Turn empty office space into a selling proposition for your firm

In this slow and dreary commercial real estate market, there might be a silver lining for PR firms.

In this slow and dreary commercial real estate market, there might be a silver lining for PR firms.

If your firm has downsized, and you're fortunate to own your own office building, you might think about turning that space you may have available into a golden opportunity.

Empty commercial space can enable you to expand dramatically the services your firm offers.

Even in this market, if you rent it reasonably enough, you can add compatible business partnerships, thereby expanding the resources making your firm much more attractive and productive. Just don't focus too much on the rent you'll receive. Focus instead on the services a tenant brings.

Our own firm was able to turn the top floor of our building comprising more than 5,000 square feet into a power floor of interactive, synergistic business partnerships that have converted the floor into a whole new PR workplace. And as a result, business is booming.

Rather than rent space to just anyone, be selective and make a Godfather-type offer they can't refuse, provided they would bring complementary services that you in turn can offer to clients. This strategy has resulted in our firm having just leased space next to our offices to one of the top advertising agencies in our region, with whom we are now partnering on a variety of projects. What we've lost in reduced rent, we've made up substantially in new business.

Having a partner firm right next door that does outstanding graphic design, effective advertising campaigns and excellent Web site development can do wonders for your business, too.

It's like adding extra staff and resources that make you truly a full-service, one-stop firm. On the same floor, we rented another suite in our building to a firm that produces and broadcasts videos on the Internet that showcase small businesses in our region and connects them to the major social networking sites. And now we're sharing business with that firm too, including using their cameras for our media training sessions for clients.

So this becomes a winning strategy for landlord and tenants alike as “all under one roof” is a compelling sales proposition to prospective clients.

Tom Madden is CEO of TransMedia Group.

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