Sometimes you have to step into the unknown to see where things go. And If it doesn’t work out, you can always try again. We rationalised on this thought when we started our coworking space Lumos Cowork.
What is a coworking space? What is the fuss about? You might ask. Here is how coworking.org defines this movement.
[ecko_quote source=”coworking.org”]The idea is simple: independent professionals and those with workplace flexibility work better together than they do alone. Coworking spaces are about community-building and sustainability. Participants agree to uphold the values set forth by the movement’s founders, as well as interact and share with one another. We are about creating better places to work and as a result, a better way to work. [/ecko_quote]
Working from home takes a lot of will-power and focus. The alternative option coffee shops are too noisy. I realised these nuances while working on my client’s project. We (me & Oraib) stumbled onto the concept of coworking space whilst searching for an office space. We couldn’t find a suitable space for our needs so we started our own.
It has been more than a year since we started Lumos Cowork. Based on our research and our experience running Lumos for almost a year. Below are some of the points we’d like to share for you to get started.
Focus on the Community
Do your research on the type of individuals you want to attract to your space. It will be a mixture of startup guys, freelancers, artists or a business trying to expand to your city. Focus on a primary group of people. Then create an environment & culture where these people thrive. Help them be productive.
Do the Math
If you are starting a coworking space just to get rich, good luck. You will earn a decent amount of money. But, It won’t buy you a luxurious lifestyle. Although, this can be a foundation for your future business opportunity.
Before everything else, create an estimate of one-time expenditure and a monthly operational cost to set up the coworking space You can start with a small space and then later expand to a bigger one. Or start a big one if you have that kind of capital. This will help you extrapolate pricing strategy later.
Example for a small coworking space,
Space: 1, 000 sq/ft = Rs. 1,00,000 /month (Varies on location. Can accommodate 25 seats )
Deposit for Space: 1,00,000 x 6 (You can negotiate on this)
Interior: Rs. 1.5 – 2L (Its a small space. Be creative on this one)
Internet: Rs. 5, 000 (Avoid lease lines. They are expensive. Instead, set up two internet connections )
Other operational costs like office boy, cleaning etc.
Pick a Location
When people decide to join your space, the location will be the prominent factor. Empathise on your customers. Will they have to walk a lot after taking a train to your space? Will the members have to take multiple public transits to get to your space? Keep these key questions in mind when deciding on the location.
Create a Brand
[ecko_quote source=”The Brand Gap”]Your brand is not that you say it is, it’s what they say it is [/ecko_quote]
Define a core purpose for your coworking space. It shouldn’t be only money. What do you believe in? What does your coworking space stand for? Make this your north star when you take major decisions.
Also, don’t forget to create a consistent design in your logo, letterhead & your website. It’s important too. Setup a google for business listing. Fill up the contact details, photos & website. Make sure your website has a well-designed landing page. You will get a majority of the enquiries through your website.
Your customers will start banging your door if you do it right. Now is the time to listen to them. Try to figure out how you can help them. Can you connect them to a tech guy from the community or a designer for a logo? Build relationships. Connect people.
The positive aspect of coworking spaces is that you get to meet a lot of people from diverse background. You will learn a lot from people from different walks of life. Best wishes!
I’d love to hear your feedback or question in the comment section below.