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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.