5 Ways of Making Your CoWorking Space Stand Out
1) Stand for something. Make it known.
A remarkable idea is one that draws from strong belief, establishes rationale and translates to action. If your mission is vague and inarticulate, it will be forgettable.
Ask yourself why you are in the business of coworking spaces. Do you want to make the office a happy place that people are happy to return to? Do you believe coworking plays a role in leveling the playing field for all sexes? Are you targeting a space that takes away the stresses of urban life and sets people free to achieve their potential? So that the modern professional doesn’t lose touch with the rhythms of nature, do you envision a space where the outdoors intermingle with the indoors?
Identify your raison-de-etre and integrate it in all marketing communication across platforms. Whether you set up offices under trees, support women entrepreneurs, get into partnerships with cab companies accounting firms and creches or host comedy gigs every Friday night, make sure to follow through on your marketing promise.
2) Specialise. Service a niche market.
With small and large companies, entrepreneurs and employed personnel, engineers, artists, designers, marketers all seeking out coworking spaces, the time has come for spaces to be able to differentiate their offerings. While your coworking space will always have a changing mix of clientele, you can choose to cater to diverse groups within a particular segment. For instance, you could focus on agri-tech or e-commerce or small pharma or even the arts industry. Based on your focus, you could then gear up with adequate infrastructure for internet security, testing laboratories or photo studios and training areas as the need may be and your coworking space will be known for its service to a niche market.
3) Make a bold move. Catch them by (pleasant) surprise.
A bold move grabs attention. If you are a coworking space that believes in doing away with closed offices and reconnecting with nature, don’t simply create a wall of potted plants at the entrance. Create a mini rainforest! Or design secluded meeting rooms with full wi-fi access under palm trees.
If you’re focusing on aesthetic – beautiful workspaces that inspire your clientele – invest in a detail that wows your clients. It could be a famous work of art, a sun roof, a baroque staircase or traditional Indian decor right down to a central courtyard.
If you wish to work towards collaboration between artists and businesses, don’t merely host after-work meet-and-greet events, create a coworking space that has laptop stations and meeting rooms weaving in and out of art galleries or have resident artists set up studios in your coworking space.
4) Find partners. Create a support system for your clients.
One way of standing out is to keep adding incremental value to your existing service. Can you find partners to provide accounting and financial services to the entrepreneurs who work out of your space? Can you negotiate to get better air fares, cab rates or holiday packages for your clients? Can you get world class trainers to your facilities? Can you build a network of mentors to support your community of coworkers? Can you provide options for healthcare, child care, career counselling? The list is endless and if you prove that you are constantly working to support your community, it is inevitable that you will be recognised for it.
5) Experiment. Start a trend.
What better than if you start a trend rather than follow it? Calculate your risk and make place for experimentation.
For instance, some coworking spaces have identified that many people work on the go and travel so much that they consider paying for office space a waste of resources. However, they do need an office address for official communication, a dedicated phone line to not miss any business calls while they’re on a plane and a professional assistant to forward their calls, keep track of their emails and schedule their meetings. The solution is in a virtual office so that people travelling anywhere in the world could work out of a virtual office in Delhi perhaps!
Whatever you do, remember that ‘standing out’ is a not a one-time trophy but a rigorous and continuous endeavour.