Shared office provider Bad Company first in NZ to offer franchise model

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Bad Company first opened its doors during the summer of 2017 in what is now a 300sqm light-filled space in the heart of Mount Maunganui.

Even in 2017, before the whisper of a pandemic had been uttered Kiwis were turning towards greener pastures and greater work/life balance. Co-working spaces were already a trend in urban centres, but with many professionals relocating to rural areas there was a dearth of shared office offerings.

Enter Bad Company founder Tori Taylor. Taylor began her mission to create a community focused workspace that offered co-working and collaboration with other like-minded individuals, taking the isolation and disconnection out of the usual start-up, sole contractor and small business work environments.

Moving to Mt Maunganui from Auckland in 2016, Taylor immediately noticed a gap in the market. For a community-minded town there were few options available to the independent businesspeople in the area. Part of Taylor’s move out of New Zealand’s largest city was to prioritise her health and well-being, professionally and personally.

Taylor champions the work/life balance and believes it is this ethos that sets Bad Company apart, alongside the anti-urban approach. Bad Company’s model is targeted at the burgeoning rural locations, with no current plans to enter any of Aotearoa’s main cities.

Taylor says, “We’re on a mission to create community focused workspaces that offer co-working and collaboration with other like-minded characters, enhancing each other’s offering and providing supportive creators. Afternoon banter and tunes are just an added bonus. We want people to feel welcome and included. Coming straight from the beach? Need to bring your pup or feel like channelling your inner DJ? It all happens at Bad Company. The vibe is very much ‘come as you are’, it’s relaxed.”

Offering a variety of workstations to suit individual needs such as monitors for dual screens, knee chairs for those focused on core and spine health, Bad Company also has private call and meeting rooms available for more confidential requirements and client meetings.

Bad Company Wānaka is now home to 16 desk spots, housing permanent and part-time businesses and is renowned as a small but mighty asset to the local business community. The bustling community welcomed the 92m2 addition with open arms.

Now into its sixth year, the next evolution of the ‘destination workplace’ company, introduces what is believed to be a first for New Zealand. A franchise model for the co-working space business.

“Two minds bounce ideas, four create momentum and action, eight achieve ongoing change”, notes Taylor when talking about what inspired the new offer.

The opening of Bad Company Hawke’s Bay provides a welcome option, interim or permanent, for business owners in the hard-hit region, in an art deco building that was fortunate enough to not be impacted by the devastating floods that took place earlier this year.

There was a setback in terms of the opening date: owner Belinda Williams held off the refit for a week to ensure she could volunteer in the community during that time.

A first-floor office space in the Hastings CBD, the high-stud character space is filled with natural light from stunning large windows. Two boardrooms and separated ‘private’ office areas are also available as well as kitchen and amenities in line with Bad Company’s standard offering across all its locations. The site is close to cafés and retail and adjacent to The Tribune development.

Fellow co-working space business owner Matt Knight, founder of Shared Space which opened its doors in 2010, believes there is nothing better than sharing and thinks the franchise model may be the way forward for growth in the category.

“It’s fantastic to see Bad Company achieve a successful franchise sale for their new location in Hawkes Bay. This is the first successful coworking franchise sale I’ve seen within NZ. I think this is a wonderful model for people wanting to set up a new space and it works well with the unique offering Bad Company coworking spaces provide”.

They cater to a hugely varied pool of professionals including designers, developers, IP lawyers, e-commerce, sustainability experts, accountants, digital media mavens, marketing specialists, copywriters, holistic health specialists, town planners and VR creators.

In a country built on SMEs, a rurally focused co-working company offering a franchise-model could be just the answer to those looking to put down rural roots, yet also take their business to the next level thanks to a small company focused on collaboration and community.

Related: Flexible future for Shared Workspaces

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