At the core of its business, Common Ground is all about redefining workspaces with its modern and stylish co-working offices currently in four Klang Valley locations (a flagship branch in Menara Worldwide, Bukit Bintang; Damansara Heights, Mont Kiara and Taman Tun Dr Ismail) and a few more opening up soon.
But it is more than just offering a physical workspace. Says co-founder Juhn Teo, “Common Ground’s primary focus is to create a strong community where members can benefit from each other’s successes and failures, either personal or business wise. We wanted to create a space for people to come together, have meetings, conversations, collaborations, network, and share ideas and knowledge.”
Members gain through several of the company’s initiatives like its CG App that connects you with other members in real time to get feedback on a certain problem or arrange after-work meet-ups; business masterclasses where business leaders from different industries are invited to share their knowledge at members-only events; workshops where you can learn new skills like coding; tie-ups with partners for exclusive values and more.
Establishing Common Ground at a time where there is a growing need of people wanting more out of their usual workspace and the increasing need to connect and socialise while maintaining a professional environment for their business has been one of its success factors, says Teo.
However, when they started there was still some convincing to be done by Teo and his three other co-founders – entrepreneurs Erman Akinci, Roen Cian Nagapan and Rabin Nijhar. “We had to educate the market and convince them that the value propositions of a co-working space are real, from financial savings on their real estate needs to being part of a wider community that can really enhance their business and daily enjoyment at work,” says Teo.
There is also getting those involved in the business to see the potential, from investors to partners to landlords and your first team members.
Perseverance, resilience and hustle – those are the important skills you must have as an entrepreneur.
On the matter of manpower, Teo says it is never easy for a start-up. “You really want to bring the right people on board and you don’t want to take the risk of losing people as it is such a demanding and challenging time. We want our employees to feel empowered and to take charge. They need to feel comfortable solving issues as they arise along the way yet at the same time have fun,” he explains.
As for funding, Teo says they have been fortunate to raise funding from a wide variety of sources, including founding investor Catcha. “As the brand and notoriety have grown, we are now raising funds from new investors that have seen or proof of concept and appreciate our track record,” he adds. Investment will be used for its expansion plans over the next two years into other Southeast Asian cities like the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.
Feeding off each other’s experiences in tech, real estate, investments and operating fast-growing companies has also been a success formula for the co-founders. In fact, it is this that drives Common Ground in wanting to create something dynamic that Teo believes is key for a start-up company’s success or failure – much like the reason why they started the business in the first place, to represent what co-working is all about.
“Find a partner who share the same ideas as you, and has the acumen or character to help make it happen. Then make sure you yourself have the right qualities to make the journey as it will be a lot more difficult than working for someone else,” he says. “Perseverance, resilience and hustle – those are the important skills you must have as an entrepreneur.”
4 WAYS A START-UP COMPANY CAN HELP JUMP-START YOUR CAREER Juhn Teo tells us how working for a company like Common Ground can help you hit the ground running.
#1 You will learn all kinds of new skills in a fast-paced and dynamic culture.
#2 There will be a diversity of responsibilities.
#3 You are always thinking on your feet, problem solving.
#4 Faster opportunities to move up the company ladder and progress.