Part of the Club: How Workspace is building a loyal community of entrepreneurs
Business Advice visitedworkspace’s network of co-working venues across London for a day to find out why working within a community of like-minded entrepreneurs beats the bedroom gig, and what sets Workspace apart in an increasingly competitive market.
In bedrooms and spare rooms across Britain, demand among micro enterprises for sociable and high-spec working spaces is increasing. Rapidly.
In London alone, 2.5m square feet was leased by flexible workspace providers in 2017 a 190% increase in just one year. The rise and rise of co-working has seen London overtake the likes of New York City as the global capital of flexible office space. Other UK cities also increased their share of leases last year, as the business world adapts to new ways of working.
So what brought about this working culture shift, and what are entrepreneurs looking for?
According to one study, networking opportunitiesare the driving factor for over a third of entrepreneurs looking for a co-working space, with separateresearch finding that almost two-thirds of already co-working business owners regularly’socialise with other members. Although individuals are usually more productive working alone, some find it isolating and lacking in creative stimulation.
? Network of 20 co-working sites
? Monthly membership
? Business-grade WiFI and high-spec meeting rooms
? 4 different cost packages
Business-grade facilities are another deal-breaker. A lot of people are looking to get out of their home and work in a more professional environment, Lisa Carroll, who heads up the Club co-working network at business space provider Workspace, told us.
Although demand is growing, so is the choice for entrepreneurs. Competing for a share of the co-working boom, Workspace is servicing around 4, 000 of London’s micro enterpriseswith offices, meeting rooms and a chain of dedicated co-working environments.
“The reality is, co-working is a busy market now, Carroll added, explaining that customers whether it’s a startup team or a freelancer are always raising their expectations of what their working environment can do for them.
As the data suggests, networking is high on the list? of new members? demands, so Workspace aims to facilitate introductions with other members who could create additional business. For a new company finding its feet, a chance meeting with a future co-founder, or even a new supplier, can mark a significant turning point.
Staying in tune with the needs of a startup company is central to maintaining a loyalty community, and Workspace hosts regular events for its members, from bookkeeping basics to expansion advice. Carroll emphasised the importance of these “intangibles”.
“Have they met somebody, are they getting value out of our events?”
you cannot just have a room with four walls anymore, she added. “When people pay money every month they expect value in return. There is no value in a room with WiFI everybody has that at home. Anybody can work at home, but what they get when they come into Club is the additional value proposition, whether it’s meeting other people who could support business growth or partnering with other businesses.
Making the step into a co-working space is as important as knowing when it’s time to upscale, and theworkspace model is designed to create apathway for members to grow their company.
The company expects the typical lifetime for a Club member to be around 12 to 18 months, butto demonstrate how Workspace supports the full business lifecycle, Carroll explained how one Club resident at Kennington Park came in alone, eventually met a business partner and now manages 17 employees in a larger office.
View from the entrepreneur
Ollie Forsyth, founder ofthe Budding Entrepreneur Club (TBE), a subscription network connecting entrepreneurs with mentors and investors, was on hand to discuss how Workspace matched up to the wider market.When we sat down with Forsyth, he and his business partner had been at Club for just ten days, after spending two years in a bigger co-working space, but the founder had already identified some positive differences.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.
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