The famous Silicon Valley garage story is the stuff of the start-up industry’s fairy tales. It’s the classic rags-to-riches story of how a few, humble passion projects, lovingly toiled away at in a modest garage of a quaint California home, would go on to become the world’s most powerful tech giants. But even discounting the fact that this modern fairy tale is, in fact, just a fairy tale (and quite an overblown one at that), the truth remains that these Goliaths did start somewhere–and somewhere small.
And for anyone who is, or will be, launching their own venture, the Garage story certainly holds it appeal. Very few entrepreneurs will have the good fortune of starting with a small loan of a million dollars, which is why many, by choice or by necessity, kick start their business endeavors close to home. And while this setup does have its fair share of advantages, it’s not always the ideal situation for your business, especially if you think in terms of long-term plans.
Location is one of the important things to consider when setting up a company. To begin with, it’s where you and your team will be laying the foundations to what would hopefully become your own, personal start-up fairy tale, so you definitely want to scout a place where you could actually get the important work done–ideally, for a long time. But with how saturated the entrepreneurial market has gotten, regardless of which industry your company services, securing your own spot in the whirlwind of it all can be, pardon the pun, a right tricky business.
And that’s precisely where a Coworking space can come in handy.
As we’ve discussed before, Coworking Spaces are, in a nutshell, a big, open office space shared by different people, who may not necessarily be working together. In fact, the typical Coworking crowd is composed of freelancers, independent contractors, or solopreneurs. Lately, there’s been a steady rise among start-up companies setting up base in these shared office, and Coworking spaces like Weremote have adjusted accordingly.
Where before, Startups share their desks with others, many Coworking Spaces now offer closed, Private Offices for the exclusive use of the start-up renting it. These suits function in much the same way as traditional office rentals, but without all the complications. They are considerably cheaper, and the seat lease arrangements are more flexible. You can rent the space only for what you need (for example, just two days a week, for five hours each), your lease can last only as long as required (say, six months, for instance), and you can easily change your arrangements to something more suitable (like if you were to bring in five more people to your team, you could readily move in to the vacant office suite just down the hall). The best part is that these spaces are already fully-equipped and fully-functional with necessities like desks and chairs, display boards, audiovisual tech, stable internet connection, and even bonus amenities like a pantry (with unlimited coffee) and, in Weremote’s case, free parking.
But having a move-in-ready office space is just one of the myriad reasons why a Coworking space may be the perfect solution for your start-up. Below are just some of the other ways this revolutionary office arrangement could be key to the success of your humble, little passion project.
There might be no one secret ingredient to successfully launching and running a business, but a few factors can certainly make a big difference along the way. One such factor is, as discussed above, the location.
While you can certainly work out of your room at home or even your garage, this setup is not ideal, especially when you begin to expand your business. Eventually, you’ll need a space that can accommodate your growing team–all the more crucial if you’re working on something sensitive or confidential. As you meet with more and more clients, you will also need a spot that can fit all your business meetings, and coffee shops or restaurants can only be so useful in this scenario. If your company is in sales, you’ll also need storage space for merchandise, the need for which will obviously expand in proportion to your growing customer base.
And this isn’t even to mention the other issues that can come from running your business entirely at home. Your home is supposed to be a place where you relax and unwind, and mixing business with pleasure is not exactly known to end well. You definitely need a dedicated office space, and as small business enterprise only just starting to find its footing, a coworking space can be just what the doctor ordered.
The biggest and most indispensable advantage of establishing your company’s office in a Coworking space is that the place comes move-in-ready.
Unlike traditional office spaces where you have to procure everything yourself, from the rooms, to the desks and chairs, to every last pen and marker, Coworking spaces are already full-equipped with all the basic necessities, nd more. If you’re a very small team of, say, just two or three, you can choose to just avail a Coworking Pass and a Hot Desk in the communal area, which guarantees you will always have a spot when you need it. If you have a growing number of people in the company, you can move in to a Private suite which could comfortably hold some 10 people or more, and will already come with access to amenities like cabinets and drawers, dry erase boards, and even audiovisual equipment for presentations. These suits function just like a traditional office rental, but without the unnecessary complications of one. You pay for the spot only for as long as you need it, whether it’s ten hours split across two days, or twenty-four hours, five days a week. The seat lease contracts are also flexible, and can be readily adjusted depending on your specific requirements.
But perhaps what makes Coworking spaces a cut above the traditional office setup is all the bonus amenities that come with it. Coworking spaces are not just desks and chairs where you can plug your laptop down and type away. They’re also places to network, to brainstorm, to think of all the unique and innovative ways you can grow your company. Coworking spaces like Weremote will also have other professional spaces that might not always be available with a regular office space, like meeting rooms that can properly hold both face-to-face and virtual meetings; private phone booths for when you need to place important calls or video conferences; training and events room for seminars and other company happenings; interview rooms to meet with future team members or important stakeholders; and even a recording studio and a photo studio for your audiovisual needs, especially critical if you are selling a physical item.
As Weremote strongly values a well-rounded lifestyle for all its members, we also offer bonus amenities designed to care for you and keep you in tip-top hustle shape. We have a well-stocked pantry that serves delicious, freshly-brewed coffee 24/7 and the occasional pint of beer; a snug room where you can catch some well-deserved shut-eye, undisturbed, for as long as you need; a shower room for when you really need to sit down on a project; an onsite clinic in case of anything untoward; and even a game room to unwind after a stressful day, or even to get the creative juices flowing again.
Let’s say you want to set up shop in a busy part of town. A strategic location is important for businesses because it makes transactions significantly easier all around; suppliers and stakeholders can conveniently come into your store, and customers can more readily drop by your shop. It makes sense, of course, that you aren’t the only one coveting such a spot, and as the location becomes more and more desirable, it also becomes more and more expensive.
And as a small and budding company, you may not necessarily have the funds or resources to secure a spot for yourself–if you can manage to snag any place at all, with how competitive and costly the market has gotten for a reasonable office spot. As a result, even the smallest, dingiest nooks can go for a pretty penny, and small enterprises who aren’t able to afford such locations are edged out of the running before they can even start, or become so mired in the upkeep of their rented space that they can no longer recuperate their losses, and they have no choice but to shut down long before they even meet their goals.
Coworking spaces take away that problem. Sure, they’re more expensive than a cup of coffee you stretch out for the eight hours you’re toiling away in a coffee shop, but they are significantly more affordable than standard office leases. As mentioned above, most coworking spaces, Weremote in particular, offer customizable packages so you only pay what you use. You can rent office spaces by the desks, which is perfect for individuals or very small teams who can make-do with just a desk and a stable internet connection. Growing your business is also easier with a corking seat lease, because you can simply move to the private office next door when you find a few chairs in an open, communal area is no longer suitable for your needs, thereby eliminating the tedious and expensive process of having to scout for a new location.
All basic business necessities are also available for rent, and you can even tailor their use into your lease contract so they are accessible whenever you need them. Equipment like projectors, printers and scanners, and other audiovisual tools can be quite expensive to procure on your own, and having an office that already provides such services by default can be a huge help for your company now, and in the long run.
Not all coworking spaces are made the same, and few go above and beyond to making sure the needs of its members are met. For instance, despite their obvious importance to the running of any company, no matter how small or established, few coworking spaces would offer HRand Financeservices. And while it’s true that at the very beginning when your roster is composed only of a handful of people who could get by well enough even without professionals managing their benefits and compensations, eventually such expertise would be required as you grow your team–in some cases, having these services on board are what can even make your team grow.
In truth, such services are legally mandated to be available to your employees, but they can be expensive to acquire. Traditionally, you would have to hire your own team of HR and finance professionals, and put them under your own payroll. Fortunately, coworking spaces like Weremote offers to outsource these services to experienced professionals, for a fraction of what it would actually cost if you hire someone of that level of expertise. And like with the other resources offered in a coworking space, this feature can also be customized depending on your need, cutting off on any unnecessary expenses and complications.
The whole point of a coworking space is to provide one, common area where people of all backgrounds and industries can come together to do their work, in a supportive and engaging environment that thrives on collaboration between its unique members, helping to make the whole far more than the sum of its individual parts. Which is why the relationships forged in a coworking space often prove to be some of the most invaluable connections one can have.
Because of its culture of openness and acceptance, the typical population of a coworking space can be remarkably diverse. On one seat can be a web designer, helping to launch the next social media giant. On another desk can be a physician, who writes medical texts on their down times. There are plenty of interesting characters in a coworking space, and because of how varied they are from one another, you can often already put together a fully-functional team just from the people you talked with the pantry. An entire marketing division may be sitting a few chairs down from you. You can have a legal team waiting in line with you to get freshly-brewed coffee. You can even connect with suppliers by asking if you could share a table with them during lunch.
The beauty of coworking space is that it is designed, specifically, to allow people to interact with one another, and networking can happen anytime and every time you strike up a conversation with someone. No matter how innocuous your chat may start off, you can very well be looking at your future partner in business.
And even if you don’t actually end up bringing a new member to the team when you talk with a coworker, there’s still a myriad of things you can glean from just interacting with them. You could casually mention a problem you’re dealing with over snacks, and they could offer you unexpected, but helpful insight and advice that could solve your concern. With how supportive the environment coworking spaces specifically foster, it is often the case that someone would willingly lend you a hand when they see you’re struggling with matters in which they are an expert, and may even do it completely free.
You will essentially have an entire team of consultants who can easily look over your shoulder to see what the problem may be, and just as readily hand out advice, often just out of a sense of kinship with someone who is in the same position as them. And you can likewise do the same for them, too. Because you’re not usually in direct competition with one another, coworkers are more open to supporting and building up their other coworkers. There is none of the typical office politics and drama that could really burn people out. As a result, people in coworking spaces will often work as themselves instead of trying to mold their character into something more “suitable” to the place. They are more open in their tasks, and generally find more fulfillment in accomplishing something for the sake of it, and not merely to impress their boss or outdo their colleagues. Too, the non-restrictive physical layout of coworking spaces are also conducive to allowing ideas to flow freely between peers, making it a truly collaborative and cooperative environment for all.
It is significantly easier to grow your business in a nourishing situation, made all the easier with the diverse support system, whose unique insights and perspectives may be just what you need to stay one step ahead of competitors. And at the end of the day, such positive energy just makes the work not only more bearable, but even enjoyable and fulfilling.
Of course it’s not enough to understand why a coworking space may just be what the start-up doctor ordered; even more important to that is the how a coworking space can be used to grow your company. Your actual action plan for making it big will ultimately depend on you and your business’s unique needs, but if you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve got six tips on how to grow your little team in a coworking community.
Growing your business literally means getting more people on the team, and the best way to do that is, of course, to know more people. As mentioned above, coworking spaces offer prime opportunities to network, and this is something you should definitely take advantage of. Talk to people. Make friends. Establish connections. Networking is the bread and butter of any entrepreneurial industry; for all that hard work and good business acumen can take you far, it’s the people you know who can take you further by opening doors you might not previously have been aware of. You could find the most valuable member of your team by talking to the guy sitting across from you. You could earn your most loyal customer by chatting it up with the stranger you meet in the break room.
There is no meaningless network; one way or another, the relationships you make can be fruitful to your business, whether it’s finding more people to join your team, or reaching to the right people who could give you better opportunities to grow your company.
Start-up companies can struggle to bring in investors and stakeholders for many reasons, but the appearance of stability and trustworthiness can be a deciding factor on whether or not someone would be willing to give your company the benefit of the doubt. Imagine meeting an important client, who could very well mean your company’s big break, at a coffee shop and discussing sensitive matters. To be sure, coffee shops have steadily become their own form of a coworking space, but at the end of the day, they are still not a place to call your own, and the client can’t really get a solid sense of where the company is when you are constantly meeting in a public space. One way that can help you grow your start-up is by presenting a reliable front to your stakeholders, and showing them that the company is stable and, if nothing else, legitimate.
Coworking spaces offer use of meeting rooms for precisely that reason. Even if you and your humble team of four other people are only using the common area and have not yet gotten around to getting a seat lease on a private office suite, you can still procure the local meeting room whenever you need it, not only securing privacy to discuss classified company matters, but also creating that sense of professionalism that can significantly make you more appealing to future investors and partners.
Ask your landlord about the packages they offer on the use of meeting rooms if this is not presently included in your seat lease. Remember that coworking spaces are designed to be flexible and customizable to your need, so you should be able to secure a good deal that would work well to your advantage.
Another way you can take advantage of coworking spaces to grow your company is by looking at the local talent pool for your business needs. Outsource. With how diverse the coworking population is, there is a very good chance that someone will have the particular skillset or background you require, but may not yet be able to hire full time just yet.
Imagine you are launching your company website, and are thinking about leaving the task to a professional. Many designers and artists work freelance, so your local coworking community should already have a good selection of experts you could contract on a per project or freelance basis to do the work for you. The advantage here is that you are working in a shared office, so you should be able to regularly check up on their progress, or coordinate with them as to what your company requires specifically. As a bonus, you could get this service discounted or for a deal, if the freelancers you will get also happen to need something that you could do for them in exchange.
Hiring people in this way is a more efficient method than having to go the traditional route and posting ads. It costs less to just go up to someone and talk to them, and it takes significantly less time and resource as well. As you work together closely, whether on the project you hired them for or even just sharing the same desk, you can forge deeper connections with them, and you may eventually bring them into your team in the future.
As we’ve already established, coworking spaces are not just long desks where people can plug their laptops and work away. There are also other amenities like private offices, dedicated desks, meeting rooms, and other such facilities. These are things you will definitely not find in a coffee shop, and they can prove invaluable to your business’ long-term path. Take advantage.
If your team meets regularly enough, consider getting dedicated desks or moving into a small private suite to ensure you have a space to call your own. Check the spaces available, and see which ones could comfortably hold your team without feeling too crowded. Meet with clients in meeting rooms, and use private phone booths to guarantee security when placing important calls. Take quality, professional product shots in the in-house photography studio (and if you aren’t confident in your photography skills, ask around in the community for any professionals who can meet your requirements).
Ask your coworking space about the full range of amenities they offer, and don’t think twice about securing a lease on those that you find you will really need for your business. If budget is a consideration, be sure to bring this up as well so that the management can work out an arrangement that would best suit your situation.
Let your community know you’re there. They can very well be your first clients, after all. Don’t just be a seat warmer; go out there and broadcast your work to others. Talk about your company when you’re mingling with your peers in the pantry or break rooms. Chat them up about what services you can render, and don’t be embarrassed to offer them if you find that they might be in need of it.
It’s not enough to just network and get in touch with people; you also need to advertise your work so you can reel in people, whether as customers or employees. Strike partnerships with those that could help you grow your work. Get referrals, and give referrals in return. Talk business. Let the community know that you and your company exist.
Eventually, if all goes well, your company will grow and thrive, and will need new things. But in with the new, in this case, doesn’t mean out with the old. Instead, take note of what worked well for you in your time in a coworking space, as this could very much be your recipe to success. If, for example, an open office layout was highly conducive to your employees’ productivity, keep this in mind when deciding how to style your own office when the time comes, and don’t suddenly switch to closed-off cubicles for your own space.
See how you and your team work in your current set-up, but also take note of what may not be totally suitable for you. Listen to your employees and members, and get a sense of what they liked and what they expect in the future. Talk with others as well, if you must. Ask them for advice, or just additional insight on what could be advantageous to your future direction. Base your business plan on these observations, and be sure to update these guidelines whenever needed. Remember that the core of coworking is its flexibility and adaptability, and if your company has thus far thrived on such components, you’d definitely want to keep it.
When all is said and done, the biggest advantage of coworking spaces is that they handle all the minute, but multitude of day-to-day tasks needed to actually run a business, leaving you to focus on the bigger, and much harder role of steering your ship to where you truly want it to go. And as a small, start-up, there will definitely be a lot of these little details that needs attention, and they can be quite overwhelming. So don’t fret about them. Find a coworking space that would let you breeze through the many trivial tasks that could take away your attention on what truly matters, and instead allow you to pour all your much-needed time and resources into making your little passion project into the best it could be.