Business Plan Checklist for Your Coworking Space
The coworking industry is becoming a lucrative worldwide phenomenon, so now is the perfect time to break into the business. We've put together a checklist to help you envision, assemble, and scale your own unique space. Whether you're brand new to the industry or you already know the ropes, you can use these tips to improve efficiency, define your brand and strengthen your space's community.
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1. Define your vision
Why do you want to open the new space? To make a living? To cross-finance your own startup? To create a national coworking chain? To help your local community?
All are valid answers, but this important work will help define your entire strategy. You will have to adapt your strategy over time, but your vision should stay intact to make sure your brand is consistent and your members feel valued. For example, read WeWork's original pitch deck—their initial vision still hasn't changed, even as their business has scaled up.
2. Solve a specific problem
There needs to be a niche for your new coworking business, and thankfully there are plenty. Maybe your area has a high demand for coworking spaces beyond coffee shops and libraries. Maybe the existing spaces in your area are too focused on one type of worker. On the other hand, maybe the other spaces are too broad.
You're now in the business of problem-solving, and starting with a focus and expanding from there should be your main goal. For example, Google started out as a simple search engine that used links to determine the importance of individual pages on the internet. Today, they still dominate their niche, but they also offer dozens of services on top of that—mail, calendars, maps, even phones. To move on to something bigger, you first need to start on one thing. Start by analyzing your competitors and planning out a competitive analysis.
3. Define your space
Envision your target market's dream coworking environment. Is your space a premium facility for companies or an affordable solution for freelancers? Is your primary audience big business or small teams? Will you facility integrate with your city's business environment through events and partnerships or will it be an independent space open to anyone?
Deciding these will help you more easily plan out your membership pricing, amenities, marketing and even location. Being generic doesn't cut it. Think deeply about how to stand out against the rest and add value.
4. List your business goals
This is the tough work that will help you the most in the long run. If your space is fully leased, plan out the number of desks you can offer and monetize. Shoot for using 30 to 40 percent of your total space as desk space. Use this figure to calculate how much revenue your space can generate, including comparing the number of hot desks against the number of permanent desks.
Start to formulate a financial plan for your vision. Use our very own free financial ramp up calculator to get started. Now think about goals further down the line. When will you break even? How much revenue will you generate? How much turnover do you expect? Which amenities and cosmetic choices can you afford?
Now think about the investment you'll need. This includes set up cost, like furniture and internet service; opening cost, like a launch event; and ongoing operations, like maintenance and salaries. There are more costs than you might initially imagine, so research more with coworking guru Alex Hillman's online guide.
Define your value proposition, cost structure, revenue streams, customer segments, key channels and marketing strategy. You'll need to know these answers inside and out.
5. Pick your team
Every great business starts with a great team. Consider every side of the plan; a technology expert, operations manager, and a marketing person are essential, whether you hire them, do those jobs yourself or outsource to freelancers.
Look into real estate partners, investors, and other day-to-day employees to round out your core group. A solid team will increase your space's value and pave the way for future growth.
6. Look ahead
Remember: this is a broad overview. 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've collected a more extensive overview of how to launch and run a coworking space in 2019 with our updated guide, which you can download for free.
And get excited—coworking is showing signs of massive growth, and this is your chance to improve the world of business while setting yourself up for success.