Your Guide to Setting Up & Marketing a Co-Working Space
Co-working spaces have been big news in recent years with the rise and fall of behemoth co-working space company WeWork.
But just because we have seen some businesses fail in the area doesn’t mean that co-working spaces are a thing of the past. In fact, they are very much a thing of the future. During the Covid pandemic, many businesses have moved to flexible or fully remote working arrangements. Although this offers employees a great level of flexibility, many of them cannot or do not want to work from home on a permanent basis - offering a great opportunity to those who provide flexible working spaces.
This is actually a trend that was around far before the pandemic. Some stats suggest that since 1998 the number of employees regularly working from home has increased by 2.73 million, now at 5.6 million, in the UK.
So, the opportunity is clear. However, if you are considering starting a co-working space you may be scratching your head about where to start. Well, worry not, because we have put together this handy guide to help you.
Quick Guide: Starting a Co-Working Space
Location, location, location. You hear it all the time, but it really does matter.
A relatively well-run co-working space located in the perfect locations will need next to no marketing in order to ensure full occupancy and profitability. However, securing and paying for an office in a highly desirable location can be a little more difficult than it sounds.
The first thing to consider when deciding on a location is what demand there for a co-working space. Ask yourself:
Is there a dense population of working-aged individuals?
What industry do these individuals typically work in?
Are those individuals able to work from flexible locations?
Would those individuals be able to afford a flexible workspace?
What alternatives are open to them?
Once you have an idea of the demand, you need to seek out a location that is easy for those people to reach. This could either be closely located in a densely populated area or easily reachable via public transport. You may also try and pick a location near other desirable businesses such as coffee shops and restaurants in order to appeal to your target audience.
Starting a co-working space isn’t the cheapest business. You need to consider the following costs:
Cost of renting a building (if you aren’t buying it)
Cost of buying a building, such as a mortgage and solicitor fees (if you are buying it)
Bills such as electric, water, gas etc
Service fees such as internet (which will need to be high speed in order to attract customers)
Unless you have a big pot of money from other business ventures or investments - you are probably going to have to secure funding to start your co-working space.
There are lots of options available to you when it comes to funding a business, especially if you are just looking for low levels of cash to cover small expenses or to get you started. However, if you are purchasing a property then you will need to seek specialist advice in getting a mortgage for business purposes.
Decide Your USPs
Unless you are setting up a coworking space in a small town, there is probably already some competition on the market. So, it is well worthwhile deciding what you are going to offer your customers that will make you stand out from the crowd.
Clarifying your Unique Selling Points (USPs) will help you communicate the benefits of picking you over your competitors. Here are a few ideas that you might implement in your co-working space:
How your office is laid out will help you appeal to different customers. For example, if you offer large unfurnished spaces in your office you are more likely to attract small businesses with multiple employees who will want to set up their own space. Alternatively, if you offer open-plan rooms with desks, chairs and other essential facilities you are more likely to attract one-man bands and freelancers.
Your goal is to create the best suited and most productive office space possible for your target audience.
You may decide to only market your co-working space to a specific industry. This will make it more appealing to those within that industry who would like to network with others. For example, if you target those in the construction industry, many of your customers would benefit from networking with each other, sharing information on projects and supporting each other.
Office perks can be a great way to attract customers through the doors. These can really include anything, here are a few examples:
Discounts at local restaurants and coffee shops
Free tea and coffee
Access to the office space during the weekends
Fun communal areas with games such as table football
As well as considering office layout, you will need to think about the dynamic spaces you offer your customers. For example, you may provide modern meeting rooms that are designed for high energy meetings. These could include everything from big screens for reviewing presentations to rooms centred around large whiteboards for high-energy idea creation and development sessions.
You may also offer spaces with specialist facilities to appeal to your target audience. For example, this could include podcasting stations for content creators or creative businesses.
You need to do a few key things before you can start marketing your coworking space:
Workout where your coworking space will be located
Secure finance for your co-working space
Purchase or rent your space
Kit out your space with everything you are offering your customers
Define your USPs
Once you have done all of these you can start to reach out to your target audience. There are countless ways to do this, below are a few we strongly recommend:
Social media is a great tool for reaching your target audience in a space where their attention is already invested. It is also free to join and quick to get involved in.
Once you have spent time and money making your coworking space look great, start collecting content and sharing it on your social channels. Even if your customers hear about your space elsewhere, social will be one of the first places they look to get a feel for the atmosphere.
This works especially well when you have moved some people into your space and you can take photos of the space in action.
Although social media is a great tool, it can take some time to build up an audience. Using paid ads will help you reach who you want when you want with the messaging you want - as long as you are willing to pay for the privilege.
With targeting, you are able to only pay to reach those who matter to your business. For example, you may run a Facebook ad campaign that targets local individuals who work in the tech industry.
Local marketing methods are often overlooked but can work brilliantly when marketing your co-working space. For example, if you have located your space near a densely populated area, running ads in local newspapers or posting leaflets through doors will help you quickie and efficiently reach your target audience.
Getting Your Co-Working Space Started
With a massive increase in demand, there is a great opportunity to start a coworking space now. However, with a big investment to get started, it is worthwhile doing your research first. Use this guide to get you started with everything you need to know.
Red17 are the UK’s leading online supplier of sign, print and display products. The team at Red17 have extensive experience in helping businesses leverage signs to increase efficiency and promote themselves in a way that grabs customer attention in the right way, at the right time.