Looking to expand your coworking business? The idea is thrilling but it probably comes along with a number of questions.
Is it the right time to expand?
What are my options for growth?
How should I approach the expansion process?
How are my business processes going to change?
The list goes on.
Success in expanding a flexible workspace business can happen for any passionate operator who manages to find the answers to such questions.
To help you with this, we conducted a series of interviews with industry experts, who have gone through growing their flexible workspace business first-hand:
We also did additional research and combined that with what we’ve learned from working with 500+ workspaces, many of which operate more than one location.
We gathered that essential knowledge in the eBook ‘The Ultimate Guide To Successfully Expanding Your Coworking Space’.
The rows below represent a short summary of the eBook, marking the essentials you should consider when looking to successfully expand your coworking business and when opening a second coworking location in particular.
Only the goodwill to scale is often not enough. Before you say yes to expanding your coworking business, you should consider both internal and external factors.
Internal factors, related to your business performance:
External factors, related to market and demand:
Opening a new coworking location is not the only option for expansion. Two other popular alternatives are expanding within your current building or relocating your entire space to a bigger building.
All options have pros and cons, so you’d want to evaluate them and see which one fits best your needs and resources.
Expanding within your current building often comes to be a cheaper option, but it’s not always possible. Relocating your space to another building is a very dynamic and time and effort-consuming process, but it often allows you to upgrade the look and feel of your coworking space with a completely new design and fit-out of the building.
Opening a second coworking space gives the opportunity to tap into the demand of another neighborhood, city or region. More unfilled demand means more members, which leads to more revenue and buying power.
Once you’ve made an analysis of your business and you know you’re ready to scale, there are a few things to consider next. First, knowing who you are as a brand, is essential.
You’d really want to provide a consistent experience in all your locations and also have a clear definition of what makes you different from your competitors.
On the other hand, investigating the local business environment and your competitors will help you define where you should position your second space and what your offering should be in order to meet the existing demand.
You can do such research on your own or you can outsource this analysis to consulting experts, whose experience will ease the process.
Once you’ve made up your mind on the location and have signed the lease, it’s time to start working on setting up your space for the launch.
Planning the ratio between open space, offices, and meeting rooms is the very first step of the preparation process. As offices and meeting rooms are the top revenue streams for coworking spaces, make sure to plan them properly.
Also, there are three essential systems that are crucial for the launch of the space: internet, door access, and contracts and invoicing software. Those are enough to make sure you have your space running properly for the go-live day.
Hiring new members is also important. Given the essence of multi-location management, it’ll be impossible for you to be in both locations all the time, so growing your team and having someone to help you with operations and sales will be essential.
Hiring an Operations/General Manager (or giving this role to someone from your existing team) would be your best first step. You’ll need someone to help you with all day-to-day tasks, answer calls, meet suppliers, and help you with managing subcontractors, visitors, etc.
Eventually, you might think of expanding your team with a Community Manager.
It’s never too early to start selling your second coworking space. To attract the right leads that you or your salesperson can convert to customers, put effort into marketing.
The earlier you start filling up your coworking space, the better. After all, you wouldn’t like to find yourself in a situation where you launch and you don’t have any members.
A good starting point is to set up the hype for your new location within your current community. Some members might find their new office in your second space, and others might bring a friend who’s looking for a workplace.
Use all your digital channels, like your website and your social media profiles, to spread the word about your new space. Pay special attention to your website and optimize it for search engines.
You might also find it useful to reach out to local media with a short and informative announcement about the upcoming launch of your second space.
The truth is community emerges naturally. It can be neither replicated nor forced, but you can try and inspire each “new community” with your vision and the same values that are driving you as a business.
For example, if one of your core differentiators is to be helpful with the service you offer and encourage your community members to grow, support that in your new location as well.
Of course, it’s good to follow the best practices for building a successful community but have in mind a lot of it comes from you as a founder and your team. If everybody’s on the same page about your vision and values, things should start developing on their own.
Get your free copy of “The Ultimate Guide to Successfully Expanding Your Coworking Space”, where you can find detailed information and first-hand tips on growing your business from top industry experts.
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