Key Traits of Successful Co-working Spaces
To build a sustainable business as a service provider, certain success factors must be considered. Successful co-working spaces share the following attributes in common:
- Membership is Scalable – A good shared working space considers everything that a new start-up business needs. This includes their current and any future needs they have as the business grows. The headcount of a new business can change drastically. Temporary manpower is hired per project on a part-time basis. Therefore, businesses need the flexibility to scale as and when they need. Successful co-working spaces providers know this and they provide their members with the flexibility to upgrade the number of seats based on their need. They even allow their members to seamlessly upgrade between membership types. For example, members may switch from hot-desk to fixed desk options when the need arises.
- Prime Location – In business, location is among the most crucial factors that determine how well your business does. A shared spaces provider needs to be conveniently located and easily accessible. Talented hires come from all around the country and being conveniently located can be a major consideration. Ideally also, members want to be located near their suppliers of goods and services, as well as near their clients. Regus and WeWork are excellent examples in this case, as seen from their spread and ratio of spaces in the core central region (CCR), rest of the central region (RCR) and outside the central region (OCR).
- Clear Communication – Members want to understand the value proposition. Successful co-working spaces are the ones who can justify their prices. It is important that expectations are clear from the beginning. Services of value include targeted upskilling programs, prestigious office addresses, all-access locations, and fellow start-up network support. The kind of services members may be willing to pay extra for. The provider needs to be upfront about the services and packages offered, allowing members to choose the best fit for their needs. Service provider OneSpace has a low-cost, no-frills shared space that is location within the RCR. JustCo, by comparison, offers a high cost all-access package with 16 outlets offered across the CCR, RCR, and OCR.
- Community Engagement and Support – A warm community makes a big difference. It’s one of the main factors that separate working from home and working within a shared space. Sometimes, start-ups need that community support and the opportunities that come with it. A successful co-working space knows the value of building an engaging community and an environment that creates an opportunity for members to get to know each other. Partnerships, business function outsourcing, client referrals and collaborations are some of the many things members look forward to. Having a curated niche community makes a difference, through specialized programs and service support. Core Collective, for example, offers a niche co-working space for members involved in the fitness and wellness industry. Mettle Work is another example of a provider offering a co-working space for entrepreneurs who primarily focus on product making and assembly.
- There Is Demand – There must be a demand for co-working spaces where you are. Otherwise, it’s going to be difficult for your business to thrive, even when you do everything right. Before you set up your business as a shared spaces provider, do your research with prospective members to gauge the need for such a space. Meet with the small business owners in the area. Organise meetings with the local freelancers. Ask insightful questions that are aimed at trying to figure out what they want from a co-working space. The answers you get from your research will help you develop the right line of services that people will be eager to sign up for.
- Building a Network of Partners and External Resource Providers – Co-working space providers should be focused on driving internal business referrals, that is true. However, there must be a list of curated resource providers available to fill the capability gaps in the community. This list of providers can then step in and provide the necessary services to the community.
This article was first published on 3E Accounting. Information is correct at the time of publication.