How to open a coworking space business

Start your coworking business without assuming much more risk, optimizing profitability and adding value to the community

If you are new in this sector and going to open a coworking space, you will surely come up with questions such as: What can be the best location for my space? What dimensions and characteristics must have to make the business profitable? What is the business model? What is the coworking management model? What services can I offer to my potential user? What professional profile, knowledge, skills and experience should my future management team have? How can I start building my future community and how can I give them value?

Coworking is a model based around the idea of ​​space as a service. If you consider the office as a service and want adapt to the coworking model, you will start to be much nearer to your end user, getting data about their behavior, allowing you to take the decisions in the near future and offer much more customized service.

If you need help in the creation and development of your coworking project, we can advise you on how to open a coworking space business, we will accompany you on this adventure minimizing the risks. Our objective is to help owners, real estate operators and entrepreneurs to transform their buildings or premises into a living, social workspaces, combining different tools and specific management methodologies.

We can guide you during the whole process, our service can be integral, from the initial conceptualization to the launch:

1. Portfolio analysis

In order to choose the adequate space, we analyze the location, the dimensions and conditions of the space and, we will make sure that the active accomplishes with the law to obtain without any problem the activity license.

We can advise you with the leasing contract, the relationship with the owner plays a very important role in your life business. Negotiate a long-term contract to be able to recover the investment you have made.

2. Market analysis

In order to demonstrate the commercial viability of the project, it is necessary to determine and analyze all the information regarding the economic, cultural, educational and social environment of the city, as well as the awareness level of  coworking in the area. The existing demand, types of demand and their needs and habits. Who are your competitors; how they differ, what they offer, how they offer it, and at what price. Your potential collaborators and stakeholders. And the opportunities and existing needs of the business.

3. Design and architecture

The space allocation and the layout is a critical exercise that we do because it drives the profitability of your business. You need to understand your potential user needs and how space will be used. In addition, the layout has to be adapted to the regulation.

We elaborate a program of needs and from there we start planning and designing the space. Design and space allocation are key elements to foster collaboration and casual encounters among users. It is not only about making the square meter profitable, user experience matters.

4. Brand and identity

We can design the brand which will identify your company culture and will transmit who you are, your vision, mission and values ​​of your coworking. The brand identity will express the identity of the potential community and will attract the members that want to belong.

The design of the corporate image will include name, logo, colors, fonts, etc. it will help the brand to communicate what it wants to transmit.

5. Business model

Flexibility is key for this model based around the idea of space as a service.

The layout and the space allocation, the services that the business will offer and the pricing model will drive the business model.

We carry out a detailed analysis of Opex and Capex. We calculate the specific operating expenses that one can expect in running a coworking business. On the other hand, the cost of putting together a coworking business can be significant, especially the costs associated with the interior design and construction processes.

We go through a detailed calculation of income and expenses of the activity in the next 5 years. Furthermore, we calculate the performance of all capital invested at 5 years (ROI) as well as the break-even point.

Another key metric for operating a coworking business is the potential revenue per meter square and how it relates to the cap rate. These numbers will help investors to decide to invest or not.

6. Management model

The management model of coworking spaces is based on four fundamental areas to carry out the business: business development, community development, operations and content.

The business development can be divided into administration and finance, communication and branding and, marketing and sales.

The development of the community is responsible for taking care of the members, connecting members, organizing and scheduling activities, the day to day of the space and customer service.

Operations are everything related to logistics, operations processes of other departments, maintenance of the space and technological infrastructure.

The content will depend on the business model designed, we refer to content events, training and/or all those profitable divisions or main services that generate content and revenues to the business.

We develop a comprehensive and strategic plan for each area, with special attention on community development, communication and marketing and sales.

7. Staff training and selection

Coworking is a 10 years old industry. As it is so young, it is difficult to find experienced professionals. However, as coworking is a hospitality business, many professionals in the hospitality sector adapt easily to the work offered by coworking spaces. On the other side, bear in mind that a coworking business also needs professional experts in specific areas such as administration, finance, accountancy, marketing, sales or communication.

In any case, there is specific coworking training facilitated by coworking experts in different areas of the business. You can contact us to know more about this service.

8. Technology

We can build the website for the business. The website is the online window of your coworking, it should reflect the identity, services, activities and events happening, community, branding and value proposition, among other elements. The website must include specific management software for coworking, such as Nexudus, which contains software for the management of memberships, reservation of meeting rooms, event management, a platform for the community, etc.

Coworking spaces are updated buildings in technology due to the autonomy it offers to users. The integration of a smart building system helps to optimize the performance and good performance of the space. We are talking about electronic access, copy service or savings systems in consumption.

9. Docs and manuals

There is a series of specific documentation for the management of coworking spaces that define processes and protocols of action. Some of them are the co-habitation rules, the protocol of action for managers, employee handbook, the coworking contract, among others.

10. Launching

Before the opening of the coworking space is important to start the commercial process and create the community to attract the pioneer members. We will plan and design the launching plan and each of its phases until the opening, taking into account the building works schedule.

11. Follow up

Once the coworking is running, we continue to accompany you in the next three-six months through fortnightly meetings. We also offer annual and quarterly evaluation sessions if the client wants.

If you don’t know how to open a coworking space business, our team of experts will help you. We have been 8 years working as operators and 4 years as consultants, all the experience learned has given us a holistic view of the industry and an exhaustive knowledge of the market. In addition, we have the structure to provide advisory services for the opening and the management of coworking spaces with a guarantee of success. You can contact us here for further information about our services.

This blog post has been written by Vanessa Sans from HWL.

Featured image provided by Betahaus Barcelona.