Days are gone when employees used to sit in dull and drab cubicle spaces and respond to emails. Businesses have started realizing that inspiring surroundings can have a direct effect on their employees’ creativity.
Office spaces don’t necessarily need to be in iconic buildings to look innovative; a tranquil setting or amazing design office mural can do wonders. If you are looking for furnished office space with a creative touch, you may count on Grace Kusta Nasralla.
Grace is the Owner and Director of Operations at HUDDLESPACE, one of Ontario, Canada’s leading office space providers. Her team understands how creating the right office environment can positively impact the wellbeing and general day to day lives of small business owners.
We at Insights Success caught up with Grace to learn more about her journey and how she is creating happy spaces that her clients love.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at HUDDLESPACE. What challenges you had to overcome to reach where you are today?
I grew up in a home that was managed by entrepreneurs. My parents owned and operated a Sewing Supplies store in Beirut, Lebanon, and as a teenager I was hired by my Dad, every summer, to help run daily tasks in the store. So, I grew familiar with entrepreneurship at an early age. After I graduated from University, I worked in the corporate world for many years. In 2005 I started taking on web design projects, and I built a small client base. I registered a business, and in an effort to grow my client base, I built a virtual network for small business owners. In 2013, the database grew to over 700 small businesses, so I started running events and meeting clients and leads face to face.
That definitely helped me grow my business. I took on different projects among the small business community and I also taught business at a private College for 11 years. In 2017 I was ready to bring more to the small business community in the Greater Toronto Area.
My husband and I started HUDDLESPACE, a workplace facility for small business owners, startups, and entrepreneurs. We turned a warehouse into HUDDLESPACE where we rent out furnished offices to small businesses that are seeking growth. Our clients range from lawyers, to insurance brokers, to construction management consultants, to IT and Telecom professionals. We also have businesses that cater to the trucking industry, Accounting and Finances, and other industries as well. The main challenge that we face as we grow is probably the same challenge that every small business is facing these days, and that is having to restructure our business to meet customer needs in a Pandemic era. We have to always keep the client in mind as we make adjustments to meet COVID19 regulations as it develops. If you ask me about the Pre COVID-19 challenges, when I started the business, I would say eliminating distractions and staying focused on my short-term and long-term goals. As we operate the business, we face daily challenges, but as long as we stay focused on the vision, we always see growth.
Tell us something more about HUDDLESPACE, its mission and vision.
At this point, I am enjoying HUDDLESPACE as it became a busy hub for small businesses, just the way I envisioned it to be! Currently, we provide them with office space and business address services. However, I feel it is time for us to be a little more creative in how we cater to businesses that come into HUDDLESPACE each day. And that’s what I am focusing on this year.
Tell us how you have made an impact in the marketing sector through your expertise in the market.
Three years ago, I embarked on a new project that I called BizReflections. I turned my blog to a resourceful website for small business owners. The blog website consists of blog posts that are contributed by small business owners with successful businesses, blog posts that I write sharing my experience with the small business industry, business podcasts that creatively showcase the knowledge and experience of actual entrepreneurs, and videos that tackle different business topics. I invite small businesses to check us out at www.bizreflections.ca. Make sure to contact me if you would like to become a contributor at bizreflections.ca.
Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?
At HUDDLESPACE, we leveraged technology in two major aspects. We use smart locks, and we have the place monitored 24/7. And with both, we use excellent technologies that were especially made for commercial use.
In terms of marketing, we use technology to build our mailing list, and to send out newsletters. We use technologies to build and update our websites. We use technologies to track website traffic and others to measure how we’re doing.
If given a chance, what change would you like to bring in the marketing sector?
In marketing, we all sense too much noise happening these days. If I was given a choice and the means, I would work hard to filter that noise out and soften it.
What, according to you, could be the next big change in the digital marketing sector? How is your company preparing to be a part of that change?
I guess Facebook is leading the way in what the future is storing for us in terms of marketing technologies. A mix of existing technologies that will make what they call the Metaverse. I think we will see more and more technology companies combining efforts to come up with what’s going to lead the future of technologies.
It’s too early to say how we will be using future technologies, but I am always willing to explore new methods, tools and apps to help me grow my business.
Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for HUDDLESPACE?
I would love to see more locations for HUDDLESPACE. We started this one location near Pearson Airport, but I would like to see us spread out across the Greater Toronto Area.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the marketing sector?
I do encourage them to read about the industry before they step into it. Research and find what area of marketing is a fit for them. I would encourage them to pick and choose what they want to specialize in based on where their passion lies, and then they got to work hard to become leaders in it.