Your customisable guide to a smart coworking space

Your customisable guide to a smart coworking space

If you are reading this, you have probably considered, or are considering starting a coworking space of your own. Here’s our TLDR: do it! Coworking spaces are set to double by the end of 2024, as demand soars and people recognise the potential of this new force in real estate.

Our close ties in community working have shown us that there are often two key reasons for starting a coworking project:

  • The first is an initiative designed as an entirely new business investment within a lucrative, growing asset class

  • The second is to monetise an existing space, reduce costs associated with it and have the added benefit of not working alone

For those that consider themselves part of the first category: coworking offers profitability and stability as a subscription-based business. We advise diversifying the types of clients and the industry they work in to further enhance stability. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that coworking is a capex-intensive business unless you are able to work out a management agreement with the asset owner.

If you want to create a coworking space as a parallel project to your main activity you get all the advantages of being in a coworking space with the extra benefit that it is tailor-made for you or your company. The downside? You have to take care of all the tasks involved in managing an office, and although it is true that you could probably do it, you will still have to manage the needs and sensitivities of those people and companies that constitute your clients.

This situation offers many advantages for those companies that are at a point where they don't have enough administrative work to hire an office manager but their office management workload is starting to become a little complicated.

Some automation is a must.

The way to make sure that all the tasks that need to be done in a flexible workspace don't get in your way, or you end up needing extra staff that you didn't count on, is to automate all those tasks where human intervention doesn't add value, or even detract from the experience. 

Include in your cost calculations the implementation of a space management tool, and review the automation section to ensure that everything you invest in works together - without you or anyone on your team having to intervene. 

As these tools have a cost, be sure to include them in both your implementation and operational costs. Dedicate your staff to keeping your customers happy and attracting new ones, instead of having them spend too long moving data between a few different platforms.

TIP:  Space management software, credit card payment gateways, and access control systems go a long way - both when you want to start, and when you're ready to scale.

How to attract new members.

If you have already made up your mind and you are looking for advice on how to get your space filled, our favourite coworking expert Marc Navarro has a three-step process for you:

  • Create a good profile on Google Maps and work the possibilities offered by the platform to position you well. It will work with all types of profiles and people who find you are looking in a specific area so in principle they are quite qualified leads

  • Create events on topics that interest the public you are looking to attract. In general offline actions are left aside in an increasingly digital world but the easiest way to sell flexible workspace is for people to step into the space you want to sell them

  • Work with online and offline brokers to offer your space. Yes, they will charge you a commission but they reach a customer you don't usually reach. They will help you diversify your clientele, you will offer them longer contracts and many of them are not price sensitive. Very useful for private office clients or large teams

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

This phrase has often been misinterpreted. The meaning is that if there is an idea that works you should copy it and make it your own: adapt it to what your space needs. This is a bidirectional path, so the sooner you recognise it, the better it could be for your space.

Creating a different value proposition by simply copying what other spaces in your environment do will be quite complex: Marc advises that you must research your competitors and, in many cases, a sincere approach works very well.

Again, Marc advises looking further afield: 

“Visit spaces on the net and visit in person those that you think can inspire you the most. Ask what works for them and what doesn't, don't take anything for granted and then think about how to adapt it to your environment. This is when visiting spaces in your area, with an open mind, can come in handy.”

A few months ago, Marc worked on a project in a beach town about thirty minutes by train from a big city: previous initiatives in the municipality had failed. In three months, he helped them tailor their approach based on the guidance above so that they had already reached a 65% occupancy rate. After six months, this jumped to a 75% occupancy rate, in addition to an interesting movement of day passes that Marc believes will surely rise with the summer. 

What Marc did was simple: he combined a good market study with a modern coworking proposal that, according to his expertise, had not previously reached the level of a minimum viable product. The rest is history - and now the future is brighter than ever.

For more insights on all things coworking, and for expert opinions like Marc’s, stay tuned to the Nexudus blog. 

At Nexudus, we’re passionately building technology that provides space owners and operators with fully customisable, easy-to-integrate digital solutions for their spaces, across coworking, commercial real estate, hospitality and beyond. Since 2012, our award-winning technology has helped workspace owners and operators in over 90 countries digitally transform their spaces, manage them more efficiently, provide exceptional customer experiences and gather advanced analytics for better decision-making.

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