Co-working, as a term, moved away from being a verb to a noun.
Starting a Co-working space is both fascinating and capital rich. Inspiring people around you to achieve much more is the key attitude of a Co-working space operation. Over the last year or so, I noticed many Co-working spaces started sprouting up all over the country and all have the same vision – To create inspiring new workspaces. This, in fact, became my inspiration to what I do today.
To start a Co-working space, it is very important to identify key parameters and ensure you build a meaningful correlation between each of the points to ensure the Co-working space is successful. Let us look at a few of them:
Co-working spaces which become successful and help incubate best ideas focus on two aspects – Service and Community.
For any Co-working space, providing the right service to its members is the first step to creating a meaningful organization. What are the components of Service? Relationship facilitation, Networking, Events, Community & Communication, Interior Design, Promotions, Alliances & Partnerships, Mentorship Programs, Device support.
Identifying the right location becomes very important for the success of a Co-working space. If we consider India, in Tier 1 Cities, finding a parking spot is one of the major concerns and Co-working spaces struggle to provide ample parking largely due to the price of real estate. It is only natural to think out of the box and provide better ways of reaching the space instead of leaving this point un-attended.
Focus of Co-working space
Recently, ONECo.Work started a co-working space focusing on Blockchain startups. This kind of focus helps Startup’s / SME’s and other organizations who are evaluating co-working spaces identify the right ones for their teams. It also becomes easy for the Co-working space to ensure the right kind of environment is set up and their events become more meaningful to their members. It will also help members of the Co-working space to gain more mileage with other members.
It is understandable that after making a heavy investment in the real-estate and infrastructure for building the best Co-working space, it becomes tough for spaces to invest in marketing their offering. The key here is to make oneself discoverable. How to make oneself discoverable? There are many ways – Social Media marketing, listing oneself in aggregators, sponsoring events etc. To better the prospects, it is very important to identify the community you wish to serve and creating programs for the community will help strengthen your workplace.
It is very important to organize the right kind of events to garner attention for members. Constant interaction mechanisms with members provide Co-working spaces the ability to pick the right kind of events for their space. Again, find right ways to make your events discoverable also helps co-working spaces find new people coming and exploring your space. Host events which attract the right kind of audience, for instance, HeadStart, Startup’s Club have monthly events in more than 25 cities across India. Invite them to host a few on your space/location.
Alliances & Partnerships
Why people are beginning to like Co-working spaces is because of the Cost Effectiveness and ability to interact with many others rather than sitting alone in a Coffee shop or at home. No Co-working space can provide all that is required to their members but finding the right alliances who can provide that, would be the best option. It takes away the stress of trying to provide all that members need. Alliances also can help Co-working spaces to create meaningful events and collaborations.
Community Manager is a very key role in a Co-working space. It is very important that you employ the right Community Manager who can understand the aspects of Co-working, be proactive and most importantly be more empathetic towards members. If the Community Manager does not understand their members, trust me, the Co-working space is going to not sustain very long. No matter the pro’s and con’s of Co-working spaces, if the Community Manager cannot bridge members to the Co-working space, it is only a matter of time before the Co-working space loses its value.
Most Co-working space businesses, like any other new business trends enthusiasm, are coming up offering any real estate they have to people who want to find a place to work. However, if you wish to be the best, you will need to focus on what your members want and definitely not what you wish to provide.