Starting and operating a coworking space can be challenging, like setting off on a long race. Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s the best course of action and if it will have the desired results. The end goal is, of course, a happy, healthy and busy coworking space, so we’ve compiled some great things you definitely shouldn’t do so you can be successful.
Not Having a WHY
As you’re building your community and getting ready to open your space, make sure you have a good WHY! Be able to communicate WHY you’re opening your space and the potential impact it will have on your community. A WHY is more important than anything else, and people will get behind you immediately if you have a mission that really can benefit them and the place they live.
Starting Without a Plan
You wouldn’t hike up Mount Everest without a plan; don’t open a coworking space without one either! There will be plenty of hurdles along the way, and you want to be ready for them. Try interviewing people in your community who might be interested in your space, and get feedback from peers and friends. Try to find out what kind of space would be perfect for your community; whether or not there should be a focus on open space or private offices, for example. Do a business model canvas, and map out your business plan! Think about who your customers are going to be and what they want. This is also a great way to start marketing and community building long before you even open.
Overcomplicating Membership Types
Often the idea of a coworking space is unfamiliar to most people and most communities. If your membership types are too complicated, people aren’t going to understand. Keep it simple and keep it easy, especially at the beginning. Make it clean, clear, and not overcomplicated.
Waiting to Open Before Building Your Community
The best time to build your community was yesterday, and the second best time is today. You don’t want to open your space and have it be completely empty! Throw parties, host meetups, and create a newsletter before you even open the doors to your space. Have people register for a newsletter during each event, and try to get some local groundwork in before you open.
Trying to Do Everything Yourself
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to think you have to do everything yourself. You don’t! Finding a good partner (or partners) can be extremely helpful. Even just reaching out to peers and friends for occasional favors can make all the difference. Try to find people who have different skills than you do, who you really get along with. Work out trades for services, and empower your members to lend a helping hand!
Taking Photos of Furniture Instead of People
It’s easy, especially after putting so much work into creating your space, to only advertise your furniture and decor! A lot of creators and space managers want to show off the cool perks and desks that they have in their space, but they forget that the most alluring part of a coworking space is the people. Try to take pictures of the individuals in your space working together and market the connections you can help create, not the space itself.
Dismissing the Importance of Design
Remember that you should avoid trying to do everything yourself! Spend the money to have someone talented build you a logo and brand guidelines. Know that design elements are just as important as branding and need a lot of attention. Place that focus within the building, too. Take time to design the space. Know who your audience is, and make the space a great place for them to work!
Losing Sight of Your Vision
As an entrepreneur, it’s really easy to lose sight of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Make sure you take the time to remind yourself of and refresh your mission; Why are you doing this? What’s the point? Focus on that, and make sure your members don’t lose sight of it either.
What did we miss? What are some mistakes you made at the beginning that you want to help others avoid?
We recently discussed this topic with some of our coworking friends, for more on this topic watch our last Coworking Community Call here! You can also join Proximity Connect for future calls and events.