The rise of the gig economy and our societal shift towards entrepreneurialism has proven big business for the coworking world. Just last year more than 1000 coworking spaces opened across the US, and those figures show no sign of petering out.
With more than 3.9 million Americans spending at least some time working from home, there's still a huge market opportunity for those interested in moving into the coworking space. As coworking consultants, we've helped plenty of such companies go to market and capitalize on the market.
But although coworking is a hot category, simply opening your doors isn't enough to thrive. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they have what it takes to succeed. Here's what we tell them.
Invest In a Great Location
Coworking is at its heart a real estate play. You want to be where the action is, but you don't want to be swamped with competition or paying too much for the privilege. When looking for a space to call your own:
- Research local market trends. Are there competitors? How many freelancers are there locally? What kind of work do they do?
- Understand the area. Is it accessible? Are there stores and cafes nearby? Is it safe?
- Know the cost of doing business. What are the local taxes like? Are utilities too expensive? Is high-speed internet available?
The right location is affordable, on the rise and appealing to freelancers.
Develop a Brand Strategy
Coworking is a service-based business, which means that market differentiation matters. A brand strategy will help set you apart from others. When building your brand strategy:
- Have a powerful brand promise. What experience are you offering? What do you offer that no one else does?
- Know your target audience. Who are you targeting? What do they need?
- Drive awareness of your brand. What's your brand story? How will you get it in front of people?
- Know how you'll generate more leads. What channels will you use? Who will you employ to help?
Better visibility means more leads, which means more deals, and therefore more revenue. A great brand strategy is vital.
Hire the Right Staff
Experience matters in coworking and staff are a critical component of that experience. When hiring staff:
- Find a great community manager. Empower them to oversee account management, monitor the tone of your space and ensure that your tenants are happy.
- Bring on a salesperson. Depending on the size of your space, this can be part of your community manager's job. What matters is finding leads and closing new deals.
- Perfect your onboarding. Consistency is key. Quality onboarding ensures that the experience is the same across the board.
Your staff shape the experience of your space, so hire - and train - well.
Monitor Your Analytics
Great businesses are run on analytics, not on gut feel. This principle applies to coworking as well. To know how your business is performing:
- Check your stats monthly. What trends are you noticing? Are they up or down? Do they reflect any changes in your business?
- Know your revenue-to-rent ratio. What's most profitable? Where do changes need to be made?
- Where are your leads coming from? How many web visitors are you seeing? Where are your leads coming from, and how are they converting?
- What's your overall revenue? How much are you receiving from virtual office rentals, conference room rentals, or office space rentals? What about on-site amenities?
Speak To An Expert
Run well, a coworking space can be a phenomenal business delivering multiple income streams through rentals, amenity hire, property appreciation, and even seed funding distribution. But they also present a series of unique challenges. They're fast-moving, costly and feature many moving parts! An expert set of eyes can be invaluable when it comes to validating and implementing your business plan.
Stellapop has provided consulting services to dozens of successful coworking spaces. If you'd like to share in their success, get in touch!