As flexspace grows in popularity around the world, Spain’s first franchise partner explains why it’s an investment model that makes sense
As the trend for flexspace continues to grow around the world and IWG expands its portfolio to meet demand, the opportunities for franchisees are growing too. In a recent trip to New York, the office-provider’s CEO Mark Dixon explained how franchising is a big part of that expansion plan. “In order to achieve the goal of national coverage – every town, city and suburb – it has to be done with partners,” he said. “For us, those partners are franchise partners, building-owner partners and investor partners.” And it makes sense: who better than the businessperson on the ground – someone who knows the ins and outs of the local terrain – to partner with IWG in a new territory?
A lawyer by training, Inaciu Suarez has spent the past 20 years as the sales and export manager of the family firm. Like he says, “I’ve been developing business and investments my whole life,” so it’s second nature to be on the lookout for the next opportunity. And as the first Regus franchisee in Spain, he’s confident he’s made the right choice: “As an investor, I see coworking as the new trend and a new way of organising the workplace, which is not well known in Asturias yet,” he confirms – before adding with the curiosity of the classic entrepreneur: “So I thought it would be an interesting new sector to invest in.”
The franchise business model is a well-established one at IWG, and the franchise opportunities in Spain abound. It’s a true partnership: just as the coworking company can rely on the local expertise of the franchisee, so the franchisee can rely on the financial muscle of a well-established (and experienced) office-provider in return. The benefits of franchising with a global company mean there’s a readymade support network, including induction and training for all key franchise team members, access to customer-service centres, IT-support services and operational process support from three global service centres, as well as regular performance reviews, access to new-centre opening project-management methodology, and website and app set-up.
IWG is currently recruiting partners who have the ability to operate and grow within a branded framework, with the capacity to open five or more centres over a two- to three-year period – and Suarez fits that bill perfectly. “My contract with IWG allows me to develop at least two Regus Centres, in the cities of Oviedo and Aviles,” he says. But this is just the start: Suarez sees this as merely the beginning in a longstanding relationship with IWG, since his ambition extends far beyond two properties. “I hope this is only the beginning as an IWG franchisee because flexible and coworking centres will increase their market share in the future,” he states. “So I’ll increase the number of my centres as soon as possible.”
As a multi-brand company (Regus, SPACES and HQ are just some of those on the roster), there are plenty of options to tailor a property to fit the local climate. Regus acts as the go-to brand for a clean modern workplace with everything you need to get things done; SPACES caters to the cool crowd with its design-driven approach; and HQ is known for its focus on productivity: a destination that allows big business and freelancers alike to hit the ground running. Whatever the environment, IWG has a solution to fit.
As franchise testimonials go, perhaps the last word should go to Spain’s first franchisee. “When I knew I could be in this business as a franchisee with the world leader, I thought this would be the best way to do my investment,” Suarez says. “Now I know I was right because I get all the support I need from IWG as my partner – not only from the Spanish team located in Madrid but also the Franchise Department in London.” For Suarez, the relationship with IWG has only just begun.