on a local and global level.

BOOST YOUR TENDER SUCCESS IN THE EASTERN CAPE

The Eastern Cape is the fourth largest economy in South Africa and one of only three provinces growing faster than the national average. This province offers vast prospects for small, medium and large businesses to participate in commercial activities undertake projects and expand into this vibrant economy. 

Many of these business opportunities are accessible through local government departments and public entities, but require completing complex and cumbersome tender processes, which are time-consuming, labour-intensive and costly, particularly for businesses that do not have a local presence in the Eastern Cape. Among the challenges businesses face when tendering for local government and public entity opportunities are the costs of travelling to East London, one of the most expensive South African cities to fly to, in addition to the local travel and accommodation costs while in the city. Furthermore, navigating the unique business landscape in the Eastern Cape demands time and resources, which are often underestimated, resulting in lost opportunities.

Tender processes also require dedicated resources to collate up-to-date documents, comply with legal requirements, collect and deliver hard-copy documents, make cash payments and attend tender briefings, all within tight deadlines. To complicate matters further, many Eastern Cape municipalities have poor technical abilities and facilities, requiring, for example, physical collection and delivery of documents and cash payments. 

To address these challenges and ensure that businesses, regardless of where they are based, can take advantage of the many lucrative opportunities in the Eastern Cape efficiently and cost-effectively, East London-based virtual office provider Second Office has launched another unique solution: Tender Support Services.

Second Office, the first virtual office solution in East London, offers cost-effective, flexible and on-demand solutions for start-ups, small businesses, travelling professionals, companies exploring business opportunities in new areas and businesses that require temporary space. These virtual offices provide businesses with space and resources that allow for maximum productivity, without the costs of setting up and staffing offices. Modern virtual offices provide premium office, training, meeting, boardroom or conference rooms, furnished and fitted with the latest technology, as well as a range of amenities such as mail forwarding, call answering and administrative services delivered by professional staff, on highly flexible hourly, daily, weekly or monthly terms. 

Building on the success of this concept, Second Office has now also launched a unique Tender Support Services Solution, providing businesses with a locally-based administrative arm with the time, expertise and resources to tender professionally. The benefits to businesses are extensive, including a virtual presence for businesses in the Eastern Cape, optimal use of resources and significant cost savings, allowing exploration of the opportunities and expansion into the region with minimal investment, while also improving prospects of tender success with on-time, procedurally-correct tenders.

Second Office’s Tender Support Services Solution includes professional collation of original documentation required for successful tenders; ongoing monitoring of document validity, with timely requests for updates of expired documents; payment and collection of tender documents; representation at tender briefings; professional collation of complete tender packages; submission of tender packages and payments across the Eastern Cape; and ongoing feedback on the tender process, including reporting. 

“Development, growth and opportunities within East London’s infrastructure and industrial areas are recognised and addressed by local, provincial and national governments, as well as by companies looking to participate in development programmes, expand into the area and build a presence the province,” notes Sibongile Booi, founder of Second Office. “We are excited about the prospects in East London and in the Eastern Cape and passionate about facilitating business growth and success in the area! This is the driving force behind the solutions we continue to create, including modern virtual offices and now our Tender Support Services, that will allow businesses to explore local prospects professionally yet cost-effectively, and to improve their tender success to take advantage of the many opportunities that await in the Eastern Cape.”

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