The most successful startups are those who spend time researching before launching.
Those who enter the fray unprepared often find themselves lost for time, money and ultimately, business.
It is impossible to over-stress the importance of being organised and having established systems in place. Having a set plan, with clear, actionable goals will save you so much time and effort in the long run.
So, resist the urge to press the big red button and announce yourself to the world. It’s time to hit the books.
Who are your Audience?
Let’s start with the audience. This will help you determine whether there is a market for your space.
- How many coworking spaces already exist in the surrounding area? Are they full? You can get a measure of this by asking staff (most coworking people are friendly!) or doing a trial day there.
- Go into local cafès and libraries to see how many people are working there. If you’re bold enough, ask them a few questions about their work patterns and take their contact details.
- Attend local meet-ups and get a measure of interest for your space. Think especially of remote-friendly industries like the creative sector and coding.
- Set up a newsletter capture source, for example, a website landing page. Promote this on social media and in local online groups to generate interest.
Okay, so you’ve done all this and found yourself a convincing audience. Now what?
Who are your Competition?
Remember those coworking spaces you scouted out during your audience research? They’re now your sworn enemy. We want you to head there and declare these words exactly.
“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us!”
Just kidding… it’s actually really healthy to have competition in your local area as it helps to develop the general growth of coworking as the future model of work.
That being said, you should have a good idea of the perks they offer their members, their pricing model and the types of members they attract. Start by Google searching for coworking spaces in your area.
- Are some of your competitors specialised spaces? (e.g. a hackerspace)
- Does that directly conflict with your desired member base?
- What pricing model are they using? What are they missing?
- Monthly? Weekly? Day passes? Pay-as-you-go?
- What types of events are they hosting?
- How are they promoting their space? Follow them on social media and subscribe to their newsletter.
- How have they designed their space?
Okay, now the important part, consult your notes and work out how you can differentiate yourself. This part is going to vary, but we would recommend never making your USP that you’re the cheapest space in town. You want to build a community based on your personality and the quality of service you provide.
Who’s Killing it?
This step is kind of optional unless you want to battle with the best. If you just want to make a local success of your space, then you should already be good to go after you’ve researched your audience and competition.
However, if your aim is to become the number one space in your area, or grow into new areas, then you’re going to have to be at the top of your game. To achieve this you will have to scout out those super successful spaces that have several sites, national or international presence, and a powerful community.
- Pick a diverse selection of successful coworking operators. For example; Techspace, Huckletree, Convene and Spaces.
- Study their websites, study images of their spaces and study how they present themselves on social media channels. You will notice that the success of these companies lies in the subtle but important details.
- Company colours + Visual aesthetic + Tone of voice = Branding
- Streamlined user journey on website.
- They know who they are and who their audience are.
- They keep things simple.
- The last point is particularly important. These companies are successful because every step in becoming a member is easy to understand. Membership plans are simple, benefits are apparent, sign up process is linear, and the presence of customer support is always there.
- Google for PR pieces with the company founders and follow them on LinkedIn. You should be able to track different stages of their growth. They will talk about ways they built a community and the challenges they faced on their journey. This is a simple way to avoid pitfalls.
Well, that’s about it for this article. Good luck with the launching of your space.
Remember to always create with personality, innovate don’t imitate, and you will be okay.
P.S. All successful spaces use software to manage their space, giving them the time to find the special sauce recipe.
If you’d like to learn more about Coherent and the ways we can help you save time and improve your member experience, check out the website, DM us on Twitter or drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org