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    When developing coworking spaces in partnership with our clients, we come across the most amazing (and frequently refreshing) perspectives on how to market and operate coworking spaces.

    To be sure, we love working with entrepreneurs – whether first timers or veterans. We ALWAYS learn something from each project we manage. Lifelong learning energizes us and keeps us in grounded in reality.

    Still, this quick list features marketing strategies that caused us to internalize a “huh, that’s interesting”:

    • A new coworking space in the CBD of a major market with many competitors (traditional shared space and coworking alike) put no money into a marketing budget, believing a strong strategy was to have a college student stand in front of the building wearing a sandwich board, handing out flyers about the new space

     

    • New coworking space in another major market that relied solely on social media to drive traffic to and awareness of the space. Ownership was operating the space as a secondary business and was too busy to build a community from Meetups and outbound networking events. Expected “if we build it, they will come”

     

    • Established space that pivoted to featuring only non-members as speakers and panelists at lunch and learns and after-hours networking events

     

    • Spaces that reject all corporate users (corporate users is a growing population). Context is key but worth reconsidering

     

    • Constant use of shock and awe language (as in something “sucks” or equivalent) in marketing tools. Over time it becomes ineffective and narrows your target demographic options

    We have worked with each of the above clients and have been successful at coaching a few into alternate directions. In our experience, clients that did not move from their marketing position above are no longer in operation.

    January 31st, 2017

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, News, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    Cheers to Lake Forest, IL!

    champagne glasses

    LifeWorking Coworking in Lake Forest, IL announces the next of many opportunities to see the newest NorthShore coworking community take shape.

    LifeWorking Coworking has set two dates for Hard Hat tours, leading visitors through the space while it is under construction. The address is 717 Forest Avenue, 2nd floor. Completion is set for mid-August 2016.

    Steve Whittington, Founder and CEO explains what LifeWorking Coworking brings to professionals; “LifeWorking Coworking is a network of productive and collaborative spaces in both downtown Chicago and the suburbs – designed to enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute – for your job, while you network, so you can LifeWork!”

    Steve caught on to the concept of developing a coworking space from years spent working from offices, home, hammocks and coffee shops all over the world during his two decades at Proctor & Gamble. He observed a lack of highly functional and professional space where mobile workers could touch down for an hour or two, be highly productive and get on to the next priority in their day.

    “We felt we could deliver on the last mile for mobile workers, corporate refugees, retired executives and next-stage businesses to gain access to flexible workspace, meeting rooms, workstations and even open plan, relaxed seating in a community setting.”

    Eliminating isolation for solo-preneurs and free lancers is also part of the attraction of being a member of LifeWorking Coworking. Steve adds, “Our members will be invited to attend onsite educational sessions delivered by fellow members or area thought leaders. Part of our mission is enabling our member businesses growth opportunities through the connections they make at LifeWorking.”

    Join LifeWorking Coworking on Thursday June 9 “Suds and Dust”, between 4 pm and 7 pm on both days to tour the space and explore how this new workspace will enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute!

    May 26th, 2016

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    Cheers to Lake Forest, IL!

    champagne glasses

    LifeWorking Coworking in Lake Forest, IL announces the first of many opportunities to see the newest NorthShore coworking community take shape.

    LifeWorking Coworking has set two dates for Hard Hat tours, leading visitors through the space while it is under construction. The address is 717 Forest Avenue, 2nd floor. Completion is set for mid-August 2016.

    Steve Whittington, Founder and CEO explains what LifeWorking Coworking brings to professionals; “LifeWorking Coworking is a network of productive and collaborative spaces in both downtown Chicago and the suburbs – designed to enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute – for your job, while you network, so you can LifeWork!”

    Steve caught on to the concept of developing a coworking space from years spent working from offices, home, hammocks and coffee shops all over the world during his two decades at Proctor & Gamble. He observed a lack of highly functional and professional space where mobile workers could touch down for an hour or two, be highly productive and get on to the next priority in their day.

    “We felt we could deliver on the last mile for mobile workers, corporate refugees, retired executives and next-stage businesses to gain access to flexible workspace, meeting rooms, workstations and even open plan, relaxed seating in a community setting.”

    Eliminating isolation for solo-preneurs and free lancers is also part of the attraction of being a member of LifeWorking Coworking. Steve adds, “Our members will be invited to attend onsite educational sessions delivered by fellow members or area thought leaders. Part of our mission is enabling our member businesses growth opportunities through the connections they make at LifeWorking.”

    Join LifeWorking Coworking on Tuesday May 24 “Hard Hats & Champagne” and Thursday June 9 “Suds and Dust”, between 4 pm and 7 pm on both days to tour the space and explore how this new workspace will enable you to deliver your best, most productive, marginal minute!

     

    May 9th, 2016

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    How does celebrating Arbor Day equate to workplace wellness?

    Cultural Landscape Foundation Omstead Parks

    Cultural Landscape Foundation
    Omstead Parks

    We believe that productive and healthy workspace shares these qualities:

    • comforts – creates options for multiple work postures, sitting, standing & lounging
    • stimulates – both mind and senses, using color, scents such as vanilla or citrus, white or pink noise
    • energizes – from the amount of natural light throughout the space to healthy food choices in the vending machine and kitchen/cafe
    • inspires – your best work no matter the work mode, from quiet/focus, to collaborative, to networking
    • evokes – a sense of belonging and eliminates feelings of work isolation and stress

    All of these qualities can also be achieved by conducting some of your work outdoors, under a tree!

    Let us explain.

    Providing outdoor workspace, complete with strong wi-fi signals makes it a “no excuses” option. (ok, excluding inclement weather, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, blistering heat, frozen tundra conditions, tsunamis if we must)

    Let’s share more specifics. Stacia Pierce was recently published on the Huffington Post “10 Best Practices to Staying Healthy at Work”. The highlighted parentheses are ours but lets focus on  #7 “Take breaks and get out in the sun and fresh air. Make sure to get your daily dose of vitamin D by getting outdoors every day.(stimulates) Even on your busiest days, it’s important to take a few minutes to step away and regroup. (inspires) Invigorate yourself by going outside and taking a brisk walk around your office building.(energizes) Or calm yourself from a hectic day by simply sitting and meditating quietly for a few minutes surrounded by nature” (comforts)

    Taking it outdoors will evoke the feeling of being connected to something bigger and reducing stress.

    We agree with the Arbor Day Foundation that “Trees are Simply Amazing” so take action!

    logo-arbor-day-foundation-color and PLANT A TREE  and remember the hammock!

     

     

    April 29th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, HR - Your Team, Workspace

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    Well, we did indeed promise you truth-is-stranger-than-fiction stories of our experiences in the world of developing coworking spaces.

    It’s a beautiful late-Spring day in a Midwestern town. We are traveling to meet with a prospective client who needs to reposition a 15-year old workspace to improve overall revenues and occupancy.

    The town has developed from a remote and heavily rural community to a desirable bedroom community within 10 miles of a suburban hub of a larger metro area. New homes in the town now command upwards of $450K.

    Based on our initial conversations, the onsite team has created a welcoming spirit and has been stable for 7 years. Currently, they generate approximately 35% of their revenue from additional services beyond space fees and technology. (for those not familiar, the average services revenue equals approximately 20% of overall business revenues) Our separate conversation with the onsite team confirms our impressions that they are competent, thoughtful and very service-oriented.

    This is a productive work environment for everyone.

    Location in their town is easily recognizable in a commercial/office area and is within 2 miles of trains to the metro downtown. A great option for prospective clients who need an office but only occasionally need to be downtown. Area amenities are increasing as the town develops. Specifically, a new health club and local restaurants have popped up within a quick drive of the building.

    As the initial conversation outlines, the client owned the building but has sold it to the current landlord and they negotiated a very reasonable rental rate through the next 3 years. Their current occupancy is approximately 70%.

    They’ve tried everything they can think of to advertise locally and maximize market awareness. Granted, their marketing materials could be updated, inclusive of their website. The owner has been very active in Chamber of Commerce networking and using local vendor/members for services to support the workspace.

    The client is open to putting in some funds toward updating marketing materials tools as well as the appearance of the space, with a single exception. This exception is that updating the reception lobby and is simply non-negotiable.

    As we drive into the parking lot, indeed, the lot is full of cars, the building is well maintained. Landscaping, decor, cleanliness all meet standards for a good, well-run property.

    We enter the workspace lobby and determine EXACTLY why they client is having difficulty increasing revenues and occupancy. In addition to the 1950’s themed outdoorsman artwork throughout, we are greeted by a mounted equivalent of this

    grizzly.standing

    The client is an avid outdoorsman and this is a personal trophy that he insisted on displaying in the lobby. Talk about frightening small children and nearly all the female prospects to the space!

    It took us 6 months of cajoling, reasoning, suggesting that finally convinced the client to relocate it off site on another property. The decor was updated at a reasonable cost and within 12 months (6 months post-trophy) the client achieved 87% occupancy and increased net profit by 18%.

    Sometimes the client gets in their own way.

    We could “bearly” contain our excitement at the outcome!

    If you’d like to share a story, please reach out to us.

    April 20th, 2016

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    So much is happening in the world of collaborative workspace across the US- check it out!

    InBIA – already NEXT WEEK! April 17 – 20 in Orlando – details can be found here

    Coworking? This is THE one to attend, opposite coast – GCUC in LA, May 3-6

    WORKTECH15-New York is May 13 &14 – for those involved in the future of work!

    WANY – Workspace Association of NY is an invitation-only opportunity and this year is themed “BC@50” -celebrating 50 years of the serviced office business center, the FIRST iteration of coworking space. It will be taking place June 10 in New York. Curious? Please reach out to ray@workspace-any.com

    NeoCON- Chicago – June 13-15 – “Good Design Can Achieve a Lot” – here’s how – much more trending in creating Design that Works, in the City that Works!

    Then Summer to enjoy, take a break, work your ideas and then let’s get back at it in August!

    April 12th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Office Business Centers, Workspace

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    We are delighted to announce the lease signing of LifeWorking Enterprises, LLC in Lake Forest, IL. Our congratulations to Steven Whittington, CEO on the first giant step to an August 2016 launch. LifeWorking is  the first coworking space in Lake Forest. Please see the full press release here: LifeWorking Lease Signing

    Steve brings numerous experts to bear on the launch and development of the first of many LifeWorking locations. YES! Your Exceptional Space is honored and privileged to collaborate with LifeWorking Enterprises on the Operational Development, or the “how will it work once we’ve opened”.

    As we have more to share, we invite you to stay connected to the story as LifeWorking rolls out the flagship!

     

    March 10th, 2016

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    Planting a Flag to post periodically what we encounter as interesting experiences, exchanges, topics, insights, etc. that create a little humor along the way during our journey within the Coworking sphere.

    Our combined experience has taken us across Europe and North America working with start-ups and those looking to reposition properties of all types to a more collaborative model.

     

    coworking words

    If the walls could talk…

    Posts may range from the fairly common (consulting client uses less than 70% of recommended best practices then blames vendor for poor outcome) to the truly bizarre (trophy grizzly bear in attack posture greeting visitors in reception).

    What we can say is that, since the turn of the millennium, life in collaborative workspace has been a wild ride and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

    This train is leaving the station so climb aboard!

    February 10th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, General, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    We, along with thousands, are closely observing the growth of WeWork, especially when it comes to the sheer size of each location they are adding or expanding upon. So many will either feel threatened (Regus) or will see opportunity to compete. There will also continue to be fallout from an uptick in location saturation and not all coworking spaces will survive.

    And, not unlike other observers close to the industry, we do not attribute WeWork’s model to the pure coworking form as it debuted earlier this decade.

    It seems a no-brainer to want to see this as the next easy-money real estate play and get in yourself.

    So what’s left to say?

    A bit more.

    We both appreciate WeWork increasing awareness and share some cautionary notes to those considering jumping into the now-increasing pool of new entrants:

    1- we’re delighted that our consultancy is becoming an “overnight success” after 15 years based on the increased market awareness of coworking and the desire to open spaces that are financially sustainable (we share the “how it works”)

    2-caution that, due to low barriers of entry, it seems easy to simply open a space, charge 3-4 times the rent being paid (or an equivalent of debt service) and believe it will magically succeed (there is a lot more to it)

    3-the “secret sauce” of this model, similar to all hospitality businesses, is a combination of the negotiation of strong lease terms AND the team that is hired to manage the community

    4-coworking or collaborative workspaces do NOT have to take down 40,000 SF+ spaces to be successful

    5-it’s important to take advantage of the NO COST TO YOU services of a Real Estate Tenant Representative in finding your space, whether to lease or buy (see #3)

    Lastly, consider hiring a professional team to support your efforts, including your attorney, accountant and of, course us, as in YES!, to allow you time to sort through the potential pitfalls even before getting this off the ground.

    hire.professional

    February 10th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Office Business Centers, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    LEXC Event, Tribune Article, Signature Offices, Premier Business Centers, The Bureau Chicago open new facilities in Chicago

    Chicago has become an epicenter of coworking culture. Following the much-touted launch of 1871 in May 2012, scores of coworking spaces have opened in Chicago.

    As in many cities, there are multiple interpretations of the coworking model: industry-specific/take everyone; 3,000 s.f./15,000 s.f.; 90% open plan/30% open plan. The fun is experiencing the variety of options and passion of the owners.

    One of the most passionate pioneers and a leading voice in coworking nationally is Jamie Russo, founder and owner of Enerspace Coworking in  Chicago & Palo Alto. Jamie opened her space in February 2012, in advance of 1871’s launch.  Enerspace’s tag line “Work Well TM” reflects their mission to “give members a place and the tools they need to blend work and wellness”

    Jamie is also the President of LEXC– League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces, a curated group of Coworking spaces.  Later this month, LEXC is hosting it’s Fall meetup  in Chicago. Per Jamie : “LEXC is a global group of coworking space owners and our mission is to share best practices among the group and to provide mobility for our members.”  During the Meetup days, there will be an invitation-only Happy Hour hosted by new coworking space The Bureau Chicago and sponsored by SITE REsolutions.  Contact us  – info@siteresolutions.com for additional details.

    The Chicago Tribune is rolling out a Chicago Coworking Directory by the end of the month along with an article about Chicago’s coworking community.

    Signature Offices just opened in the CNA Building. It is a new, vibrant take on traditional business center workspace.  The South Loop, just North of Congress at 33 S. Wabash, has sorely needed a well-run option.  Bill Vernon, industry veteran, offers just that. Contact Bill to book a tour: bvernon@sigoffices.com

    Premier Business Centers launches their Chicago flagship location at 200 W. Madison. Premier is the largest US-owned business center operator, with 75 locations (and growing) as of this announcement. The Chicago opening is set for mid-October. Contact Kassidy Mays to arrange a site visit: kmays@pbcenters.com

    The Bureau Chicago is the newest entrant into the Chicago Collaborative Workspace market, located at 1420 S. Michigan. Very easy street parking and a beautiful contemporary setting. Contact Azul Vazquez for a free day pass and to arrange a tour: avazquez@thebureauchicago.com .

    Chicago has been a vibrant and busy city for coworking and this September is just a small sample of the dramatic growth in coworking space since 2012.

    SITE REsolutions/YES! Your Exceptional Space TM  is on the front lines of this resurgence, currently working with landlords and developers of commercial and residential space to transform their holdings into a more integrated, and profitable, solution.

    We will share more in the coming weeks about our case studies and observations.

    If you’d like more information for your development, we welcome you to contact us at info@siteresolutions.com

     

    September 9th, 2015

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Real Estate

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