- A coworking location strategy is a guide that helps you make decisions about where to open your coworking business
- It can consist of many things including city, type of building, price range, and target demographic
- When choosing the right location, it’s best to start with who your members are and what they want and build out from there
Getting started with a location strategy can be tough, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the market. Below is a framework to help you choose your next coworking space location.
What is a coworking location strategy?
A coworking location strategy is a guide that helps you make decisions about where to open your coworking business.
Creating a strong location strategy will enable you to secure the optimal location for your new coworking space—one that meets your business goals and maximizes potential opportunities.
A location strategy can consist of:
- Type of building
- Price range
- Target demographic
Defining your location strategy is about setting yourself up for long-term success. A razor-sharp location strategy ensures you’re giving yourself the greatest chance of growing your coworking business.
It’s best to determine your location strategy as part of your coworking business plan.
4 tactics for choosing your first coworking location
1. Lock down your city of choice
Consider taking a structured approach that blends both qualitative and quantitative factors when evaluating a new geography to launch your space.
One of our clients created an impressive process to help them decide where to open their next coworking location before landing on a space.
Here is a breakdown of what they did:
They started by simply writing down a list of cities they knew and liked. They then searched online for lists of the top cities in the country for:
- Millennial growth
- Job growth
- Vibrant communities
- Other factors they felt were relevant
This brought them to 24 cities, ranging from the likes of Chicago to Spokane. The next step was to research each city. They collected a vast amount of data on:
- City planning
- Small business statistics
- The local real estate market
- Various social amenities offered in each location
This helped narrow the list to ten cities.
The final stages of their analysis included making cold calls and eventually visiting four of the finalist cities, in person. They shifted from quantitative towards a more qualitative approach.
Their interactions with real estate agents, government officials, coworking space owners, and other locals played a crucial role in helping them arrive at their final decision of Columbus, Ohio.
2. Clearly define the ideal member you want to target with your coworking space
When in doubt, start with your customer. Ask yourself what kind of member you are targeting, and how this may influence where you choose to run your business.
You’ll need to decide whether you will be focusing on:
- New members that are new to coworking: Are you aiming to target a new set of prospective members? If so, you’ll need to define your target member and ensure your strategy prioritizes the locations that will appeal to that member type.
For example, if you’re targeting parents, are the locations you’re considering close to residential areas and the local schools/daycares?
- New members from competing coworking spaces: Are you confident that your services are above and beyond what your competitors are offering? If so, you’ll need to understand where the ‘hot-spots’ are for coworkers and what your key differentiators will be when going up against your competitors.
Take a look at this article about identifying your “High-Expectation Customer” for a deeper dive on defining your target member.
It’s an exercise that can have a dramatic impact on your ability to deliver value at scale.
3. Get to know your potential neighborhoods
You’ve landed on a city and on a target member. Now, you need to get to know the neighborhoods.
It’s time to put your boots on the ground and visit local store owners and consumers.
You’ll want to:
- Talk to the locals and get their perspective on the community
- Get a real feel for the area – what is the energy like?
- Gain a strong understanding of the most celebrated aspects of the community
- Understand the needs and areas for development
Ask good questions and listen – if you need a primer on how to do customer research, read the classic: Talking to Humans.
Chatting to locals will also help you to establish how strong the competition is.
This will be very important if you’re coming into a crowded space. It will help you understand how you can successfully differentiate your brand and services from what else is offered.
If you want to acquire new members who are not currently coworking, ask local retailers and prospective clients to understand if people are interested in coworking.
This is also a great time to start planting seeds for potential partnership opportunities – the most successful coworking brands offer valuable member perk programs with the best brands in their city.
4. Nail your brand position
When looking for a coworking location, there’s a lot to consider, from potential renovations you’ll need to do to what furniture you have to buy.
One thing to not leave until you’re ready to open your doors is your brand.
Do some research to understand what your prospective members are attracted to in a coworking space and how this could influence the location you choose.
This could be:
- A downtown vs rural location
- A sleek and modern vs busy and fun interior
- A larger space for collaboration
- A smaller community-based space
Why are potential members in this area going to be attracted to your coworking space? Take the time to understand them and begin to build your brand around it.
Launching a new coworking space is a big undertaking.
A well-thought-out location strategy is a great way to make the process more manageable.
It’s important that your location showcases everything that’s special about who you are and what you offer.
Highlight all of those unique little touches that will keep bringing your members back while reflecting the vibe of the neighbourhood it’s in.