Starting up a coworking space for the first time can be a challenge. But like any other business endeavor, it can be extremely rewarding both financially and from a personal standpoint. Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable resources when starting a coworking space and the most important questions a prospective operator or landlord should be asking.
Many coworking operators understand that their biggest achievement comes from the ability to provide an outlet for workers who seek a new way of interacting and building their career. At the same time, getting into any line of work while not expecting to be profitable, would be a highly questionable business decision.
First and foremost, you should become aware of the most up-to-date happenings in the coworking industry. By reading publications such as Allwork and Deskmag, you will not only stay abreast of everything happening in coworking but you will have access to in-depth analysis and stats that encourage the potential of the industry. Websites such as Coworking Resources and our very own Yardi Kube blog provide analysis of industry news as well as insights for starting, growing, marketing, and pushing technology forward in coworking spaces.
Use social media groups. Become part of the Facebook coworking groups, the Slack coworking channels, and follow the relevant hashtags on Twitter. They provide insight from operators just like you, who likely have gone through the same questions and processes you’re currently involved in.
Get involved with GCUC and GWA. Attend their yearly conferences, where you’ll meet literally anyone involved in coworking who can be of help to you. Whether its other operators walking in your shoes, or exhibitors such as software providers, furniture suppliers, office supply companies, and many more, you’ll network with countless great people who can get you on your way.
Questions to Ask
You’re going to have countless questions. Here is a reference point for some of the questions you should be prepared to find answers for:
- Is there coworking demand in your city?
- Am I better off serving a niche market?
- What are the demographics of the city in which you’re going to establish your space?
- Who can help me from day 1?
- Can I find investors, marketers, event planners, designers?
- How much competition exists in this city?
- Is most of the competition from the largest players like WeWork and Regus?
- Is my space going to have better odds for success in an urban downtown area or in a suburban residential region?
- Do I have the necessary time and capital to dedicate to this endeavor?
- Do I have the financial stability to withstand the potential for a long road to profitability?
- How much staff will I need and how will I go about hiring staff?
- Will I provide 24/7 access, and how does this impact staffing?
You will need to conduct extensive research on software automation. Simply put, when your space is up and running, you cannot complete all administrative tasks manually. Just to name a few of the tasks you will need your software/hardware platform for: booking desks and conference rooms, accounting, billing, lead generation, Wi-Fi and phone service, member to member communication, and operator to member communication.
Of course, there are many more tasks and roles that a coworking management platform needs to serve for you. The odds are you wouldn’t walk into a car dealership for the first time and walk out in a new car without having compared features, price, and service. Think of it the same way with the platform that will power your space. Make sure you’re aware of the intricacies of each, the features and support the company provides. Also, verify if they will have the ability to scale with you. After all, your goal could and should be to continue growing your business after a successful launch.
So make sure the software you invest in simplifies your day to day operations in every aspect. Make sure it also provides your members with elite data and Wi-Fi they need, and tools for self-service so that it takes much of the load off your staff’s shoulders.
Coworking provides an avenue for higher occupancy rates in a workspace, thus the potential for greater revenue. It is an industry that has continued to grow and evolve with each passing year, and is thought to be recession-proof by many experts. To learn more about how Yardi Kube is the software platform of choice for many of the most successful operators, please click the link below.