It’s not everyday that you get find out so much about an industry that is effectively hidden, and yet provides a valuable service to many businesses worldwide.
By Walter Spivak
What’s a serviced office?
Imagine that you wish to start a business, and yet don’t have the capital outlay to open up a full fledged office, complete with furniture, telephones, fax machine, photocopier, renovations, staff and so on. What do you do?
The solution lies in setting up within a serviced office, where you share common facilities with other businesses that have the same type of requirements as you do. In a serviced office, all of your requirements are catered for, with a package tailored to suit your business needs. Everything that you need to make your business work is provided for you, and most importantly an image that makes your new business look and feel like it is a highly professional set up. As a result, your initial capital out lay is decidedly far less that what you would otherwise have required had you decided to set up your own office,
Established in Kuala Lumpur since June 2001, CEO SUITE is now one of the leading serviced office providers in the city. A great boon to businesses, CEO SUITE offers a service so efficient, that a business can start operating within a matter of hours once all paperwork is sorted out.
Forget rigid contracts and staff who just don’t care, because at CEO SUITE, you deal with people that have been in the serviced office industry for over 10 years. Rental options vary depending on what you need, and it is just a matter of choosing how long you wish to stay, whether it is merely matter of days, weeks and months. Everything works around the client’s requirements, from phone lines to Internet connection and office furniture.
In Kuala Lumpur, the CEO SUITE is located in Menara Maxis, KLCC, the most wanted business address in town. So immediately, any prospective clients, suppliers or business partners will have a good impression of your company.
A state-of-the-art security system is engaged at all times to protect office space. The atmosphere inside the CEO SUITE is light and airy, in immaculate condition and has a decidedly contemporary look that speaks “professionalism” at you the moment you set food inside, and upon entry a receptionist cordially greet you.
Moving further inside, there is an impressive boardroom with a breathtaking view of the city, containing high tech features like Video Conferencing and a projectors for when you have to hold a meeting with the high-flyers. Smaller conference rooms are also available upon demand.
A central kitchen area beckons from the inner-recesses of CEO SUITE, with all the trimmings that you would expect in any major office, such as water cooler, coffee machine and as well as crockery and cutlery. A well-provisioned fridge also sits in plain view, for when you thirst gets the better of you, and you just need to relax with a refreshing beverage, or have a quiet chat with a colleague. The friendly office assistant is often found here cleaning the place up and making enquiries as to your beverage needs.
The offices themselves come in many shapes and sizes. Everything from the one-man office to the ubiquitously large office for 20 professional can be found, many facing the outside of the building, providing spectacular views. The offices themselves are in top condition, and are serviced by professional cleaners twice a day.
CEO SUITE ‘s resourceful management team are housed within these serviced offices, so any enquiries that you may have, can be immediately followed up on, bringing a speedy resolution to almost any query.
Just how did all this begin? We had an opportunity to speak with Mee Kim, president of the CEO SUITE, and her remarks certainly provide insight into the world of serviced offices.
What made you decide to start CEO SUITE and where did it all start?
Well, I had run one of the leading firm in the same industry as a senior executive for many years. I was happy with the job, but I felt it was time to move on. Further more, being an Asian myself lived in many foreign countries over 15 years, I could see the big gap between what market needed and what existing players could offer.
It is so satisfying to see how our business has grown and the results from our implementation.
We started our first centre in Jakarta five years ago. Then the opportunity to expand presented itself with the opening of a second centre in Jakarta, then Kuala Lumpur and finally Singapore in March 2002. We have also developed a partnership with other serviced offices in the USA, Australia and China to serve our clients in those respective countries.
What are your future plans for CEO SUITE?
Firstly, to be even more efficient in what we do, we are looking at expanding into every major city in Asia. We want to be an Asian specialist to help those foreign professionals start their business in Asia as easy and as cost-effective as possible. That ‘s how we are positioned compared to the rest of the business centres in the world.
Most of our clients are foreigners who are new to the Asian market and we are the only serviced office that does more than just providing a workspace. We provide one stop service -instant offices, phone answering services, company establishment, bookkeeping, accounting services, company secretary, recruitment, interior designing and even project management, etc.
We want to offer our clients comforts of their home wherever they are in Asia. When they walk into our office, it’s all about personalised service.
How much creative input do you have in the design and set-up of the CEO SUITE in the region?
There are very few players in the market offering multiple locations, and they all have the same design for each of their centres. Some have had the same design for over 20 years. But the way I look at it, your office is part of your home, and you carry it with you, so it’s interior should change as the market trend. We have to maintain a consistent corporate image, so what we do is, each time we open a new centre, together with our international architect, we study the local culture, and add to our existing interiors, localising it yet being able to maintain a consistent corporate image.
We also have a Fung-Shui master who we consult on these matters. He gives us colour schemes, positions of the doors, sizes of windows, etc. We don ‘t put in all the traditional aspects like lucky cats and goldfish; he just translates things for us into modern, contemporary designs. So when people walk in, they have this sense of lightness, and their mood is lifted, so they can be more productive. Even the choice of background music is tailored. Not many people recognise why, but they just stand there and say “I don ‘t know why. Great feeling here at your centres….” I like the fact that there are no dark corners in our premises, thanks to the great lighting technique used. I think the difference outweighs the cost and our clients appreciate all the little details we take into consideration with our interiors.
What would you say that you do very differently from your competition that makes you so successful?
If we are successful, it ‘s because of our working relationship between us and our clients. We ‘re very much hands on in everything we do, and always look at a matter from our client ‘s perspective.
While others may be more interested in financial figures, we try to listen to our client ‘s needs and do our best to satisfy them. I visit all our centres as often as possible to ensure our level of service and standard of facilities meet our client’s expectation.
If there is any area for improvement, we look into them right away for immediate solution. In addition we offer very reasonable price to our clients by keeping optimum operating cost.
We try to give our clients the very best value for money and that’s how we gain the market share in various cities instantly. I work day and night to create value for everyone involved at CEO SUITE – our team, our managers, our associates and our clients!
When I see their smile, I feel happy.
CEO SUITE is located at 36th floor, Menara Maxis, Kuala Lumpur City Centre. For more information, kindly contact Carrie Law at +603 2615 0000, or log on to www.ceosuite.com for more details.
Original Publication Date: Dec/Jan 2002
Writer: Walter Spivak