Here are a few tips on getting started with a Coworking Space Business…
What is a coworking space business and what does it take to open a coworking space? Today, there is a rising trend in demand for coworking space and to satisfy this demand, there are many coworking space startups catering to the rise of coworking spaces requirements.
The coworking space business essentially involves offering a fully functional working space for different users from varied backgrounds to work in the same space. It can be a shared building or an office where startups, freelancers and other businesses can work in their own space independently. They can also collaborate on a project and socialize with one another.
There are added benefits of coworking spaces, such as opportunities for networking as well. So, let’s see how to start a coworking space business and how to sell coworking spaces.
The three major aspects involved in setting up a coworking space business is to find the right location, make a budget for your expenses and finally attract clients or visitors who will work in your coworking space. Of course, apart from these three, there are a lot of other things you will have to consider.
Steps for Starting a Coworking Space Business
Selecting the Type of Coworking Space
While considering your coworking space business model, you can opt for a niche sector or a general one.
- Check out the coworking industry demand in your area. Analyze the competition and offer space to a specific sector.
- You could decide to have a premium coworking space for top companies or a reasonably priced solution for freelancers.
Selecting a Location
- Even if you have a lot of money to invest, begin small. Start with a small space and take baby steps. You can always expand later.
- While selecting a location, give priority to convenience of approach, safety of the office, access to utilities etc. It is essential to look for a location that has good access to public transportation, so that members can access the place quickly.
- Areas where low income groups live, could be a better option as well, as these locations have good access to public transportation and also have a lower rental price.
Tip: City centers could prove to be more expensive. Why not consider some location outside the downtown core and yet within a walking distance.
- You can organize pop up coworking events from time to time. This can just be in the form of an informal gathering and it could lead to more regular pop up coworking events in order to create more awareness in the community about such spaces.
You can lease a space, so that you don’t have to face the hassles of property ownership. Subleasing is another option. If you have enough money, just buy the building or else just open a franchise.
- The space you rent or buy should be enough for at least 25 to 30 people. While working in a coworking space, there has to be enough room for desks, some private offices, some lounging area and other amenities that you are planning on.
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Business Plan for Shared Office Space Startup
How to start a coworking space business? Any business needs a plan and so does this one need a co working business plan!
- Write down all your ideas about your coworking space.
- Come up with a budget and make an estimate of the costs involved.
- Consider different options for membership, such as, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. You can also offer some discounts when your membership base is still very small.
Furnishing and Amenities in a Coworking Space
Once you have decided on an office, you have to furnish it to suit a coworking business office to create one of the most successful coworking spaces.
Coworking spaces should enable networking among people, where they can collaborate and learn and even access mentoring opportunities, though all this should be in an organic way and not a forced manner.
- You will need to provide basic amenities like electricity, a high speed internet, water connections etc.
- Other basic items are tables and chairs; computers and carpets.
- Apart from this, you can offer meeting rooms on a 24/7 basis, a centralized cafe, online networks for entrepreneurs, host an educational event from time to time.
- Other luxuries you could offer are phone lines, hotspot signal boosters, receptionists and other such services for the members. Do it in such a way that you combine functionality with such amenities.
- Work with an architect or a construction company to create the perfect workspace office and to increase your coworking occupancy.
- If you are planning on including a cafeteria that will serve snacks and coffee, keep the pantry stocked and see that the coffee remains flowing.
Remember coworking spaces are more than just desks where your clients can work. Know about the challenges of coworking spaces and how to overcome them as there are some cases of coworking failures as well!
It should be comfortable and at the same time offer privacy to all the independent entrepreneurs. In short, the space should be amenable to both private work and for collaborative work, according to the preference of your clients.
Know your market inside out prior to launching your coworking space business. There are a variety of business people who would like to work in such spaces. People who generally use coworking spaces are:
- Freelancers and independent contractors
- Professionals working on a side project
- Remote employees
Tip: Join social media groups to start talking with others. Use Facebook groups etc. to ask questions and make surveys to check out whether the business has potential in your area.
How to sell coworking spaces? It’s all about your networking skills!
- Start chatting up other coworking space operators and get information on this industry.
- Join an industry association and attend conferences to get in touch with the latest trends.
- Pick a team consisting of a technology expert, a manager, marketing specialist, a real estate partner and an investor.
Check out your finances and decide which financial route you will take for your coworking space business.
- Are you going to fund it on your own or will you seek financial help?
- Decide on the kind of coworking space you are going to offer and then calculate the membership pricing, taking into consideration the amenities, the location, your marketing expenses and so on.
Try to get investment funds from real estate investors, government organizations, asset managers or a wealthy acquaintance.
- How much will it cost to set up a coworking space business? Well, that depends on the expected size of your membership base, the location and costs for renting space in your town and what you’re planning to provide for members. The average size of coworking space is around 7000 square feet.
- Typical items that you will have to pay for are the Internet, electricity, rent/mortgage, office supplies, cleaning/garbage services, software or website fees, marketing expenses and pantry stocks.
Coworking Space Marketing Plan
You can use these marketing strategies to get budding entrepreneurs to use your coworking space.
- Firstly, spread the word through your family and friends and among entrepreneurs in your own city.
- Send out flyers and put up ads in airports and hotels where travelling business people and freelancers could spot them.
- Approach startup founders and digital nomads who need a small working space while travelling.
- Run marketing campaigns and remember to be actively participating in your local community.
- List your coworking space business with prominent brokers to get more exposure.
- Put an outdoor signage in order to draw people in.
- Have a monthly event and engage with current clients as well as prospective ones on social media channels.
- Set up your website to grow your clientele. If you’re new to this thing, the best thing would be to start with a WordPress blogging platform. Include all details in your homepage and about page. Put up some pictures in the gallery, give pricing, membership and contact information as well and put up some blog posts.
- Use social media and your website/blog to attract more clients.
Pricing will depend on your monthly costs for running the place and the amount that you have invested in the space.
So, are coworking spaces worth it? In the United States alone, there are more than a thousand coworking spaces being opened every year. Why not invest in such coworking trends, as it seems to have become a global industry that can be run by big chains as well as independently run locations.
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With real estate prices escalating at a fast pace, many companies want a more efficient location and cost-effective offices, so the future of coworking spaces or shared office spaces has never been brighter.
Whatever you decide, be sure to be excited about your new business and put your best foot forward. The coworking space business is showing great signs of a massive growth, so this is your chance for setting yourself up for some great success.
All you basically need is comfortable space, chairs, desks, power and Internet and you’re all set to go!