Meeting and Event Spaces: The Most Valuable Asset That Coworking Offers Entrepreneurs
15 February

Event and Meeting Room Rental: The Most Valuable Coworking Asset

Whether you’re a coworking veteran or you’re looking into joining a coworking community in the near future, the benefits of utilizing these communal spaces for your entrepreneurial endeavors are exponential. From decreasing your overhead to increasing your networking opportunities and everything in between, coworking spaces offer a plethora of plusses for businesses and individuals looking to grow their brand. There’s one element, however, that stands out as perhaps the most valuable asset a coworking space can offer: event space and meeting room rental.

The Meeting Room Rental Advantage

If you’ve ever wanted (or needed) to host a group event – be it a business meeting, training session for employees, or even a holiday event – you’ve likely encountered an issue with space. Even if you have access to sufficient square footage for your meeting or event, what kind of image will it leave your attendants with? Does your space convey professionalism and sleek sophistication? Is it equipped with the latest technology and modern conveniences? Is it going to give your clients the best impression of you or let your guests and employees know they are important to you? Is your location convenient to your attendants? Chances are, if you have a space at all, the answers are likely “No.”

Hosting Workshops and Other Networking Opportunities

Coworking spaces are quickly becoming an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset for this very reason. Not only do they offer affordable, professional workspaces, but they also offer amazing spaces for your larger meeting needs as well. Since maintaining an organized and sleek appearance during meetings can make or break your growth potential, it’s not hard to understand how the meeting room and event space rental trend is on the rise today.

These spaces are designed specifically with your business growth in mind. It allows a low-cost way for you to access all of your tech and space needs for client or employee meetings such as interactive whiteboards, reliable Wi-Fi, impressive views and even refreshments as well as a convenient location. Hosting a workshop to invite potential clients or employees to learn new tips or techniques or expand your networking opportunities are all excellent ways to utilize these impressive workspaces to your advantage.

Making the Most of Coworking Spaces and Meeting Room Rentals

Meeting room rentals are generally free for those with memberships to the respective coworking space associated with them, or available at highly reasonable rates for non-members. As a result, they are a popular way for businesses of all walks to host their meetings and events. It’s hard to ignore the cost benefits of a space which comes fully equipped with technology and amenities as well as a conveniently central location for all of your attendees to find.

Other benefits of meeting room rentals include a higher degree of privacy and luxury versus traditional office environments. This allows you to keep potentially sensitive issues more private by discussing them away from your office environment, as well as offering a highly polished area as the backdrop for critical presentations versus dated (and usually costlier) hotel meeting areas. The benefits of these spaces are countless, but one thing is for certain: meeting room rentals and event space rentals are among the most valuable assets of coworking spaces, making it easy to understand why they are so quickly gaining popularity.

Networking 101: How to Make the Most of Your Acquaintance Resources
1 February

Networking 101: How to Make the Most of Your Acquaintance Resources

By now, you’ve likely learned that your business associates and acquaintances can be an extremely valuable commodity for any entrepreneur. No matter what line of business you’re in, having meaningful connections with others in your field and your community can help your business ventures exponentially… but how?

The Key to Successful Networking

When it comes to networking, there’s one key concept to keep in mind: it’s always better to focus on having true connections with your associates than it is to branch out and stockpile a laundry list of networking individuals. In other words, as with most relationships, focus on the quality of your relationship versus the quantity.

While you may be tempted to get out there and spread your business card all over town and collect those of others with fervor, networking is more than simply meeting an individual in the same line of work. It’s also not about the “big” names in the business either. Networking takes – wait for it – work. Yes, you need to work at developing meaningful connections with your network or it won’t get you anywhere. So, how do you do that?

Stay Relevant with Meeting Room Functions

Developing and maintaining relevant networking connections is a multi-dimensional process that involves both getting to know your associates as well as making it known what kind of worth you bring to the table as well. Networking is about a mutual growth in which we offer help to others while gaining connections and opportunities simultaneously (but without expecting anything in return).

In order to achieve this, you’ll need to find ways to stay relevant and at the front of the minds of others in your area and field of interest. You want to be the one they think of when they have a need in your area. How do you do this? Offer your time and/or your services. Try hosting a training seminar or workshop to offer valuable advice or tips to help others. Don’t have the space to do this? Check out meeting room rentals or event spaces you can utilize regularly to impress your connections with both professional presentation as well as valuable information.

Be Helpful and Be Appreciative

“As you meet new people and build your network, keep in mind the value of each relationship. Reaching out to someone you’ve met once when you need something isn’t going to build trust – you need to offer your resources to open the door for mutual benefit down the road,” explains Forbes.com.

In other words, if you want to have truly valuable networking experience, you need to remember the road goes both ways. You need to invest your time and effort into developing meaningful relationships in order to get the most out of potential future opportunities from them. Take the time to get to know your acquaintances, invite them to relevant opportunities like workshops or conferences, and be sure to show them you appreciate their time and acquaintance. Invest your time and effort into building not just an expansive network, but a quality network that’s rich with solid potential.

Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: How to Market Your Small Business
15 December

Be Your Own Brand Ambassador: How to Market Your Small Business

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for decades, it’s always a good time to review your marketing strategies to make sure you’re getting the best exposure possible. With ever-changing technological advances, small business marketing efforts can evolve quicker than you may imagine, rendering your entrepreneurship irrelevant or unseen rather quickly. With a few good business practices, however, you can stay on top of the changes and become your own brand ambassador, keeping your venture at the forefront of your market.

How to Market Your Small Business

According to Forbes.com, “Marketing is a concentrated effort to push your brand across a variety of platforms and hope that enough makes it through to your customer.” Often times, your business needs to be seen a number of times before it is truly recognized and converted to business, so the more you brand, the higher your chances of a successful effort. This is Marketing 101 and likely something most business owners are already aware of. So how do you convert this concept into something that stays current?

Becoming Your Own Brand Ambassador

The most important step to marketing your brand is organization and revision. This is the process of taking a look at what areas you are currently marketing your products and services and analyzing how they are performing. You’ll want to highlight areas that are working well – are customers bringing in mailed fliers or using certain promo codes you issued? These are things you’ll want to continue, or even tweak to keep things fresh. You’ll also want to note which areas aren’t bringing in the traffic you’d like to see so you can either rethink them and try a new angle or scratch the idea altogether. This process of reviewing what’s currently going on is one that should be repeated at least quarterly in order to stay relevant and give you the best response time.

Research Current Trends

If you want to stay relevant, you need to make sure your business is growing and moving along with technology and the digital age. Doing a little research will help you ensure you’re reaching the full extent of your client base with your marketing efforts. Take a look at what related businesses are using to promote their brand: are they pushing social media platforms or improving their mobile-friendly visibility? Also, take a look at more organic resources in your area that you could tap into. Is there an up-coming local festival or charity event you could sponsor or get involved with? These should give you ideas for what is trending currently and how you can adapt your branding efforts to match the trends.

Network, Network, Network

Let’s be honest here, of all the methods an entrepreneur can market their goods or services with, few compare to the benefits of networking. Networking is simply the act of getting out into your community and/or line of business and making connections with others. This is done by attending conferences, joining local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce or utilizing communal work spaces, sponsoring related events, and just plain being seen. By doing this, you’re expanding the potential client base by bringing awareness to your business as well as giving yourself an essentially limitless pool of future connections.

Recap and Adapt

To recap, the best thing you can do to become your own brand ambassador and increase your bottom line is to review your efforts frequently, research what’s trending, and get out there and network in your community and trade. By keeping up with what is working, and changing what is not, you’ll be able to stay on top of marketing trends and boost your brand more effectively.

How to Shop for a Coworking Space
1 December

How to Shop for a Coworking Space

If your current office is the corner coffee shop and you’re thinking of ways to improve your workspace without breaking your budget, you’ve likely considered trying a coworking space. You’re not alone. Coworking spaces are on the rise, and for good reason: they are flexible and affordable without compromising the necessities and functionality of a professional workspace. Beyond the practicalities behind them, let’s face it, coworking spaces are a lot more professional to present as your home base than your local barista.

Taking the leap and moving your business into a shared office environment has a multitude of benefits. Since most spaces today offer a wide range of amenities, space availability, and membership options, it’s easy to find a great space for you without breaking the bank. Imagine having access to flexible work hours, essential technology, and impressive spaces for those all-important client meetings and business conferences – without the high cost of a traditional brick-and-mortar lease. That is the appeal of the coworking space movement today.

Shopping for the Right Coworking Space

So, you’re sold on the idea of moving out of your local café and into a more professional workspace; how do you go about shopping for the right space? The best way you can find the perfect solution for your entrepreneurial needs is by taking stock of what those needs actually are. Before you can choose a space that works for you, you should have a good understanding of what it is you need from your space.

Take a look at your daily routines and make note of what items you use most and what items seem to be lacking. This will give you a good idea of the type of amenities you will want from a coworking space as well as help you figure out any potential problem areas. Keep in mind what hours you like to work and the frequency with which you meet with clients to determine the caliber of availability you will need from a communal meeting room or private work area.

Things to Consider

Once you have a good idea of what you need from your space, it’s time to consider any additional criteria that will optimize your work environment. These are things that will determine how well-suited a potential shared workspace is for you, such as its location or how well it fits within your budget. Some of these factors will be much more critical than others, so be sure to rank them accordingly when comparing them to what’s available in your area.

Give it a Try

If you think you’ve located a coworking space that’s perfect for you, but you’re hesitant to make the plunge, explore the membership options available. Many communal workspaces today offer fantastic trial offers and other flexible options that allow members to give things a try without any form of long-term commitment. Utilizing spaces that offer trial periods or month-to-month memberships can eliminate the financial anxiety of larger annual obligations by giving you the chance to walk away from them at any time if you find they don’t work with your needs or your budget.

 

 

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line
15 November

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

Whether you’re a new business owner or a veteran staple in your market, business owners share one major concern: how to increase their bottom line. Let’s face it, the point of being in business is to turn a profit, so naturally, finding ways to increase that profit would be a prime topic of discussion, yes?

Traditional Means

Many business owners are familiar with the concept of spending money to make money – it’s Business 101. More often than not, business owners need to invest funds into proper areas (marketing, staffing, office space, products and services are just a few of these) in order to boost their sales. These are considered the traditional means of boosting strategies, but they are not the only ways to achieve a bottom-line bump.

Non-Traditional Means

It may surprise you to know there are actually ways new business owners (and even veteran business owners) can improve their bottom line without spending a single dime. Yes, you read that right – there are ways to fatten your pockets without thinning them first. How? Let’s take a look at some of the lesser known, non-traditional means of increasing your bottom line.

The Best Strategies to Increase Your Bottom Line

“Getting over that seven-figure (revenue) hump is often an indicator that your business has longevity to it. But getting there can be tricky, stressful, and time-consuming,” writes Forbes.com.

Learning how to get to that pivotal revenue point boils down to initiating successful profit-boosting strategies. It’s also about minimizing the outflow of cash needed to implement these strategies since without minimization, the profit boost can be negated. Not to mention, it’s tough to let go of funds when you’re trying to increase them.

Tweak Your Online Marketing Strategies

One of the easiest ways to add to your profit margin is by pairing up with other local businesses or related products and services. Essentially, by including promoted products or reviews via a link inside your existing digital marketing strategies can bring about extra cash flow. How? It’s what’s described by Forbes as Affiliate Marketing and means that by utilizing links within your website for other products, your business can earn funds each time your customers follow the link.

Utilize Your Email Lists

Another completely free asset you can use to boost profits? Your email lists. As advanced as digital technology is today, it’s easy peasy to set up automatic emails to your customer base that will entice them to visit your site. Don’t let your customer contact lists sit dormant, use them to promote your business by way of sharing blog posts, upcoming events, and even set special VIP sales as appreciation for those on your current list.

Initialize Semi-Annual Audits

Simple as it sounds, one of the best ways to boost profit margins is by cutting your expenses. Make it a priority to go through your budget a few times a year and make sure you’re only sticking with the things you need for your business. If certain areas are no longer working, don’t be afraid to cut them before they eat up more of your existing budget. Also, be sure to take stock of all of your material items and products, to ensure you’re not continually pouring out funds for items that have very little benefit to you.

Overall, the best tricks you can utilize to keep increasing your profit are ones that make the most of your existing resources. Be sure to maximize your budget and audit yourself frequently, as well as continuing usage on all of your available (and free) assets.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business
1 November

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business

When you’re working on a plan to begin your own business, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with concepts like budgets, marketing schemes, and investment opportunities among other things. It can be extremely taxing and confusing and sometimes you may want to throw in the towel. We hear you. Just breathe and try to simplify things a tad with some basic do’s and don’ts of starting your own business.

Starting a Business

Chances are, if you’re in the process of starting your own business, you’ve practically buried yourself in researching how to make it successful. With so much information out there, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and forget some of the most basic business essentials. Don’t fret, however, these aren’t another list of things to keep on your “to-do” list, but rather, a reminder of how to tweak your approaches to get the most out of your new business.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting Your Own Business

Rather than focusing on the details, sometimes the best thing you can do is to keep the big picture in mind. The best way to do that is to remain flexible in your approach and try to avoid closed-minded thinking. What do we mean? Always stay vigilant and observant as you try different tactics – if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to cut ties and try a new approach.

“Being flexible can make the difference between growing and stagnating,” explains Forbes.com. As such, keeping the following do’s and don’ts in mind should help you through the process of starting your own business:

The Most Important Do’s

While there are business plan protocols out there that help you learn every step of how to start a business, making it a successful one is up to you. Thankfully, there are a few “do’s” you can incorporate into your plan to help ensure you have the best shot at success.

What is the most important thing you can do? Utilize the help and knowledge of colleagues and friends. Having a solid (and diverse) set of acquaintances as resources and support will greatly improve your chances of success. Try asking old bosses, coworkers, friends, or other professionals in the same field for their invaluable input on your journey. Need ideas or inspiration? Coworking spaces can put you in touch with professionals from all walks of careers and can be an amazing resource for beginning business owners.

Other do’s to keep in mind:

  • Place primary focus on your investment pitch to ensure you give yourself the best chance at primo opportunities
  • Make contingency plans to have a backup in case critical components are shot down (this plays in to the whole “be flexible” part we mentioned earlier)
  • Be digital to be seen and know that a large part of a business’s success today boils down to creative networking both on and off-line

The Most Important Don’ts

Just as there are things to do when you’re starting your own business, there are also things you should not do. Perhaps the most important of these “don’ts” is to ensure you don’t act impulsively. Forbes.com stresses that new business owners should never make a business decision out of haste or on a whim – instead, be sure to thoroughly research before you make any business decisions.

Other don’ts to keep in mind:

  • Never give up on your goals. Understand you will likely face a lot of rejection in the process, but it only takes a single “yes” to get the ball rolling, so keep at it.
  • Don’t assume you’re the underdog. While you may be a new business owner, you’ve done your homework and are a force to be reckoned with so don’t let others intimidate you.
  • Don’t accept things at face value. You will need to look deeper at every angle, and never accept things as they appear at first – this includes investment opportunities.
Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses
15 October

Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses

You may think holiday marketing doesn’t apply to your particular business niche, but the truth is, seasonal planning is for all businesses, no matter the goods or services provided. If your business is hand-crafted toys or candies, it’s quite obvious the holiday season is peak time for sales, but it’s also the same for practically every other form of business out there.

Know Your Angle

If you’re struggling to come up with an angle for your seasonal strategies, start by looking at your books. Find out what your customers have been interested in the most and use that information to anticipate what they may be needing shortly.

Remember that holiday planning isn’t all about retail sales and shopping. Consumers also have needs for specific services, practical items, and unique finds as well. Figure out what you can offer them and plan to highlight that for your campaign.

Begin to Prepare

Understanding that seasonal planning begins well before the holiday season begins, is the most important aspect of your process. It’s recommended to begin your planning months in advance – some even beginning as early as mid-summer. Why?

By allowing yourself ample time to research your top performers, study customer habits, and brainstorm with your team members for campaign ideas, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a highly successful campaign. You should always allow plenty of time for changes, new ideas and stocking any necessary supplies for the season.

Take Stock

Seasonal planning is more than simply finding the greatest marketing campaign to put out there this year. It also entails making sure you are fully stocked on any anticipated items, well-staffed for an influx of customers, and prepared for all your basic needs as well. How do you do this?

Start by taking inventory on your stock. Determine what items you’ll need to order if you are in the retail business. Plan for any additional stock items like shopping bags, receipt paper, shipping supplies for online orders, and any seasonal items like specialty flavors of coffee or printed fliers to hand out at purchase time.

Plan Your Schedule in Advance

Another key seasonal planning step is to make sure you are fully staffed to cover any potential increase in customer activity. It can help to make up schedules well in advance to allow employees time to plan for working hours around the holidays, as well as note any potential scheduling issues before they become problematic down the road.

Get Festive

Even if you’re not big into the holiday scene, getting festive at work is part of the seasonal planning process and your customers (as well as employees) will appreciate the gesture. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – from simple decorations to planning events for employees and/or clients.

If you need ideas on how to get festive, include your team members in a brainstorming session to get their input – this is especially helpful in coworking spaces where members come from all walks of business (and all walks of ideas!). Not a coworking space? No problem – do some online research on local events to see what fun things are going on around you that you could include in your seasonal planning.

The best thing you can do is understand that seasonal planning takes time, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. Start planning early and get those festive ideas flowing to set your plan in motion!