Coworking spaces have flourished across the globe, as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and companies of all sizes embrace this new type of working environment. These types of workspaces are known for driving collaboration, innovation, and productivity and for having a strong sense of community.
Many are now aware of the benefits of coworking spaces, and demand for them is set to increase in the upcoming years. And while large companies are taking over large cities like New York, London, Melbourne, and Hong Kong; there is a big opportunity for new players to enter the industry, especially at a local level.
When it comes to coworking, urban areas and tier 2 cities are underserved, creating a business opportunity for local professionals. Yet, there’s more to coworking than just bringing people together to work, and for a space to be successful, various things need to be thought-out and planned.
1. Know your community (market)
If you are hoping to open a coworking space in your town or neighborhood, make sure you understand the needs and likes of the market. Coworking spaces are all about community, and to nurture and build a strong community within your space, you need to have a good understanding of the people who will be a part of your community; what their lines of business are, what their working hours look like, and how they like to work.
2. Find the right location
The adage of “location, location, location” exists for a reason. A successful coworking space is located in a strategic area, one that people can easily reach either by bike, train, car, or public transportation. Aim to be located near other commercial areas, such as restaurants and stores, in order to bring more life to your overall neighborhood community; this will add value to your space and also to your members, who will have access to other necessities without having to commute more.
3. Focus on your services
Location is key, but so are your services. Coworking spaces aim to make a professional’s work life easier, by providing and taking care of all the little things. This means going beyond providing fast WIFI; think about the overall design, from furniture to power outlets, and also think about what additional perks and amenities your members need, anything from printing services, dry cleaning, catered meals, to access to meeting rooms, professional phone answering and mail reception and handling services.
4. Design various membership plans
Based on your market research, consider offering different membership options for users. Some might just need a space a few days a month, others a few days a week, and others most days. Similarly, some people might just be looking for a meeting room a couple times a month, so consider offering your meeting rooms to members and non-members. Once you have the memberships established, find a pricing plan that is competitive in the local market and will also allow you to break even and grow.
5. Consult industry experts
Though it might still seem like a new concept, modern-day coworking has been around for about 13 years, and because it is a community-focused industry, people are willing to help one another out. If you have doubts about membership plans, the best layout and design, whether you should offer private offices or not, or which services should be complementary and which charged for, consider reaching out to other coworking founders or industry experts, as they are likely to share their knowledge with you and point you in the right direction.
In the end, you want to create a space that is tailored to your community, that inspires your members, and makes their work lives easier. Once you’re up and running, always check up on your members, ask them for feedback, and host special events for them; this will help you build and strengthen your workspace and local community.