Figuring out how to start a coworking space can seem like an overwhelming task, but if you do your research and plan accordingly, you’ll be well on your way to opening the best coworking space in town before you know it.
Check out this guide for the basics of how to start a coworking space, create an amazing work environment, and equip it with the right tools to maximize productivity.
Define Your Target Market
Working from home or a private office can be isolating. Coworking spaces provide many of the benefits of working at an office, with the bonus that you get to work in an environment with other entrepreneurs and professionals who are facing similar challenges as you.
Coworking spaces also encourage collaboration and idea-sharing, which is beneficial for keeping your skills and knowledge up-to-date. Be sure to define your target market: Would you like to focus on individual coworking members, small companies looking for meeting space, or large corporations?
Is this going to be a shared workspace like WeWork? Once you know what type of space you want to create and who will occupy it, then it’s time to figure out where the space will go!
Find The Right Location
The key to finding the perfect spot for your coworking space is location, location, location. You want to make sure you find an area with foot traffic that’s near amenities like restaurants and coffee shops.
Another important factor is how much space you need. If you’re just starting and don’t know what kind of demand there will be for your workspaces, it might be best to start small with just one floor or even just a few rooms.
However, if you’re looking at expanding soon, it might be worth investing in more real estate, so you have room to grow.
Once you’ve got your location, it’s time to think about design. Will you stick with a generic setup, or will you go for something more distinctive?
The right location isn’t just physical location, but layout as well. It’s important to keep in mind how workers will feel navigating your workspace.
- Will it be crowded?
- Can you conveniently place a shared printer or other office equipment on each level?
- Can you incorporate color into your interior design to give it a creative look?
- Can people get from point A to point B without getting lost in confusing hallways?
It doesn’t matter how awesome your coworking space is if people can’t find their way around!
Design The Space For Workers
A coworking space is an office environment with shared conference rooms, desks, and sometimes even kitchen spaces that allow people to rent time and space on demand.
These spaces are ideal for entrepreneurs who don’t want the hassle of running their own office but need a professional work environment to run their businesses.
This means that if you’re interested in starting a coworking space, you’ll need to decide what they are looking for. Your space must be designed to meet their needs, like having private offices, meeting rooms, or even phone booths for calls.
Don’t overlook things like printers and copiers. Make sure to keep them in mind when designing, as this will make all the difference! While the world is largely digital now, the most important documents still need to be printed out.
Design your space to be ideal for workers. Make sure the furniture and equipment are conveniently located and easily accessible. If someone needs to print something, how far will they need to walk?
Placing commonly used items, like printers, near one another helps to keep everyone happy and organized. The more thoughtful you are about the layout of your coworking space, the happier your employees will be with it. And isn’t that what we all want?
Equip The Space With The Right Furniture and Amenities
For your coworking space to be successful, you need the right furniture and amenities. This includes desks and chairs that are comfortable and ergonomic, outlets for charging devices, wireless internet access, conference rooms with video conferencing capabilities, collaborative spaces with whiteboards or dry-erase boards, and kitchen areas with microwaves and refrigerators.
All of the furniture and amenities can get expensive. Consider the possibility of renting or leasing some of it. For example, an enterprise-grade copier for your shared workspace can cost up to $40,000.
Leasing a copier will save you money upfront, which makes a big difference if you’re working with a tight budget. If you outgrow what you have, you can easily upgrade without having to find a buyer for your old equipment.
Benefits of leasing equipment includes:
- Greatly reduce upfront costs
- Ability to scale as needed
- Routine maintenance included
- Allows for flexibility
The workspace also needs a variety of desks, chairs, and common office amenities that would be provided by large companies. These items help your coworking space stand out from other similar business spaces and help keep your workers coming back regularly.
You’ll need coffee makers and beverage dispensers, microwaves and refrigerators, break areas with tables, and individual desks with outlets for charging electronics.
Promote Your Coworking Space
Once you’ve set up a location for your coworking space, it’s time to start making some noise. Let your target audience and local businesses know that you’re searching for a location and why they should be excited about it.
Be as direct as possible; let people know that they can find your concept and what sets you apart from other coworking spaces in their area.
You should also set up an office sneak peek with potential customers, which will help you gain interest and exposure. After your sneak peeks, be sure to ask for feedback about your coworking space concept and how it stacks up against other nearby locations.
Chances are that your target audience would be willing to share their opinions about what they like or dislike in coworking spaces as well as in businesses located in their local community.
Make sure you promote all of the amenities available, like printers, wifi, meeting rooms, and lounges, so your target audience knows just what they’ll get if they join.