The Sustainability of Coworking Spaces

Keep Overheads Low to Create Fast Economy Many spaces are portraying a luxurious or high-end feel and hiking up start-up costs above potential income, thus creating a longer return cycle. It is important to keep overheads as low as possible; negotiate good deals on your leases, invest in durable furnishings rather than overpriced luxury items, find a space that has little to no refurbishment needs, and look at a well connected but up-and-coming areas as rents will be cheaper.

Marketing Position Position your space in areas that offer your members benefits, that however don’t from members clubs, cafés, or luxury offices, so you don’t have to compete in a saturated market.

Delay the Bells & Whistles When cash flow increases and you have broken even, then start to replace standard items with more defined products. Firstly, its good for your start-up costs, but it also communicates to your members that you are improving the space, which creates retention.

Streamline Running Costs Create a circular economy that is lucrative to enlist quality people to help run the space, automate systems where possible, and have a small core team that is cross trained.

Stay Green Turning off lights that are not in use and at closing time, recycling paper to create note-pads, encouraging members to think before they print, use tap water instead of buying bottled, etc. etc. Being green is responsible and can help you save money along the way.

Define Your Ethos Find what it is that will make your coworking special and relevant to local entrepreneurs. Spend time observing and take note of what is needed. To simply set up a couple of desks in one space is not coworking, you can do that at the cafe across the road.

Offer Innovative Information & Events Give your members well researched information they cannot find anywhere else and create events that are pushing innovation amongst entrepreneurs.

Bring in the Community If you want to be around for awhile get the community behind you and create events that will encourage people to come to your space. They may not need you now but may in the future. THECUBE constantly invites the community to partake in our events and we have seen a great return on investment. Some people don’t join until 3 -6months down the line, so be patient. I will stress that you do it out of genuine interest not just for sales purposes.

Do not Franchise According to our observations, franchising dilutes coworking spaces and makes them generic. Coworking spaces are so dependent on their community and the needs of local entrepreneurs that creating a generic space will make them vulnerable. Plus each space has to continue to change and innovate as needed, which is contrary to franchise protocol.