At Novel Coworking, we believe in the inspiration and flexibility that a coworking space can provide; in fact, we have built our entire business around this model. One of the most frequent questions we get asked is, “How can we get the most out of a coworking space?” In this post, we will give you 10 ideas for putting your coworking space to use.
Before you even consider a coworking space, decide why you need one. If working in a coffee shop has been a disaster, and there are too many temptations to slack off by working from home, then it is important to consider coworking as an option. Although there is a financial cost to acquiring a coworking space, knowing and understanding the benefits that such an investment can bring will help lead you in the coworking direction.
Network With Your Neighbors
Coworking spaces provide countless opportunities not only to promote your business, but to meet other business owners, entrepreneurs, and contractors. Take the time to introduce yourself and get to know your coworking community. You may just find someone you can help, or someone who can help you. For example, maybe your company has struggled to generate sufficient business in getting started. There may well be a cutting-edge marketer who also works from the coworking space. Or an attorney that specializes in startups. Why not speak to them, and offer your services at a special deal in return for some legal or marketing expertise. This provides both parties with an opportunity to collaborate and one that may never have happened outside the walls of a coworking space!
Introducing yourself is never as simple as it sounds, especially when the other person could be busy with work. Try making small talk at the coffee machine early in the morning, or join a happy hour in the evening. There’s always an opportunity to meet people in a coworking space.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Displaying Your Passion and Enthusiasm
Personal recommendations have long since been one of the best ways of generating new business. Whenever you are at work in a coworking space, always talk about your skill set and job with passion and enthusiasm. This is the best way of standing out from similar companies, and for developing a solid rapport with your coworking neighbors.
At some point, they may be asked if they know a good photographer for instance. If they have seen your work and experienced the passion and dedication you have for the subject, it is highly likely that they will recommend you to their friends and family. That strategy alone can be the perfect way to grow your business, but it only works if you engage with your co-workers, and display your passion for what you do. They are highly unlikely to recommend you if either they have no idea what you do, or if you are always miserable and anti-social.
Make Use Of Inexpensive Promotional Merchandise
In every office across the world, pens, rulers, and staplers are like gold: valuable commodities nobody can ever find. This provides the perfect opportunity for a bit of intelligent and inexpensive self-marketing.
Invest in a few hundred pens, pencils, and even chargers, all with your brand on it. Leave the majority of the items on your desk, but don’t be afraid to place some in the kitchen area, beside the coffee machine. Very quickly people will start to use those products, or take them with them on business trips, automatically promoting your business. The other added advantage is that you don’t have to push anything; it will happen automatically. Be careful not to overdo this tactic- some people become averse to intensive advertising, even on office supplies they need.
Be (Genuinely) Friendly and Sociable
One of the traps people can easily fall into is always looking for the opportunity to sell. Whether through determination or fear of failure, the problem is that this can have the opposite effect. People who are simply trying to grab a cup of coffee in the kitchen area are not necessarily interested in the hard sell and so very quickly people will start to avoid you. It doesn’t always have to be about business. Take the time to get to know people on a personal level outside of work, and it may pay off in other ways down the line. Visit them in their office if they don’t work in the coworking space too often. Check out these simple tips which might give you some ideas of good etiquette when starting in your new coworking space.
Utilize Your Coworking Space’s Amenities
Regardless of which coworking plan or tier you choose, you’ll have access to a ton of amenities that you wouldn’t ordinarily have just working at home. Instead of spending more company money on supplies and services, first check what’s available in your coworking space. At every Novel Coworking location, that includes free fiber-optic Wi-Fi, an espresso bar, beer on-tap, storage space, conference rooms, and administrative support. These additional features are easy to forget in the midst of your work, but don’t forget about them! They can also come in handy when you have visitors to your office- you can quickly offer them a coffee or a drink without having to run down to the closest cafe or bar.
Explore Your Location
Your coworking space isn’t in the middle of the desert or the boring suburbs- it’s in the heart of vibrant commercial districts. During your lunch break or after a work day, take a few minutes to walk around and find new restaurants, bars, and other attractions. You may be surprised to see what you discover.
Take Novel Coworking’s coworking space in Chicago for example. The Novel Coworking building is close to city transit such as the Metra and the CTA, but it’s also just a walk away from some of the city’s finest locations, such as the Art Institute, Millenium Park, and the Bank of America Theatre. Novel Coworking’s coworking space in Houston is close to City Hall and the Penzoil Tower, a hot spot for great restaurants and retailers, as well as other businesses worth connecting with.
Host and Attend an Event
Most coworking spaces allow you to rent space for a fee, and you can use that towards promoting your service, hosting a networking event, or just having a fun team happy hour. At Novel Coworking, workers are no strangers to the Lunch and Learn events, which offer free food for those that RSVP to a business’s presentation or workshop during lunch. There have even been special events, such as College Night, Halloween Parties, and Margarita Mondays. Just make sure to give the coworking staff a heads up.
Refer A Friend Or Colleague
Novel Coworking offers a referral reward for inviting your friends, business partners, or colleagues to sign up. You could net up to $1000 depending on the plan they choose. Besides the referral reward, this could be a great way to develop your business relationships while working more efficiently in person. Imagine coming into the office every day, getting to work with driven individuals you already know and are in need of an affordable office!
At Novel Coworking, we have met countless businesses, from spiritual counselors to ad agencies. We firmly believe that a coworking space is a perfect environment for the majority of businesses, bringing with it many advantages, some of which are not instantly obvious. For individuals and businesses currently in a co-working space, whether at Novel Coworking or another type of space, we encourage you to take at least one of these suggestions and put them into action. Not only will you see the benefits for yourself, but your coworking space will become a more open and educational environment for everyone. Check back regularly for the latest coworking ideas that may benefit your business.