John Holton of Symphony Consulting on Business Incubators

Following up on my “Silicon Valley Incubators” post in the “First Office” series I wanted to get a tenant’s perspective on the the advantages and drawbacks of locating in a business incubator.

John Holton of Symphony Consulting on Business Incubators

Symphony Consulting is a manufacturing outsourcing, procurement, and supply chain consulting firm that helps original equipment manufacturers and their supply chain partners in three key areas: revenue, assets, profitability. I talked with John Holton, co founder of Symphony Consulting, about his experience of finding his first office after looking at a number of Silicon Valley business incubators. Below are the questions and answers from our short discussion.

Q: What were your three biggest concerns in finding the right office?
A: Our three biggest concerns were location, IT infrastructure, and professional appearance. We wanted something that was easily accessible by major highways and close to our clients (technology companies). IT infrastructure is expensive, so the incubator system was an attractive proposition. We also wanted a place that looked professional. Plug and Play has a professional appearance from the outside and great facilities inside.

Q: What were three things that surprised you after choosing your office space?
A: There are about a hundred companies in this incubator so I appreciate the amount of energy from other entrepreneurs in the building. However, I must admit, the noise from the other people can sometimes be distracting. I knew I would be more productive in a regular office setting but I was surprised by how much more I can focus on tasks important to my business.

Q: What specific benefits does your office leaser offer as a part of their service?
A: Plug and Play Tech Center has really nice conference rooms, cafeteria with good food, and 24 hour coffee. The administrative assistants and staff are helpful. The cubicles come furnished with desks and chairs. Finally, there is plenty of parking.

Q: How do you measure or assess the quality of the facilities you looked at?
A: Basically, we just judged the place by the location, the appearance of the building and its interior, and the amenities it offered.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to comment on or make suggestions to others looking for their first office?
A: I think it was a good investment. It makes the business seem more professional and credible. I also think it makes me more disciplined and productive.

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