There you are at your bedroom desk or kitchen table, pounding away or your laptop and slamming back cans of Redbull. It’s 1 AM and you think you have enough caffeine to last until 5, maybe 6 if you’re willing to choke down the last sachet of instant coffee.
At 2:45, you pause to wallow in a little self-pity. Bootstrapping for the past 3 months has been an uphill battle, and honestly kind of lonely. You’re single-handedly dealing with every aspect of your organization, or if you’re lucky, you have cofounder or a couple employees who are also working their tails off (but why does it still feel so lonely?).
The only people who understand the complex obstacles you’re facing are other entrepreneurs themselves. If you want meaningful support from fellow founders, you’ll have to venture out of your bedroom. (It’s starting to smell like stale pizza and dirty laundry anyway). You won’t have to go far though, because a like-minded community is probably nearby – creating, collaborating, and amplifying their businesses at a coworking space right in your area.
What is a Coworking Space?
A coworking space is a shared working environment with an infrastructure unlike the traditional office workspace. These spaces usually have open-plan layouts to facilitate free movement and flexibility in work style. Members are often startup founders, but may also be freelancers or local entrepreneurs. Everyone, however, is tied together by their ambition to succeed and the desire to work how they want, when they want.
The first official coworking spaces were established over 10 years ago, but those little offices and cafes could never have predicted the coworking phenomenon as it exists now. There are innumerable types of coworking environments today, each with different kinds of people, services, and vibes along with their own unique stories.
Benefits to Boost Your Startup
Whether you’re just launching your startup or you’ve already assembled a team, there are countless benefits to getting set up in a coworking space. In fact, research has shown that startups that work from a coworking space have a higher chance of success than those that do not.
Working alongside like-minded entrepreneurs and other talented professionals can truly make an impact on growth in both the short and long term. Let’s look at what that means logistically:
- Increased Motivation
Startup teams that use coworking spaces have a higher likelihood of staying motivated and satisfied with their work job than those working in traditional workplaces. Research tends to attribute this to increased interaction other startup teams, as well as the empowerment of feeling like a part of a bigger entrepreneurial ecosystem. And teams that feel inspired are far more likely produce their best work.
- Networking Opportunities and Events
When you’re in the startup world, your network is just as important as your skills. One of the greatest advantages of working from a coworking space is the opportunity to connect with peers in your industry. Every day, new ideas are born, problems are solved, and business partnerships are formed in coworking spaces. There’s no substitute for surrounding yourself with goal-driven, passionate people who are constantly generating, testing, and collaborating on ideas with one another.
The coworking spaces of today know that their members are there for the network as much as the work space, so they often host community events. Not only does that give startup employees plenty of networking and learning opportunities – it also means you as a founder don’t have to stress about organizing social activities for your team.
- Cost Effectiveness
Setting up your team at the perfect coworking space is almost certainly cheaper than doing the same at a personal office space. Coworking spaces keep their group rates very affordable to encourage startups to join. And for you, making the switch may even generate enough savings to put additional funding into your company and propel the business forward even faster.
- Flexible or No Obligation Contracts
Coworking spaces tend to be very flexible when your business needs change. If your team needs to grow and you find that you need your own space, you can easily make that transition, as most spaces don’t require lock-in or long-term contracts. Month-to-month payments are usually all you need to secure your team desks or a small office at a space. That’s what makes coworking spaces so ideal solo entrepreneurs and startups in the early stages, before they move on to bigger things.
- Access To Basic (and Deluxe) Amenities
When launching your business, the last thing you should be worrying about are the finer details, like dealing with Wi-Fi issues or purchasing toilet paper. Coworking spaces provide all these basic amenities so that you can focus on your work and productivity.
Sometimes, major software vendors will support coworking spaces by offering special discounts and deals to startup teams that join. For example, Impact Hub Singapore offers its qualifying seed-stage startups access to the “Hubspot for Startups” program, which means a 90% discount on Hubspot’s sales and marketing products.
Tips for Choosing a Coworking Space
Before choosing a coworking space, you’ll want take every aspect of your business present and projected into consideration. Here are some important factors to keep in mind as you do your research and schedule visits to various spaces around town:
- Consider Your Startup Needs
Create a comprehensive list of the top needs and wants based on the goals of your startup. Then use it evaluate coworking spaces, making sure to choose the one that is closely aligned with your business’ specific needs.
The best place to start your search for a coworking space is to first evaluate your goals and needs. You want to ensure you choose space that suits all your requirements. Ask yourself what you intend for your startup to gain from using the shared working environment. Then you can prioritize the features you’re looking for in a coworking space as you search.
One goal you may have for your startup is to hold more meetings. Designated meeting rooms would then be a top priority for your ideal coworking space.
Top priorities for many startups may include a certain internet speed, shared printers, or even access to your work space 24 hours a day.
However, be sure that you don’t confuse needs with wants when making your decision. While having free coffee at work may be a nice benefit, it’s probably not a necessity that you should be actively seeking out when searching for your coworking space.
- Consider Your Current Startup Stage
Choose a coworking space that caters to your current business stage, but also has the potential to act as catalyst to your business.
The next key consideration is the current stage of your startup. Are you just starting out? Do you want the extra space to so you can make some hires? Or do you already have a small team?
If it has been just you and your dog up to this point, making the transition to a coworking environment can help bring the business a much-needed sense of professionalism and connection, along with an organized office infrastructure.
If you already have a working team, then choose a coworking space that will enable you to easily communicate and collaborate on your projects. The better integrated a team is, the greater the likelihood of achieving business goals.
- Scope Out the Demographics of the Coworking Space
To maintain high productivity and employee morale, make sure that the shared working space you choose fits closely with the demographics and culture of your startup.
In order to make the most out of the coworking network, you’ll want a space that caters to other professionals in fields related to your own. Ggo for an environment that will not only give you right kind of space, but also maximize your chances of meeting talented individuals who can help you improve your business. You’ll want to investigate if a space’s members tend toward independent entrepreneurs, creative freelancers, software startups, or a different demographic entirely.
You can further suss out the members of a coworking space by bringing some team members to visit a space with you. You want to ensure your colleagues will be comfortable working in a close environment with the other members of the community.
- Location, Location, Location
The location you choose must support the growth of your business and the well-being of your team.
Your coworking space should be easily accessible for every member of your team. It should also be conveniently located for potential clients or investors when the need arises.
Company culture also plays an important role in which location you choose. For instance, if your startup is particularly health-centered, you may want to choose a coworking setup with fitness facilities on the premises or nearby.
- Look Towards Future Needs
Getting locked into a space that doesn’t fit your needs anymore is frustrating for your whole team. Therefore, consider your future needs when evaluating any potential space.
While a particular coworking space may seem like the best option today, it’s important to envision your long-term plans, especially with regards to outgrowing the space. If there’s a chance you might need to break a membership agreement, don’t choose a space that requires a contract you’re not comfortable with.
With so many many spaces out there and new ones opening every day, you’re bound to find a coworking space with the right facilities, amenities, and community to support your startup. The coworking space you choose may very have the perfect community willing to help you take your business to the next level.