A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Coworking (v. 3)

 

When developing coworking spaces in partnership with our clients, we come across the most amazing (and frequently refreshing) perspectives on how to market and operate coworking spaces.

To be sure, we love working with entrepreneurs – whether first timers or veterans. We ALWAYS learn something from each project we manage. Lifelong learning energizes us and keeps us in grounded in reality.

Still, this quick list features marketing strategies that caused us to internalize a “huh, that’s interesting”:

  • A new coworking space in the CBD of a major market with many competitors (traditional shared space and coworking alike) put no money into a marketing budget, believing a strong strategy was to have a college student stand in front of the building wearing a sandwich board, handing out flyers about the new space

 

  • New coworking space in another major market that relied solely on social media to drive traffic to and awareness of the space. Ownership was operating the space as a secondary business and was too busy to build a community from Meetups and outbound networking events. Expected “if we build it, they will come”

 

  • Established space that pivoted to featuring only non-members as speakers and panelists at lunch and learns and after-hours networking events

 

  • Spaces that reject all corporate users (corporate users is a growing population). Context is key but worth reconsidering

 

  • Constant use of shock and awe language (as in something “sucks” or equivalent) in marketing tools. Over time it becomes ineffective and narrows your target demographic options

We have worked with each of the above clients and have been successful at coaching a few into alternate directions. In our experience, clients that did not move from their marketing position above are no longer in operation.

2016 – A Big Year for Coworking Podcasts for us (part 4)

Here is our third and final podcast about coworking space development with Brittanie Campbell-Turner of Constructrr.com 

This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.

We discuss in this 3 part series, the most important things that I thought would be useful to the any one who is trying to start a co-working community.

In this last part of the series, Wendy and I talk about the making sure the business model is sustainable to ensure the business owner’s success.

Find the previous episodes of this Co-Working series at constructrr.com/11 and constructrr.com/12

A Funny Thing Happened on the way to Coworking (v.1)

Planting a Flag to post periodically what we encounter as interesting experiences, exchanges, topics, insights, etc. that create a little humor along the way during our journey within the Coworking sphere.

Our combined experience has taken us across Europe and North America working with start-ups and those looking to reposition properties of all types to a more collaborative model.

 

coworking words

If the walls could talk…

Posts may range from the fairly common (consulting client uses less than 70% of recommended best practices then blames vendor for poor outcome) to the truly bizarre (trophy grizzly bear in attack posture greeting visitors in reception).

What we can say is that, since the turn of the millennium, life in collaborative workspace has been a wild ride and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

This train is leaving the station so climb aboard!

How will WeWork expansion effect the Coworking landscape?

We, along with thousands, are closely observing the growth of WeWork, especially when it comes to the sheer size of each location they are adding or expanding upon. So many will either feel threatened (Regus) or will see opportunity to compete. There will also continue to be fallout from an uptick in location saturation and not all coworking spaces will survive.

And, not unlike other observers close to the industry, we do not attribute WeWork’s model to the pure coworking form as it debuted earlier this decade.

It seems a no-brainer to want to see this as the next easy-money real estate play and get in yourself.

So what’s left to say?

A bit more.

We both appreciate WeWork increasing awareness and share some cautionary notes to those considering jumping into the now-increasing pool of new entrants:

1- we’re delighted that our consultancy is becoming an “overnight success” after 15 years based on the increased market awareness of coworking and the desire to open spaces that are financially sustainable (we share the “how it works”)

2-caution that, due to low barriers of entry, it seems easy to simply open a space, charge 3-4 times the rent being paid (or an equivalent of debt service) and believe it will magically succeed (there is a lot more to it)

3-the “secret sauce” of this model, similar to all hospitality businesses, is a combination of the negotiation of strong lease terms AND the team that is hired to manage the community

4-coworking or collaborative workspaces do NOT have to take down 40,000 SF+ spaces to be successful

5-it’s important to take advantage of the NO COST TO YOU services of a Real Estate Tenant Representative in finding your space, whether to lease or buy (see #3)

Lastly, consider hiring a professional team to support your efforts, including your attorney, accountant and of, course us, as in YES!, to allow you time to sort through the potential pitfalls even before getting this off the ground.

hire.professional