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.