6/5/2019

How Successful Spaces Grow Into Chains

With more than 2,000 coworking locations opening up in 2018, the coworking industry is constantly evolving to keep up with the demands of its members. Last year, 65.3% of the coworking spaces that opened up were new businesses. However, the other 34.7% were either chains or an expansion of current coworking spaces. What helps these expansions to stand apart and succeed? Here are how some coworking spaces grow successfully into chains, while others fail.

Coworking Chains Clearly Establish the Brand

There might be dozens of different coworking spaces to choose from in major business hubs and cities. The demand for flexible working conditions have caused many unique coworking spaces to pop up. The ones that succeed and thrive build a distinctive brand that fits the needs of its community members. These types of coworking spaces go beyond just providing the basic amenities, like a variety of workspace options, access control, high-speed internet, and more. They might provide a niche space for artists and other creatives, tech innovation labs, musicians, and much more.  

The Wing is one example of a coworking space that established a clear community-based brand. It started as a female-only coworking space because its founders wanted to create an environment that was safe for women to work. Now the coworking space allows all genders, but it still stays true to its original purpose of building a feminist coworking space while expanding locations spaces in New York, Washington D.C., London, and more. The Wing is thriving due to its unflagging focus on its mission to serve a specific demographic.

Convenient Locations

According to the 2017 DeskMag Global Coworking survey, one of the most important factors that people consider before joining a coworking space is the location. With the rise of more and more coworking spaces in key markets, people can be pickier, and therefore will pick a space that is closer to their home, minimizing their commuting time.

Coworking space owners should therefore carefully consider the location of their first coworking space. Placing it in the heart of the city, or close to public transport can help increase the attractiveness of the space. Building a strong first location can give you the funds and momentum you need to create a second space in an underserved area.

Take CLIK Collective, for example, a coworking space in Kensington, Australia, is easily accessible by road or by train. Coworking members can easily get lunch at the nearby local cafes, shop at the nearby village, and send letters at the post office,  all within meters of the coworking space. Having all of these outside amenities within walking distance can be a huge selling point for potential members in cities large and small.

Increase Your Profit Potential

In the beginning stages of a coworking space there is a definable maximum for monthly revenue. The primary revenue stream comes from membership fees, membership packages, or renting out certain equipment. The most successful coworking spaces quickly learn how to maximize the profitability per square foot, allowing them to make more money each month.

Successful coworking chains like WeWork, have expanded outside of the world of coworking and have acquired a slew of companies that help the company extend its brand and create a business ecosystem, with coworking at the center. WeWork has bought the likes of MeetUp, a website that helps people meet in the real world; Flatiron School, a private coding academy; Conductor, a digital marketing startup, and dozens more. WeWork is also trying to expand into services like housing, fitness, and even schools for members' children. By diversifying their services, WeWork is able to meet more of their member's needs and ensure that they are spending their money at WeWork instead of another company.
Coworking spaces that have managed to succeed and open multiple locations have done so through careful market research, diversifying their offerings, and choosing convenient locations. The companies understand what their coworking members are looking for, and aim to fill as many needs as possible.

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