Unconventional Convenience: local woman creates social business space for 'cool people'
From the pages of In Business magazine.
Tiffanie Mark, 34, is energetic, innovative, and unassuming, and the new community office space concept she’s created on Odana Road is a reflection of her easygoing personality. MATRIX Collaborative Business Solutions LLC has been evolving since Mark purchased the building in 2013. It currently includes about 25 to 30 different spaces that can be rented by the hour for between $5 and $30. A co-working area on the building’s top level is available for free and includes Wi-Fi and a kitchenette for all to use.
“MATRIX is about collaboration and incubation,” Mark explained. “It’s for people who aren’t looking to sell their business plan to Shark Tank but just want to do what they love, be able to support their families, and be happy. It’s for private practices — yoga, massage, musicians — that need a place to teach, or businesspeople who are tired of the coffee shop scene.” The business has hosted events and provides a natural environment for networking and partnership opportunities.
“Micro payments add up. Think iTunes.” — Tiffanie Mark
MATRIX can also help businesses test the waters before they add a second location, Mark explained. “People on the east side can start to build a client base over here before they commit to a building on the west side.” One Monroe-based financial company rents MATRIX space to meet with Madison clients once a month. A Chilton-based massage therapist rents a room on weekends. A local cleaning company conducts job interviews in the building. “You’re only using it and paying for it as you need it,” Mark explained, “so there’s no waste.”
The sunny, three-story building includes several office suites that can be rented on a monthly basis. Janis Henslee, owner and digital marketing consultant at imarketingadvertising.com, just settled into her suite, which she furnished herself. Henslee used to work from home and would meet clients in restaurants and coffee shops. “This offers a sense of community,” she said.
Once a month, the MATRIX community helps with building maintenance. “It’s a fun day,” Mark said. “That’s how we keep our overhead down and rental rates lower.”
Mark has poured her heart into MATRIX, bootstrapping the project with “every last penny” of her personal funds and taking on additional debt to purchase and renovate the long-vacant building.
Failure is simply not an option.
“Micro payments add up,” she stated. “Think iTunes. Everyone’s paying 99 cents. A lot of people can use this space for a minimal amount. If a room costs $300 a month but you can rent it for $20 an hour, you only need to rent it for 15 hours to make the same amount, and you can do that in two days, so there’s a huge potential for profit.”
But Mark isn’t necessarily all about profit, either. “I don’t know that profits are the goal. They are a happy side effect of creating a space and opportunity for others.”
Eventually, she’d like to see MATRIX profits reinvested. “I’d like to see it become more of a social business, something that would support itself, not me.”
Her challenge is keeping up with its growing popularity, and figuring out the rental-rate puzzle. “As soon as two cool people find out they like the same thing, and other cool people find out that this is where the cool people are, it’s so fun to see where this goes. If I can keep up with it, it could turn a profit by summer.”
MATRIX Collaborative Business Solutions
6302 Odana Road, Madison, WI 53719
608.819.5319 | matrixcbsolutions.com
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