Are you equipped to start a coworking business?

This is the first installment of ‘Starting A Coworking Business’—we have four in total! Click here for parts two, three, and four.

Before you get too far along in your quest to start a coworking business, you must start with a personal evaluation to confirm that this is the right business opportunity for you. You must look at your skills, your contacts, and how the success or failure of your endeavor will affect you.

What Knowledge and Skills Do You Have that Will Help?

To start a coworking business, you will need a similar set of skills as you would with any other entrepreneurship opportunity. The most important skills include financial management, marketing and customer service, negotiation, communication, leadership, planning, time management and delegation, networking, and problem solving. You should also have the drive to succeed. It will be helpful if you also have knowledge of how to run another type of company or of how people use coworking spaces.

Which Contacts Can Assist You?

Next, take the time to evaluate what contacts you already have that can assist you in creating your coworking space. Keep in mind that you will hopefully work on networking to bulk up these contacts. Start by thinking about those who have the general knowledge, such as friends, family members, and associates who have previously started their own business with success. Then, consider those with funding, whether they are investors you have connected with or someone you happen to know is looking for a unique opportunity.

You will also want to consider the contacts you have in terms of industry insiders. Ideally, those looking to start a coworking business will know others who already run a coworking space but far enough away from your desired location, so you will not be in competition. If they do not see you as direct competition, they will be willing to share their insights and maybe even help you make inroads. At the very least, they can suggest your upcoming space to members of their coworking business who travel to your area in exchange for you returning the favor. In the best-case scenario, these industry insiders will warn you of pitfalls to avoid and provide general advice.

Finding and Evaluating Risks and Opportunity Costs

You must take the time to find as well as evaluate the risks and opportunity costs associated with your coworking space. Most of these will overlap with any other type of new business, making it incredibly easy to find online resources outlining risks from reputable business-oriented websites. The financial risk will be a big one, both for you and your investors, but you should not overlook the risk of whether there is not even a spot in the market for your company to fill.

Potential Consequences of Failure and If You Can Bear Them

Finally, take time to think about what will happen if your coworking space fails. Would you be able to bear explaining the failure to the investors who backed your idea, especially if you are close to them? Evaluate what else you will lose, such as reputation. Do not forget to determine if you are strong enough financially and emotionally to bear a potential failure. Many entrepreneurs fall into depression or anxiety following a business failure, so you need to make sure you have a support system in place to avoid this and other consequences. As with other factors, you can find numerous examples of what people experience following a business failure online; read some summaries to see if you could handle those situations.

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