Renting an office for your startup doesn’t have to be too expensive. Investing in memberships to a coworking space can not only save you money, but give you valuable connections and resources you’d have a difficult time accessing on your own.
The first thing you need to decide on in your search for a coworking space is how much dough you’ve got to spare. Startups normally have yet to secure significant funding, which means that you should value every peso you have. If you’ll be working with a team, consult them about what price range would best suit your business. Determining your budget will allow you to choose what types of facilities, locations, packages, and office styles you can afford.
Many coworking spaces have flexible payment terms, which means you can pay the office or seat lease either hourly, daily, or monthly. When finalizing your budget with your partners, try to determine what payment scheme you prefer. Ask the coworking space if you can change the number of seats under your company’s name depending on how many employees you have on any given day or month. However, you can usually choose from a variety of desk packages including “hot desks” (any desk that is vacant), dedicated desks, meeting rooms, and private offices.
Take time to look at the coworking space’s available membership terms, what they offer for each program, and for how many people. It is essential that you choose a space that is cost-effective. For instance, if you’re working alone or with only a couple of other people, it would probably be best if you book individual desks. If you have a larger team, you’ll need to reserve at least a small meeting room.
First, make sure that all of your teammates can reach the coworking space. It should be located close to where your potential clients are likely located, too.
Next, visit the coworking space you’re eyeing and check if it’s close to places you want to have access to while you work. If you or your colleagues take public transportation, it would be convenient to be close to a transport hub. Skip taking the car and try the commute from your home to the office. If it doesn’t take too long and your commute isn’t too tiring, put the coworking space on your short list. Less time on the train means more time possibly working on your startup!
If you think you’ll need to entertain clients one day, take note of good restaurants nearby. Gyms and yoga studios in the area could also come in handy if your startup puts a premium on employee fitness.
Will you need to do extensive research for your brand? If there’s a library around the corner, you could borrow valuable resources quickly instead of heading to a bookstore. Think about what your startup needs, and choose a coworking space that can cater to you.
After you’ve decided on a specific location, look at what each coworking space has to offer in terms of amenities. Does one offer coffee and snacks while the other offers scanning services?
With your colleagues, make a list of everything you’ll possibly need and want while working in a collaborative environment. You’ll need a space that can offer everything you require, and possibly more. Use this list as a guide to evaluate the coworking spaces you have on your short list. Choose the coworking space with the services your startup will likely prioritize.
One feature that isn’t so much a want as it is a need is the presence of meeting rooms. Whether you need a space to plan that upcoming product launch with your team or just a private room where you can all work together without distraction, a meeting room is essential to a startup and should be at the top of your list.
You may also want to prioritize coworking spaces that offer other office essentials like a printer, scanner, high-speed wifi, and 24/7 availability. If your startup isn’t your day job or you find that you’re more of a night owl, having access to a workspace late in the evening would do you well. A workspace without a printer or with a bad internet connection, on the other hand, could end up disrupting your startup’s progress. This would waste not only your time, but your colleagues’ and clients’ as well.
Through all of this, remember to categorize your wants separately from your needs. A coworking space might be able to give you your favorite snacks, but if they lack printers, look elsewhere. Snacks aren’t a necessity, but a functional workspace is.
Ask yourself if the coworking space you’re looking at can help your startup grow.
Another crucial aspect of coworking spaces is its people. When you visit the office, look around. Ask yourself if you can see yourself working alongside the people there everyday. Try to get a feel of the overall vibe of the place.
If you’re the quiet type, you might want to be surrounded by people who are the same. Nothing is worse than having a good work day ruined by loud music and chatty seatmates. If you’re the opposite, you might actually thrive in a setting with background music and interesting coworkers, instead of one that’s unbearably quiet. Think of which you prefer, and take it into account when you make your decision. If you can’t decide, ask the workspace manager what working there is like. Visiting the space on a Monday might not feel the same as visiting it on a Friday.
You should also look into what activities and events the coworking space plans, and how regularly they do so. A good coworking space normally has a manager who schedules all the events and deals with everything people-related at the workspace. You’ll want an office that emphasizes community.
Some workspaces schedule workshops and presentations to help freelancers and startups grow, and nights out to keep them happy. You might even be able to reserve a time to present your ideas to the other people in the workspace. Look for a coworking space that wants to support their members, so you and your team can develop your skills even without being part of a big corporation.
Read some of our other guest blogs here.