Business Plan Checklist for your Coworking Space
Ramping up a new coworking space is just like starting a startup, so how about we use the same questions to plan a coworking business that tech startups use? We have put together a comprehensive checklist to help you plan and scale your space. While this may be especially useful to people new to the industry, you will see that many points may also apply to owners of existing spaces to improve efficiency, better define their brand or strengthen their community.
Before we start digging into our business model template, here is a link to WeWork’s early investor deck.
Looking for our coworking space business plan as PDF format?
Let’s dive into which business questions you should ask yourself when planning to open a coworking space.
What is your vision?
Why do you want to open the new space? To make a living? To cross-finance your own startup? To create a big coworking chain? To help your local community? All valid answers but this is something that highly defines your entire strategy. Your will have to adapt your strategy overtime, but your vision should stay intact! If you are looking for some inpiration or what to know what format works best, here is WeWork’s vision for example.
What type of problem exists that you are solving?
Are you in an area that has a high demand for workspace? Is there no real coworking space in your area? The existing spaces in your area are only focused on a specific target group and there are others still unserved? Whatever the question is, you should be aware of what issue your space will solve!
What type of shared workspace are you?
Would you consider your space as a premium facility in the market or rather an affordable solution for freelancers? Are you looking to attract primarily individuals or small teams and startups? Will you facility be well integrated with your city's business environment (through events, partnerships, etc.) or will it rather be an independent space open to anyone and without any strong connotation in terms of types of members?
- If the space is fully leased, how many desks can you charge? Rule of thumb is 60% usable sqft of your entire space while desks take 30-40sqft (source).
- How much revenue can your space generate? Here you’d need to calculate the number of hot desks vs the number of permanent desks.
- How do you expect your financial plan to look like? Check our very own coworking financial ramp up calculator below!
What is your business goal?
- Break even after X months
- Generate $X of revenue
- How do you plan to reach those? i.e. how many desks do you need to rent in what time and what type of turnover do you assume?
How does your team look like?
- Why do you have an unfair advantage over others to open the space? Do you already have 50 people who’d like to join? Did you get a good lease on prime real estate? Are you a real estate developer turned coworker?
- Who will be managing the technology? Are you planning to bring someone in-house, work with an outside services firm or be lean and do it yourself?
- Who will be managing the operations? In-house, outsource or yourself?
What is the investment needed?
- Set up cost, plenty of including cost for infrastructure like routers, internet, the lease itself, downpayment, renovation, furniture, utilities etc.
- Ongoing operations: cost for software to run the space, ongoing maintenance, salaries, etc.
- Opening cost: Market your launch event, plan your event and invite all your friends to kick things off
- Expected revenue going forward each month
It may be hard to estimate all costs accurately, so here is a good resource by Alex Hillman on how much it costs to start a coworking space.
While these are some of the main questions you'll need to address when shaping your business plan, there will be plenty of other things to evaluate more in-depth.
We collected a more extensive overview of how to launch and run a coworking space in 2018 in our updated guide, download it here for free!