Building a business, how to work with cities and local resources.

Shelley Bade Peoria EntrepreneurShelley Bade has lived in Arizona since 1984, and is originally from the Pacific Northwest. She has been a resident of Peoria since 1993 and has always had a fascination for the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the growth of small businesses.

She got involved with the City of Peoria in the early 2000’s by joining two of the many boards and commissions that residents can serve on. Through her experience on the Industrial Development Authority and the Economic Development Advisory Boards, she was able to see first-hand how the City helps small and larger businesses grow.

Shelley’s profession has been in commercial real estate. In 2009, when the commercial market began to decline and people were losing their jobs and their livelihoods, she saw an opportunity to capitalize on businesses needing to be able to do more with less.  Using her talents in real estate, she and her friend Jill created one of the few shared office concepts in the West Valley.

They called their company MyOffice Business Suites. Their goal was to meet the needs of professionals working out of their homes, yet wanting a professional presence while watching their overhead.  The MyOffice Business Suite team created office environments with short term contracts in which small businesses could thrive. The company grew and evolved, weathering all of the challenges that come with building a business from the ground up.  Shelley and her team continued to develop their model by including a component of giving back to the community and continuing to be engaged with City efforts on many levels.

Two years ago, they were approached by Office Evolution out of Colorado, which is the largest shared workspace franchise company in the United States. Office Evolution had well-developed systems and a national marketing plan that would allow for Shelley and her team to continue to grow through a franchising model. The end of 2018, MyOffice Business Suites became Office Evolution.

While the entrepreneurial journey is often a winding one, Shelley is proud to offer people with that ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ some of the critical resources they need to thrive. According to Shelley, “We provide shared office spaces for small and growing businesses, open collaborative areas, conference rooms, lunch areas and a full-time Business Center Manager that oversees all aspects of their Member’s needs and desires. When these businesses come and use our spaces, they not only need privacy at times, they also want to be part of something bigger. Our model gives them the privacy they need, and also the opportunity to surround themselves with other like-minded professionals.”

Working with the City. 

Shelley’s best piece of advice is to start your relationship with the City by getting involved.

“Anybody coming into the City needs to understand the City’s climate, and its leadership. That’s what a community board does for you. It helps you understand their processes while you get to help shape the vision for your community.” She says,” It has been wonderful! I wish more citizens would see the benefit.  Over the years, it also has opened doors and given me opportunities to do business within other communities and their leaders.”

Even if you don’t get involved as a board member, Shelley encourages new business owners to reach out to the City’s Economic Development Department and build a relationship with them early on. “Economic Development is where business owners should start. Even if you are a home-based business.” She continues, “As you look to expand, they can provide insight on different growth areas within the City.   They not only deal with big businesses; they also deal with business retention within the City, and provide many resources that can help you start and grow your business”.

Connect with resources to build your business. 

Shelley emphasizes the need for business owners to go out and explore all of the resources that are available to them. “There are so many tools, and they’re free! Two of them that I highly recommend are Peoria Forward and the Small Business Development Centers (SBDC).”

She also encourages entrepreneurs to build out their own team of resources.  One of the best is to find a good banker (preferably in Peoria) and build a personal relationship to help you navigate financial resources and capital needs, both short term and long term.

Building Peoria into a place. 

Having been a leader in Peoria, we asked Shelley how she would like to see Peoria evolve. Shelley’s response is that she wants to, ” help create a regional sense of place and a sense of community”.  The issue is that everybody continues to try and create they own ‘community’ in the west valley. Moving forward, how she would like to see Peoria evolve?  She stressed the need for the City to put forth more grass roots efforts and create more focus on the growth of Peoria Forward, an amazing collaborative initiative. Interested in learning more from Shelley Bade? Follow her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shelley-bade-61271510/ Or connect with her at an upcoming 1 Million Cups West Valley. Office Evolution is the space sponsor this fall with events being held every Wednesday at Office Evolution Peoria. Shelley often attends and contributes her experience and insight back to the community.

Background

Peoria Forward is a strategic partnership between the City of Peoria and ASU Entrepreneurship + Innovation Drawing on the combined strengths and expertise of the City of Peoria and Arizona State University Entrepreneurship + Innovation, this strategic partnership places tools, training and resources in the hands of our leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to build a self-sustaining entrepreneurial ecosystem in the west valley. Peoria Forward is an opportunity for the citizens of Peoria to shape a high-impact (vision) the future of our City through entrepreneurship/ community development.

This article is part of a series of blogs amplifying the wisdom and words of west valley innovators and entrepreneurial leaders building the ecosystem.

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