Why Coworking Spaces are Best for Launching Your Startup

There are plenty of stories about startups launched from basements and garages. Those tales are exciting, but the truth is that most successful startups need a space that’s a bit more legitimate. Your home is no place to meet with clients or to create a productive workspace. Renting an office suite is cost-prohibitive.

If you’re struggling to find a launching pad for your startup, you’re not alone. Fortunately, your solution may be more accessible than you realize. Coworking spaces were designed for remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to work together in shared working spaces.

Flexible Options for Startups

Unlike renting standard office space, coworking is flexible. Depending on the specific layout of the coworking space you use, you might have the option to lease a small office, pay for a storefront, rent a dedicated desk, or hot desk. The latter option is when you pay a daily rate to use whatever desk is available. If you don’t need a workspace, some coworking spaces offer business mailing addresses, access to meeting rooms, and use of office equipment. Since contracts are very short term, you can upgrade as you need, or reduce the services you use.

Lease and payment options are flexible as well. Many coworking spaces allow month-to-month agreements. Many also allow you to pay a daily rate for hotdesking or access to other amenities. If you aren’t convinced, many established companies such as Uber, Grab my Essay, Spotify, Studicus, and IndieGoGo launched in coworking spaces.

You Can Find a Coworking Space That Matches Your Style

Not only can you find a space that meets your business requirements, but you can also find one that matches your working style. For example, there are spaces that cater to people in specific niches. If you live near a larger city, you will likely find coworking spaces that cater to tech startups, and others that specialize in providing space to creatives. Some are made for people who are dedicated to operating their businesses in a manner that supports ethics, sustainability, and wellbeing. There are even spaces that have been created for women business owners specifically.

Would you prefer to be a member of a coworking community, or to simply use the space provided to get your work done? Many spaces are laid out in a way that encourages communal interaction. They may have break rooms, open floor plans, or hold regular networking events. Others cater to more of a ‘heads down’ audience.

5 Other Benefits for Using a Coworking Space to Launch Your Startup

If you’re still on the fence, consider these other benefits.

1.   You Can Control Your Own Growth

Before coworking spaces, you had two choices. Operate from home or in coffee shops, or rent office space with a long term lease. That often meant committing to something without knowing if your business is truly ready for that step, or staying in a place that you were outgrowing. Coworking spaces give you the ability to control your growth. For example, you can move from hot desking to leasing a dedicated desk, to renting a storefront or enclosed office. If you need to downsize, you can do that as well.

Jordan Pillar, a freelance writer for BestEssay.Education says, “You’ll find that budgeting is also easier. In a coworking space, you don’t have to worry about building maintenance or utilities. You simply pay the agreed fees to access the space and amenities you need.”

2.   Access to Amenities You Couldn’t Otherwise Afford

Would it be feasible for you to purchase a 3-D printer? What about a gourmet, espresso machine? Do you have the equipment available in your home office to handle a video conference with potential clients from across the globe? Could you do it without looking like a bunch of kids from your high school A/V club?

If the answer is no, you are not alone. Most startup owners don’t have the funds to buy specialized equipment like this. It’s also not practical to invest in equipment that you may not use regularly. Fortunately, many coworking space owners have invested in these amenities, because they know they can make up for the cost in their rental fees. You get to enjoy using equipment and technology that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.

Ask for a tour of any coworking space you are considering. You may be pleasantly surprised by the extras available to you. Many spaces include free coffee and snacks. Some even stock local microbrews.

3.   Increased Professionalism

Whether it’s fair or not, appearances matter. If you run your business from your basement, you risk being treated…as if you run a business from your basement. That’s not a great position to be in when you’re already the new guy on the street.

When you rent a coworking space, you create an aura of legitimacy. You’ll have an office phone and fax, a mailing address in a business district rather than your home, and access to the equipment you need to present an image of professionalism.

4.   Business Support and Advice

If it’s been set up to foster startups and help freelancers get started, your local coworking space may also be a great source of business support and advice. Many spaces also function as startup incubators and accelerators. As a member, you may have access to mentoring, learning sessions, and tools that are created specifically to help you create a successful business.

5.   Great Networking Opportunities

Finally, you’ll be sharing space with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. That’s a space full of potential contacts all in one place. Even better, many coworking spaces hold regular networking events so their clients can get to know one another. You never know when you might introduce yourself to a potential client or referral.

Final Thoughts: What to Look for in a Coworking Space

Before you pay for your coworking space membership, consider the following:

  • Is the location convenient to your home and clients?
  • Are you getting the right amount of space?
  • Is your business a good fit for the community and space?
  • Will you have the space and resources you need?

If you can’t find a space that is a perfect fit, consider giving it a try anyway. The beauty of this option is that you aren’t forced into any long term obligations.

Nicole D. Garrison is a content creator and strategist who writes for a number of websites for marketing specialists. She is known for a detail-oriented approach to research and writing. Nicole is a contributor on WowGrade and has her own blog on LiveInspiredMagazine. In her spare time, she is interested in beekeeping and running.

5 Tech Trends Small Businesses Should Be Investing In

We live in a golden age for small businesses, where all the tools and resources you could need are available at a single tap. It can, however, be hard to know which tools to select, especially when it comes to tech. It’s easy to be confused by all the options, which makes it hard to know where to put your money. As always, we are here to help. Below are five trends in small business tech that you will not regret investing in.

Mobile

Mobile has become such an ingrained part of everyday life that it can hardly be called a trend anymore. Still, many small businesses fail to see just how powerful mobile tech can be. Did you know, for example, that mobile ads have 10 times the redemption rate of other online coupons and 3 times the click rate? Optimizing your website, ads, and email campaigns for mobile will bring you closer to your consumers and make them more likely to make a purchase.

Mobile technology can also be leveraged on the operations side. According to CNBC, small businesses save an average of 5.6 hours a week by using mobile apps. These range from communication tools to time-tracking apps, bookkeeping tech, and more.

Shipping Automation

If you sell a physical product online, you will already be familiar with how confusing shipping can be. It’s essential that your customers get their orders fast and without hassle, but this can be a nightmare to plan on your end, especially if you are just starting out.

Shipping automation takes all the manual work out of the equation so you can focus on what you do best. FitSmallBusiness ranks ShippingEasy as the best overall option for small businesses, with ShipStation being better for high volume and truck freight shipping and Ordero being best for more complex inventory.

If you aren’t currently in e-commerce but would like an additional revenue stream, you can consider adding dropshipping to your business. This model ships products directly from a third-party inventory to your customer, so you hold no physical stock at all; This works particularly well if you have products that complement your current offerings, such as accessories, books, or gadgets. 

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that encompasses the shift to devices connected to the internet, from home assistants to WiFi-enabled cars and appliances. Although this has mostly happened in the home, businesses can also make use of this trend. According to Forbes, popular business applications for IoT include the use of virtual assistants, sensors that can quickly identify equipment faults, and saving money with smart controls for light and energy.

Cloud Storage

If you have invested in any tech, chances are it is cloud storage: indeed, 92 percent of small and medium businesses are using at least one form of it. The cloud can save you money, protect your data, and make it easier to find and access the information you need.

For those who have not yet taken the leap — or for those looking to upgrade their cloud storage — it is important to choose carefully. The best solution for you will depend on your needs. For instance, Google Drive is a great efficiency and collaboration tool, but pCloud is perfect for small startups who need the option to scale at their own pace.

Software Integration

On the opposite end of cloud computing, software integration is woefully underutilized by small businesses. This form of integration allows your various apps to work seamlessly, reducing redundancy and boosting productivity. For example, if you have invested in CRM software, you will not be making the most of it until you integrate with other tools like your social media, email, and accounting software. Trends can be fickle, so well-proven ones like the above are what you should be focusing on. That said, do keep an ear to the ground: what are other companies using? Which new tech could be revolutionary? Basics like mobile and the cloud give you a good foundation, but fully embracing the power of new tech is what will help you get an edge on the competition