Episode 7

Published on:

3rd Jul 2024

Building a Flexible and Connected Business: The Story of Essential Offices

Building a Flexible and Connected Business: The Story of Essential Offices

In this episode, I'm joined by Beth DeGraffenreid, owner of Essential Offices, which offers executive office spaces, virtual office services, and other services for business owners. Beth shares the fascinating story behind starting her company in 1989, initially providing shared office spaces and administrative support services at a time when personal computers were not ubiquitous.

She shares how her business has evolved over the past three decades to meet changing needs, from offering a professional community for solopreneurs and remote workers to providing flexible office solutions for larger corporations downsizing their real estate footprint. Beth provides insights into navigating the challenges of the pandemic, maintaining company culture across multiple locations, and her personal journey as an entrepreneur, including the times she considered quitting but persevered to see what was next.

Her story is an inspiring example of resilience, adaptability, and a passion for creating the ideal work environment.


[00:52] Beth DeGraffenreid’s personal and professional journey

[02:02] Beth's background in accounting and database management

[03:22] How Beth started the business and the concept of "executive suites"

[05:57] How the company has evolved to focus on creating community

[07:18] The average lifespan of companies and the need for flexibility

[09:23] How Beth helps clients grow and transition through different stages

[11:45] Challenges of starting a business during difficult economic times

[14:54] Adapting the business during the COVID-19 pandemic

[20:55] Maintaining company culture across multiple locations

[26:46] Beth's hobbies and ways she de-stresses

[31:38] One piece of technology Beth can’t live without


● I wanted to have more control over my time, and I wanted to have more control over my work environment, you know, and a lot of people are talking about culture right now.

● The one thing that has lasted throughout all this time was that people don't want to be alone. And I think the pandemic has really stressed that, that even if you are a solopreneur, you don't want necessarily want to do what you're doing alone in, in a space by yourself.

● Companies need to be more flexible than your average real estate lease. You don't know how many people you're gonna have at you. You, you might Want to ramp up for a little while and then, and then take it back down and then ramp up. So you need to be able to be nimble in your business.

● I have a tough time quitting when things are difficult. I just want, it's, it's my gut reaction to make it better. Yeah. And then when it's better, it's fun again.

● I really want someone to be able to take their business from any stage to any other stage within our space. Yeah. Whether they're just beginning and they're ramping up and growing, or if, you know, they're doing some kind of a transition and they need to downsize for a little while that they can find space with us and find what they need and have community and have all the infrastructure all set up and ready for them.


Essential Offices: www.essentialoffices.com

Beth DeGraffenreid's contact information:

Phone: (405) 848-8246

Email: beth@essentialoffices.com


Evo: https://evo.tech/

Listen for free

Show artwork for The Oklahoma Business Show

About the Podcast

The Oklahoma Business Show
Conversations with business owners and leaders about their wins, struggles, and lessons learned along the way.
If you're anything like me, hearing other business owners and leaders talk about their experiences at a conference, a lunch, or just over a cup of coffee is always an encouraging and exciting conversation, and that's the simple goal of The Oklahoma Business Show. Listen to successful business owners as we discuss topics ranging from how and why they started their business, challenges they had to overcome that made them stronger, victories that made them hold their head a little higher, and lessons they've learned along the way.

About your host

Profile picture for Chris Moroz

Chris Moroz

Who is Chris Moroz? 🧐

I started my career in IT long before launching my own business. Finding joy in learning about computers throughout my early teens and young adult years eventually led me to pursue work at Fortune 500 companies such as AOL and Dell, where I was awarded Top 5 sales awards at both companies.

Shortly after leaving Dell, I started Golden Years Computer Services, which served residential clients in their Oklahoma City homes. Within 6 months, as word began to spread of the high level of service being provided, we added small business support to our growing list of services.

Since the start of these companies in 2009, I'm flattered that I've received several nominations for OKC Biz Magazine’s Best of Business awards (and most recently nominated as best Cyber Security provider in OKC). As part of my belief that we can all improve other's lives, we've partnered with Feed The Children, and were recently able to donate a dozen computers to Bethany Public Schools to assist student transition to remote learning during the pandemic.

When I'm not busy saving the day for a small business owner, you can find me unplugging from all things tech: hiking and camping in Oklahoma’s breathtaking scenic parks, discovering new foods in locally-owned restaurants with his friends, and investing quality time with my wife, Kari, and two daughters, Gracie and Trinity.