Even if you aren't a tech startup, coworking spaces can still provide benefits that are tailored to your business.
If you’re starting a business, then you’ve probably heard about the concept of coworking space, but you might associate it with tech startups. (WeWork has certainly contributed to that impression.)
But coworking space might make sense for your business even if you aren’t a tech startup. These days, the coworking space, er… space… has become more and more crowded, and coworking spaces have had to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors. One of the ways that they’ve started to do that is by segmenting the market. Some coworking spaces will target tech startups, sure, but others will target traditional service workers, service professionals like lawyers and accountants, or even remote workers for large corporations.
If you’re going to consider coworking as an option, then you’ll want to find one with an atmosphere and offerings and amenities that appeal to you and your business. But in case we haven’t convinced you to do that just yet, here are four benefits that you can get out of coworking wherever you go:
Even before you ever set foot in a coworking space, once you sign up for a membership, you’ve immediately got a business address, and you can start printing it on your business cards and your website. Having a formal address that isn’t your home address provides you with a little extra credibility with your customers and will give you that psychological feeling that you’re actually “in business.”
But it also provides some tangible benefits, too. For example, there’s a good chance that you’ll want to incorporate your business as a corporation or an LLC, and when you do that, you’ll have to file a form with the state office with whom you make your filing. That form will require you to list a business address, and if you don’t have one, then you’re stuck using your home address. Since all of those forms ultimately end up in a publicly searchable database, that means your home address will be out there online. Not comfortable with that? Then consider getting that business address with a coworking space, which may also make it easier to get your business indexed in Google Maps.
Depending on your business, you may find yourself doing lots of meetings with customers. Especially if your business is the type that involves giving advice, at some point, you may need to do a meeting with a customer that just doesn’t feel right for a coffee shop or a breakfast spot. Some conversations with customers and clients are just better had in private, and a coworking space can help you with that. You can get a private office, access to a conference room, and a receptionist at the front desk who can greet your customers and make them feel welcome.
Note that lots of coworking spaces offer lots of different membership packages with lots of different benefits. You might be the type who wants a private office so that you can get some work done at your coworking space. Or you might never show up at your coworking space unless you have to meet a customer, and then you could just use the conference room and skip the membership packages that include private offices. Check with the coworking spaces your interviewing and see who offers the package that fits your needs the best.
But maybe you do intend to make regular appearances at your coworking space. As everyone learned during the coronavirus, social isolation takes a toll on all of us. Humans are social creatures, and even those of us who are introverted still feel a need to have some level of contact with others. If your business is the type that lets you work remotely, then you might find it super convenient at first, only to discover that working from home starts to affect you over the long-term.
Coworking can be a great way to fight that social isolation. It immediately gives you somewhere to go when you wake up Monday morning, and that can get you in the right headspace to attack your workweek in a way that rolling out of bed late and doing Zoom calls in your pajamas with the camera off with your cat on your lap and your dog at your feet might not. Knowing that you’re going to come into physical contact with other people during the day will just psych you up.
In addition to getting you out of the house and up and at ‘em, coworking can also bring you into contact with other businesses. Whether you’re a small business owner or a member of a small business team, trying to keep your business thriving in the face of competition from much larger players in an unforgiving market can be a tough and lonely journey. You’ll be surprised at how much it helps to have peers around whom you can connect with.
Coworking spaces can be great for this. For example, some coworking spaces focus a lot on building community, so they hold networking for their members. Some will hold lunch-and-learn events that you might find informative, and some will host weekly happy hours. And in between these events, there’s always the ol’ water cooler and coffee pot.
Your fellow coworking members present you with potential customers, potential suppliers, and referral sources. While you don’t want to go into a coworking space thinking that you’re going to hit everyone up as soon as you see them–and, in fact, soliciting might be frowned upon at your particular location because others are there to go heads-down and work–you at least want to be prepared for those serendipitous connections that might arise when you aren’t expecting it. So go to your coworking space primarily to work, but have that elevator pitch polished and ready to go when a fellow coworking member asks you what you do and how they can help.