Statistics show that 40% of the workforce will be freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs by 2020. This will directly influence the number of coworking spaces needed around the world in order to satisfy every market’s needs.
There’s also a high chance for people that have an empty or underutilized space to think about creating their own coworking space. Who wouldn’t want to create a business that is proven to work in a world that’s demanding it? However, there are many factors behind creating a coworking space. These are some tips to consider before you open your own.
1. Never Assume People are Coming
Although many people are well aware of the benefits of a coworking space, you should never assume that once you build it, all of the availability will be sold. Consider hosting some events for the community to know the location, as well as for you to analyze what type of professionals are interested in the space. This will give you the opportunity to get a sense of who’s out there and what their needs are.
Take advantage of those meetings to collect some information about general demographics, the number of people that work from home, small businesses in the area, and how many freelancers are available. However, don’t make the mistake of just advertising locally. Many workers are forced to travel all around the world and need coworking spaces in destination cities to have a place to work and network.
Hint: Start pre-booking the space one to two months in advance so you launch your coworking space with some members committed.
2. Evaluate What You’re Offering
It’s true that many coworking spaces share some common characteristics like unlimited coffee, high-speed internet connectivity, and high quality printers, copiers and other technology. Still, there are many factors that will affect the fee for using your space.
For instance, your location’s main differentiator could be the many types of offices available (e.g., hot desks, dedicated desks, private offices, virtual offices). On the other hand, you could have a robust calendar of events and educational programming, or maybe your space is all about offering consultancy to take advantage of the symbiotic relationship between the community and the knowledge offered.
3. Search for a Convenient Location
If you still don’t have a place to start your coworking space, look for a location that’s easy for people to find and has access to public transportation. Also, consider a location where people can find restaurants nearby. In order to save some money, look for older buildings that could be underutilized where you can negotiate an affordable lease.
4. Ask for Help
Once you have a place, it’s time to look for the right services and furniture. Start with services first, such as high-speed internet, copiers, and telephones, and then, start thinking about the cute lamp you saw in the shop or the cool sofa that would highlight the space. You can also find really good furniture and decorations in the second-hand market. One last thing — always buy furniture, don’t rent it. It will elevate your fixed costs.
5. Create Memories
The key ingredient of a coworking space is that it connects people from different backgrounds, breaking down some barriers. Take advantage of this to build a truly memorable community. Organize happy hours, barbecues, game nights, or any event that would make your members happy. At the end of the day, this is what people will remember and tell others about.
About the Author
Camila Restrepo is a passionate story builder and journalist. As OfficeList´s Communications Manager, she’s building an online community for entrepreneurs.