As globalization spread all around the world and the idea of freelancing and independent contracting too pace, co-working office business has risen in the last decade. Co-working is a path breaking system of working where people though not of the same organization but those who share same values sit under one roof and work for their respective organizations or independently.
Co-working has brought a paradigm shift in the methods of working especially for small organizations that are growing rapidly and require people from different locations. Co-working has also given an opportunity to people who may not be sharing similar work or organization to collaborate, meet and create a professional relationship.
This idea of co-working has been very popular especially among freelancers and independent contractors who find themselves isolated while working alone at their residence.
Co-working office space has given an office like atmosphere to such people who are working under the same roof sharing similar values. Though not very mainstreamed but this idea of working is not very new and at present it has grown to multifold as it has several advantages which are mentioned below.
Advantage of Co-working:
There are several advantages of co-working which has made this form of working quite popular. Here are some:
- Co-working is beneficial for organizations who earlier had to rent or lease an office space for their employees to work especially at different branch. Now they can work in a co-working office space which will save the cost of the organization
- For employees who had to travel to far office location now they can work from a co-working office space near them and that will save their time and energy and will also give them proper infra and atmosphere to work
- Co-working gives great advantage to people working there in the form of interaction with others. Different people from different background work under the same roof creating a special bond.
- For freelancers and independent contractors this type of working space helps them in coping with isolation since they mostly operate from remote and isolated areas. This gives them a feeling of office which has positive effect on them. It also helps them in saving cost of additional or separate office space and its operating cost.
- A co-working office space is cheap and sometimes free which depends on case to case. But it is relatively quit affordable in comparison to the traditional working space.
New businesses or startups on their ways can implement such methods of working that will help them in saving additional cost plus will also help the employees in getting proper infra, comfort in working and an atmosphere similar to that of regular office.
How to Start a Co-working Office Space Business?
First know whether this kind of business is common within your locality. If yes then it becomes easy for you to start but if not then spend resources to make people aware of this method of working. Convince them by giving examples. Also network with people around you who may equally be interested in this method of working.
Advertise your idea and pursue people for the same. If not at larger scale you will still be able to convince a small group of people who will help you in starting your business. The whole process of starting a co-working office space business has various facets which will be mentioned in details below.
Research about the Business:
Research or feasibility analysis before starting any business is very essential. Feasibility analysis gives you a brief understanding about the different aspects of business. It is very necessary to understand the topic in which you are about to invest. Co-working is a very new concept and is still to become common in the working sector therefore it is very much important for you to do deep research. Some of the important aspects on which you need to focus are:
- Co-working business and its scope in your locality
- Opinion of various businesses and people in the business about the same
- How popular it is and your future competition
- Return you will get from the same after investment
- Growth in this sector and probable future profits
- Locating resources in the business, management of business and other questions related to the business
After getting all the answers to the above places queries you will be able to get a thorough understanding of the co-working business and how it works. You will also get the answer whether it is suitable for you based on your circumstances or not. If the answer is yes then you can proceed further. Hire a professional team to do research on the topic as a proper research will be your biggest guiding factor for your business.
Understanding the Function of Co-working Business:
To run a business it is necessary that you understand each and every facet of the business. Functioning of a co-working business is different and it requires a different approach towards the business to make it a success.
A teaming up of people from different sectors under the same roof with different requirements and goals makes it difficult to manage. A deep understanding regarding the same will make your job a bit easier though it will still remain a tough one.
Connecting with the key people who are into the co-working business is very essential. This applies to nearly all the businesses you are into. For example, being an advocate you need to build your own community which will help you in getting new clients. Similar principle applies here as well where you can learn a lot since you are new into this and it will help you in getting new clients for your business.
Networking has various advantages which you will realize while being in the business. Do make new friends as it will prove very beneficial for you. Remember that in business friendship means quid pro quo (something for something).
Office Space for your Co-working Business:
Where will your potential clients be working? Will that place satisfy the requirements of all? All such questions will pose challenge to you while you are searching for that perfect location. Location is also the reason why people opt for a co-working office space therefore your location should suit the interest of the people working there.
How will you choose? Your office at some common place of the city or even common space of some distance place will be the best choice. Cities that are very big are divided into parts and even the so called far places have some common areas where most the people will find ease to come. You can also choose the location by discussing it with the stakeholders and also the experts. The best location is the one that offers connectivity and has all the needed utilities and resources.
Planning your Office Infra:
Co-working office space has special say in the office infra as it should suit the requirements of nearly all the office holders. There can be different blocks that are built on common grounds with the required specialties. Some of your clients may require a big office space where 20 of their employees may be working.
Some may require 10 or 5 people space. There may be many who may only require a desk and chair to work with a very small space. You have to manage the interest of all therefore your office infra requires planning and consultation. Expert advice would work better in case you are developing your office without any potential client in contract.
Requirements for Standard Office Space, Amenities and Utilities:
A standard office is what every client wants for their employees to work from. A standard office means an office that has all the facilities that can be availed in the present scenario. Some of the common amenities are:
- Well-furnished office space with required furniture, centralized AC, power generator
- Office space equipped with latest technology and gadgets that includes IT
- Computer space, charging point, WI-FI connectivity, mobile signal booster, smoke alarm, emergency alarm, etc.
- Common toilet or for VIP offices private toilet and restroom, a kitchen for preparing snacks
- Convenience center that has basic amenities of fresh water with water cooler, heater, etc
Based on the requirements of your clients you can accommodate other facilities while caring about the budget. Ensure that whatever things you get into your office space, it should have everything that a standard office often have.
Rendering the Best Service:
Your job doesn’t ends just by lending the keys of your office to your clients but also to provide them with best possible service. Service includes management of your office by providing all common services like cleaning, fixing broken items, maintaining proper power supply, water supply, standard cooling, repairing of electric objects, maintaining lift and escalator, if available. Maintenance and servicing has a huge market and is independently making huge impact on the performance of businesses. Standard service will work as a catalyst in boosting your business.
Parking and other Space:
Parking is something that is now a must for every office space. You can go for underground parking as it saves space and is also cheap in comparison to traditional parking zones that require much space. If you are leasing your office then you can lease the parking space as well. You may also add a small cafeteria in your office which will not only serve your clients but will also work as an income source.
Building your own office space or taking it on lease will have the huge impact on your investment. While leasing is cheap, building your own office space is costly and may not give you the required profit unless you have something else on your mind. Taking this decision should be strictly based on your research and business plan and nothing else. You will require to invest in the following:
- Interior and furniture
- IT and electronic equipment
- Rendering common service
- Parking area and other such expenses
- Hiring staff to run your office business, etc.
Interiors and furniture sometimes costs a bit much more than what one plans. You should be very much careful while spending on them. Follow your business plan as it will ensure you don’t spend more than what you have already planned.
Managing the Finance:
Financing your business is not an easy task. You may have that much of bank balance but it is not always the case. The best option for you is to take a loan from the bank. For this you need to have your business plan ready in your hands. You can have the discretion whether you want to loan all the money which is required for your business or only some part.
You may also request and invite other people or party interested to invest in your business. Make sure you have a proper contract with them all. With loans and investments from third party your responsibility increases and therefore you must be very vigilant while investing and spending.
Return on Investment:
Renting your office space should be such that you are able to ROI in the time stipulated in your business plan. ROI should be such that you are able to repay the loans from the banks on time and you are also able to give the required returns to your investors.
It may not always go as per plan therefore you must cut out some strategy to maximize gain. This can happen by adding a canteen, if you have your own office you can tax for parking space, for other services that is often required at office space like Photostat and printing point, etc. Small add on are called profit boosters who will help you in getting good stable returns apart from the main source of return.
Co-working office space is a gradual evolving business and therefore has some great advantages and disadvantages. While it is path breaking and beneficial for the parent organizations and individual workers but at the same time it doesn’t goes well with the traditional old school guys. Managing things isn’t that easy and therefore it all involves risk of failure. Be firm to your commitment and always go by thorough research and strategy. You will definitely do good.