Here is our third and final podcast about coworking space development with Brittanie Campbell-Turner of Constructrr.com
This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.
In this last part of the series, Wendy and I talk about the making sure the business model is sustainable to ensure the business owner’s success.
wendy February 16th, 2017
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”:
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.
wendy January 31st, 2017
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.
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!
wendy February 10th, 2016
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.
wendy February 10th, 2016
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 – email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 email@example.com
wendy September 9th, 2015
Advocacy for a fully-evolved Customer Experience for all users of collaborative workspace is now in high gear. The balancing act between open-plan, focused work, working together, working alone together can be argued incessantly. Corporate America is still working to untangle the Gordian’s knot. A universal option for all workspaces is to consider the elements in our infographic:
share your comments and thoughts with us!
wendy August 20th, 2014
View the latest in Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily.
More details found in this recent Chicago Tribune article.
Certainly this trend is following the growth of the rental market and the mobile workforce in the US.
An article authored by Signe Brewster in Gigaom features information about a Maker’s Space pilot program featuring 3-D printers and supporting technology in Chicago’s Harold Washington Library.
This effort simply enhances on the already-significant success of the 14-month-old 1871 tech incubator in the Merchandise Mart, the rise of several coworking spaces in Chicago, Motorola’s move to the City, the simultaneous expansion of Google into the West Randolph corridor and can feed greater interest in the Mayor’s vision of establishing a biotech incubator over the next year.
Let’s keep this momentum Chicago!
Harvard Business Review recently published a captivating article by
Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones regarding the careful thought firms such as Arup and Waitrose have taken to create an amazing workspace culture.
From their article: ”We call this “the organization of your dreams.” In a nutshell, it’s a company where individual differences are nurtured; information is not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to employees, rather than merely extracting it from them; the organization stands for something meaningful; the work itself is intrinsically rewarding; and there are no stupid rules.”
As we look to find our own work/life balance issues, we understand as well that Gen Y is willing to take a smaller paycheck in order to have more flexibility.
We’ll continue to share interesting findings in workspace evolution.