How to Know if you Need to Expand your Coworking Space

Expanding a coworking space takes research, determination, and timing. Though the idea may be exciting, it also comes with plenty of questions, doubts, and concerns. Ask yourself and your team if opening a second coworking space is the way to expand or what if there are still better options. In this article, it discusses important factors to consider before making a decision in expanding a coworking space.

What are the Different Options for Expansion

Expanding within your location

Expanding within your location can be easier since you don’t have to go through the process of looking for a new location, negotiating, and starting the whole from scratch. The other thing that you can consider is to expand your team. But, in most cases, this won’t lead to many more operational challenges. 

For members who are looking for a bigger space, they won’t have to look for another location. Instead, you’ll be able to provide them with a bigger space in the same location. However, one of the disadvantages is that you won’t be able to tap into the demand for a new location. It is sure that in different locations, there will be a new group of people who are possible prospects for membership.

Relocating to a New Building / Location

This is another option if the current building where your business is doesn’t meet your needs. It could also be that you have experienced unfavorable lease terms, a bad relationship with the land owner, or insufficient demand in the area. Whatever the reason may be, if your building doesn’t suit your needs, then it’s time to move somewhere else.

Moving to a new location entails a process since you’ll not only be moving your members but also your property and assets. You might lose some of them in the process of transferring to a new location. On the good side, relocating to a new location includes a chance to start again with any design or office layout. It also opens for opportunities to improve your coworking product that would meet the needs of your coworking community and your business. 

Expanding with a Second Coworking Space

Opening a second coworking space is beneficial for your members and to your business as well. The number one reason is that you can tap into the demand of a neighborhood, city, or region. The more the demand is, the more members there will be. And the more members leads to more revenue. Who wouldn’t want that to happen right? Another reason is if you have other business functions that may require a different type of space, then that could be your motivating factor to expand to an additional location.

What are the Important Factors to Consider for Expansion

Now that you have decided to expand your coworking space, it is important to analyze key data to check if you are ready to grow. You may have good intentions to scale your business, but it matters also to analyze the physical, operational, financial, and other aspects of the business. Here are the data that have to analyze before making a final decision to expand your business:

Analyze your Business Performance

The first step in the analysis is to examine how your business is currently performing in terms of marketing, finance, and real estate.

Marketing and Sales

You don’t need to see a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries from new prospects and how many of these inquiries are converted to members. But instead, you should look for steady growth. There is no specific number for a good rating because this depends on your business, the effort you put into marketing, and your sales process. Spend some time to understand the quality of inquiries you received from phone, web, referral, lead generation, email, etc. Few questions to ask that will help you – What are the typical types of members or company that comes for a tour? Do these different “types” of prospects convert to members better than others?

Finance

It makes sense to measure the income your business is generating, but also determine how much of your physical products (private offices, conference room, dedicated desks, and others) that contributes to monthly recurring revenue. You always need to know how much you are getting out of your business and when you expect to break even and start generating profits.

Real Estate

If you see strong demand with high occupancy of your inventory, or there’s a lot of inquiries that are not able to be met because your inventory is insufficient, then there would be an indicator that you’re ready to scale your business. Also, meeting rooms are not only a necessity for members, but can also be a tool to attract fresh traffic to your space. You need to know how much your meeting rooms are being used, which ones perform the best, and what their peak hours are. 

 

Analyze your Operations

What are the processes/procedures do you currently have and how many of these can be automated? Are they scalable? Would you need to establish new procedures? With a single location, you might not have documented every process because it’s not that crucial. However, with a second location, the workload is bigger and extensive so setting processes will save you a lot of time and effort. The process will allow you to establish consistency in delivering your service. You don’t have to over-complicate the steps for every single thing in your coworking space.

Here are some important areas that you need to establish procedures with.

Sales

Having a clear procedure on how you would approach inquiries and steps to go through a potential client will be helpful. Aside from it saves time and effort, it will be easy to pass down when you train your staff especially if you’re not around. Other than that, it will help to analyze which part of the sales process can be improved.

Onboarding

Everything on how you welcome new members, how to communicate with them, what documents to share with them should be structured and documented well. This will make it easy to replicate the practice in your second coworking space and train other team members.

Communication

The more the number of your members grows, the more you need to be consistent with your communication patterns in particular situations. This can include your onboarding process, email inquiries, group announcement, etc.

Day-to-Day Duties

The everyday routine seems to be something normal and simple, but to provide a consistent experience for your members and make it easier for you and your staff, then setting up a process will help. It’s’ those little things if done properly and with consistency will instill a positive impact especially on the customer experience. Having clear and well-communicated procedures is beneficial especially if you are expanding your coworking space to maintain consistency in the services offered.

Analyze your Local Environment

In expanding your coworking space, investigating the local market and business environment matters. It will help you find out how favorable the market is and establishes connections with communities before launching your space. 

You can start by researching locally in the region you find appealing to have your second coworking space and find out what the business environment is like. Explore the place, its people, visit establishments and randomly chat with people to find out what their needs are and how you can be of value to them. If you see that there’s no unmet demand, then it might not be your place. You have to make sure that your next location is in a market that has enough demand for an additional coworking space.

Other than that, if you have no competitors in the area you’re planning to open, that should be a red flag and ask on why is that the case. Is the area small and not developed yet? If you have competitors in your place, learn more about them. What do they offer, what audience do they target, and what are their price ranges? Try to find information as much as possible and see if they’re willing to share bits of it.

Conclusion

Every coworking space is different and challenges in growth differ depending on each space. We hope that this article has given a guide bais essentials to consider first before making a decision. If you plan to start a coworking space, check out this blog for helpful tips.

How to Retain New Coworking Members beyond their New Years’ Resolution

New Years’ resolutions will always be a trend at the beginning of the year. Memberships to gyms, book clubs, yoga classes, and other healthy and worthwhile lifestyles will begin to be trending by Jan 1. Well, that would be most likely the same as coworking spaces. You may have observed that there’s a growth in your membership at the start of January or in the coming days. That’s why you have to invest in creative marketing ideas as you welcome New year since this is a common trend for many people. 

There are various reasons why freelancers, entrepreneurs, and employees would choose to start coworking at the start of the year. Let’s enumerate a few of their basic reasons.

Sense of Community

Most of the time they experience isolation especially on working at home. And being part of a team answers that deep longing for a sense of belongingness. Coworking offers a readily available network of like-minded professionals to collaborate or enjoy a chat over a cup of coffee during breaks after work. 

Work and Life balance

Coworking helps you separate your home from your office. Anyone can relate that working at home can cause familiarity and neglect over some important responsibilities. Getting out of the house for work helps them moving throughout the day. Coworking space offers flexibility to provide just the right feel of work it might require for a day. 

Creative outlet and Collaboration

Coworking environments are designed to inspire creativity and innovation. It provides unique setup and amenities for professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers to execute their projects from start to finish. Not just that, but able to collaborate and connect with like-minded people to help them with their workload. It relieves them from psychological pressure and improves their business because of connections. 

Here are some tips that you can explore and try for your coworking space:

Make them feel welcome

Hospitality is a common thing, however, it is often overlooked in the business world, especially if there’s an overfamiliarity of the process. Introduce your new members to your staff and the existing coworking members. On the Orientation, space owners should be there to accompany new members not only the community manager of the space. In this way, they’ll feel welcome and have that sense of being valued. Make sure they got to interact with the existing members so that when they come to work on the next day, they have already connected inside. You can be creative in welcoming them like announcing it on your community feed or have a random welcome dinner for them together with the community. 

Make them understand all of your services and amenities

When onboarding your new members, communicate to them the value that your coworking space can give to their business and in their professional work and skills. Dedicate ample time to show them your different amenities and the services they can expect from your space. Aside from that, bring in testimonies from other members who have thrived in your coworking space. Let them know that you have different events that foster skills and collaboration with like-minded people. They need to know all these things so that there’s something that they can look forward to in the coming months.

Drive engagement with other coworking members

Help the new members to engage with your coworking members. Plan activities with your Community Manager to ensure that new members are not set aside, but instead, they’ll feel that they are part of the community already in their first week of joining. Good rapport with your members can translate into member satisfaction, then all the more increasing the chances of retention.

Provide organized classes

Providing organized training courses for higher-level skills like SEO, graphic design, leadership courses or anything that can be beneficial for everyone, can not only become a strong marketing asset but also can add value for your members. You can offer special discounts on some members who have been with your space for like 3-6 months. 

Do a Feedback survey to know their needs

After a month of joining in your space, your new members would most likely able to identify the things that they need and love about your space. Send them a feedback survey so you can further assess their needs on how you can tailor-fit it to your coworking solution. You can have a casual discussion with them on how they’re experiencing so far; if they have some concerns or proposals that they want to bring up. Through this, you’re showing them that you value their experience and you want them to experience the best in being part of the coworking community. 

Conclusion

There are many ways to retain your members, but what matters most is that they can experience a sense of belongingness in your coworking space. If they’re able to experience that, even if there are some gaps on your services, they will still stay. After all, coworking gives them an opportunity to meet useful contacts, form friendships, and try a different environment. By implementing these simple tips, you can make your new coworking members continue toward building and growing their community.