Learn more about Mary Beth Botts at www.psidirectory.com.
If you’re a coworking space member or contemplating joining a nearby community, you’ve likely done your research on the many benefits of these spaces. For many, the overall savings when compared to a traditional brick and mortar office space for start-ups and freelancers is a huge draw to the coworking world, but it’s not the only perk, by far. One of the greatest advantages, in fact, can be found in the invaluable opportunities that come with technology and coworking combined.
Standing Out with Technology and Coworking
With technology being utilized in virtually every aspect of our lives today, it only makes sense to see it in the workplace as well – that’s a no-brainer. The problems arise, however, when you’re trying to incorporate the most useful and effective technology into your own business – the costs can add up very quickly, hitting your budget a lot harder than you’d like. As a result, lots of start-ups and small businesses are forced to skimp on technology, opting for the basics in favor of lower costs, but costing your business advancements at the same time. This can hurt your future endeavors by limiting your ability to effectively get your business ventures out there in the best light and in the most efficient way.
The Technology Advantages
Since coworking spaces have been on the rise in recent years, most spaces today offer members not just a beautiful workspace, but also one that comes equipped with the latest technology – and under budget. It’s no wonder then that these spaces can offer some serious technological advantages over the traditional (and limited budget) options of brick and mortar spaces. So, just what are the advantages of having the latest technology at your fingertips?
Well, for starters, since technology is essentially the media you utilize in every step of communicating your product or services, it’s clearly a pretty important (yet often overlooked) part of your business’s success equation. Using unreliable and outdated equipment can limit your ability to get your image out there, let alone make a favorable lasting impression on prospective clients. If, however, you utilize a workspace that already has all of its tech components seamlessly connected and ready to use, you stand a much higher chance of wowing your business connections as well as save yourself the time and headaches of dealing with shoddy equipment.
Invaluable Opportunities with Tech
Technology advantages don’t end with impressing clients. Some of the most invaluable opportunities that arise from having state-of-the-art tech at your disposal come from the dramatic increase in productivity they tend to promote. By allowing you the best network connections and the accessibility of easily connecting multiple devices for sharing and collaborating, technology promotes some serious productivity. Technology has become one of the hidden gems of the coworking communities that allows users to quickly connect and share ideas with others as well as brainstorm new ideas from anywhere in their space at virtually any time of the day. Can you imagine the invaluable opportunities that can (and do) arise from combining such technological advantages with sleek and affordable office spaces for entrepreneurs? They’re practically limitless!
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.
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.
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.