- Optimize your first coworking location through intentional experimentation to make the most out of the experience
- Ideas include experimenting with your membership plans, defining your ideal member persona, and exploring different workspace offerings
Launching your first coworking space will always be a leap of faith.
You do your research and make your best estimated guess about the type of coworking space that will work well for your community. Even so, you never know how people will respond until you open.
Maximize the learnings of your first space by testing your theories and running experiments. What’s the best price point for your membership plans? Who is your space most likely to attract? Remaining agile and being open to change will give you the highest chance of success in your first space and beyond.
In this article, we’ll show you five ways to optimize your first coworking space before you expand. This will help you figure out the best way to run your business so that you can take these learnings with you for your next location!
Best practices for testing in your coworking space
Before we dive in, it’s important to lay the groundwork for testing in your coworking space. This will help ensure you are getting accurate, reliable information that you can use to grow your business.
Whenever testing an element of your space, be sure to follow the following principles:
- Take a baseline measurement of your variable
- Run the experiment for enough time and with a large enough sample size
- Only change one variable at a time
- Track your experiment against a specific KPI
These principles are best for running experiments and collecting quantitative data on things like pricing, events, member benefits, product offerings, and more.
There are also many opportunities to collect qualitative data in your coworking space by talking to your members and observing trends and behaviors in your space, such as who does your space attract and how do they interact with your business.
This guide will walk you through how to collect feedback in your coworking space and use your customer insights to build a better business.
Together, this will give you the best chance of collecting data that is accurate, reliable, and helpful in making strategic business decisions.
5 learnings to optimize your coworking space
1. Experiment with your membership plans
Offering the right kind of membership plan for your community is key to maximizing your earning potential.
Some important aspects to consider when creating plans include:
- Price point of each plan
- Part time vs. full time offerings
- Amenities that are included at each tier
- Discounts on meeting room bookings with membership types
- Access to coworking events and/or other community offerings
All of the above variables can be tested and tracked against important KPIs like number of member signups, member retention, and overall revenue.
You may also find that some plans are more popular, but other plans provide your business with the highest monthly recurring revenue. Thus, it’s important to understand exactly what it is you’re looking for and why.
You may also want to consider whether or not you’ll offer virtual coworking. After Starthub Miami began offering virtual office services, their membership base increased by over 900%, highlighting the importance of experimenting with different kinds of membership offerings
For Optix users: Reviewing your Optix Plan Analytics can take some of the guesswork out of what you should be offering. You can see which plans contribute most to your monthly recurring revenue (or MRR), which plans are most popular amongst your members, and how much MRR each individual plan you’ve created generates for your organization.
Within Optix, you can also enable member self-onboarding, allowing brand new members to register themselves and pick their starter plan. Then, you can track which of these plans are most popular as an additional metric.
2. Define your ideal member persona
People are most often attracted to coworking spaces because they’re looking for a place to work and a community of like-minded people.
What brings people to your coworking space may be the location, amenities, programming, physical design, branding, marketing, or any other combination of things. Regardless, it’s important to pay attention to what is drawing people to your space and who these people are in order to define your ideal member persona, or IMP.
Who is your first location attracting organically? Are there any common traits shared by members who have stuck around long term vs. members who churned quickly? What characteristics (personality, job, frequency of visits) lead a member to become a key influencer in your coworking venue’s community?
Ultimately, this is who you want to consider in all of the business decisions you make. The IMP should be a top consideration of how you brand your coworking venue.
- Discovering where they live will help how you choose the location of your next space
- Learning their average yearly income will help you determine the pricing model for your core memberships
- Identifying their career goals will help you design your programming
- Knowing how they spend their free time will help you decide on the events you should host in your space
Pay attention to who your space is attracting. Once you notice a pattern, tailor your offerings to fit their unique needs. In turn, this can increase your member retention and improve your revenue per member, both of which are important in running a successful business.
3. Explore different workspace offerings
Renting desks in the form of hot desks and dedicated desks is the original coworking offering. Now, there are many other space types that are just as, if not more popular, for coworking spaces. This includes:
- Private offices
- Meeting rooms
- Conference rooms
- Phone booths
- Event space
Experimenting with your workspace offerings can help you provide more value to your members while optimizing the utilization of your space.
Some of these variables may be difficult to test without drastically changing the layout of your space. However, if you consistently notice that your private offices are in demand but your hot desks are sitting empty, it’s worth considering how you can adjust the area.
This could be as simple as adding dividers or portable phone booths to open areas to create more privacy and quiet areas. It could also mean looking to add more private offices at your second location.
For Optix users: Navigate to Resource Analytics in Optix to see how your members are booking the resources within your location. This will give you useful insights into, which resources your members gravitate towards when booking their meetings as well as your resource utilization
4. Find out which events and programs your community likes the most
Every coworking community is unique. Some respond best to skill-building workshops or lunch-and-learns, while others prefer a post-work exercise class.
The best way to learn which events your users want to attend is by offering a few different kinds of events, and paying attention to the crowd they draw. This can be done by simply measuring the attendance and engagement of the events you offer.
Figuring out what types of events engage the members of your coworking space will help you:
- Create events with a higher rate of attendance
- Create a more engaged and tight-knit community
- Drive more revenue with events
- Provide more value to your community
Coworking space events are more important now than ever before, as more people are turning to coworking spaces to provide the social element and sense of community that’s been missing since the pandemic.
Thus, it’s essential to learn which events your community responds to the most and to lean into those offerings as much as you can.
5. Gather insights from your most engaged members
Ultimately, one of your most precious resources you have as an operational coworking space is your membership base. The insights that you can get from your community are invaluable in optimizing your business operations.
Take some time to talk to your most engaged community members about their experience with your space and your offerings. Ask them about their likes and dislikes, as well as their need for another space. These questions may be:
- What do you like most about the space
- What would you like to change (if anything)
- Do you travel often
- Would you be interested in working from more than one location
- Which area of the city do you feel would benefit from a coworking space
Your most engaged members are your biggest supporters. If they love where they work, they’re more than happy to support you by answering a few questions.
Your first coworking space is an extraordinary opportunity to learn about the industry, your members, and what the community needs.
Before you start your expansion plan, make sure you know what it is you’re offering is what the community wants. The easiest way to do this is by collecting data and testing your assumptions at your first location.
Take this opportunity to be open to pivoting from your original ideas and making changes when necessary. This will give you the greatest chance of growth!