Virtual Office? How About Virtual Business Unit?

Frank Sinatra sang that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. Scott Montgomery, an adman from Indianapolis, thinks he can make it in New York from anywhere. Using commercial broadband services, off-the-shelf collaboration software, and some well-equipped rental space in Manhattan, the Indiana ad agency Bradley and Montgomery is open for business in New York City without actually setting up a permanent office.

“We can have clients in Indianapolis, Chicago, Columbus and Manhattan all see the same thing at the same time,” says Montgomery, a cofounder and partner in the firm. “Traditionally, agencies in our neck of the woods would only go for business in the Midwest, but now the geography of creativity is entirely different.”

Rather than maintaining a full-scale office and hiring local talent in New York City, the company rotates personnel in and out of offices at the Tech Space facility on East 11th Street—usually three or four of the agency’s 16 employees at a time—like military tours of duty.

The agency only started the program in September, so it hasn’t seen hard savings yet. But Montgomery figures that by not having to maintain their own infrastructure, they will save quite a bit. Should the business the agency’s pursuing in New York become a reality, Montgomery expects to commit to a full-time office. “But that no longer has to be the price of access,” he says.

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