The Coworking Industry
The Coworking industry is becoming an increasingly competitive landscape. The industry continues to see massive growth as more players come online to compete with massive chains like WeWork. With more players in the market, it becomes crucial for space operators and managers to spend their time wisely to stay ahead of the competition. Members want to be given a good experience, and, with more options at their disposal, the margin for error gets even smaller. It is vital that a coworking space management team have time to focus on community and build a service that can stand up against the competitor next door.
One of the biggest blockers for independently owned and scaling coworking spaces that we’ve seen is poor operations. Running a coworking space is a lot of work. On any given day you’re tasked with providing top-notch hospitality, engaging your community, making sure your members have proper resources and access to amenities, dealing with new/expiring leases, and much more. It is truly a space as a service industry. Typically one of your biggest costs outside of the real estate and furniture is in fact people. With small margins and tight budgets, it can be hard to hire the staff needed to properly manage the space, and this is where we see operations start to slip through the cracks.
Fortunately, there are a few tools and software available to help you streamline your operations. Here are the main areas where having the proper digital systems can save you hours upon hours of time, which translates to thousands of dollars.
Members are indeed the lifeblood of a space and filling your space in the beginning is critical to your long term success. You want to make sure you have the proper systems in place to both capture and keep track of leads at every occasion. This could be when someone visits your website and wants a tour, when someone checks in at the front desk to see a member, or even when someone walks in unannounced. It’s important that you have those pipelines in place to capture that information and respond in a timely manner to schedule a tour and/or chase a lead.
Most of the work to ensure a member’s long term happiness in your space is done within the first few days of their joining. Onboarding a member can make or break their experience. If they aren’t properly primed on parking policy and get a ticket – poor experience. Didn’t get their billing setup so you have to double charge them? – poor experience. Couldn’t find the coupon code you promised during the tour? – poor experience. Having a streamlined set of resources available to the members for them to properly get up to speed and learn the space will be key for them to have a good experience. Using software to aggregate and streamline the onboarding will help save you time and ensure a consistent experience for all members.
A robust billing system is an absolute must if you want to have a healthy, thriving community (and bank account). Wasting time with paper checks, spreadsheets, etc. is a guaranteed recipe for wasted time and human error. Making it easy for a member to drop in their payment info and just be billed automatically every month will allow you to scale properly and have transparency into your cash flow. Using software you can fully automate the payment collection and sit back, relax, and watch the money come in.
Everyone hates that 10-email, back-and-forth thread just to coordinate dates/locations for meeting. Scheduling for event rentals, conference room bookings, and other resources can be a huge time suck. Not only do you have to confirm with the reserver, but you must check if your resource is available, coordinate with your team, check your calendar, etc. Using software to streamline the scheduling process can free you up while preventing double bookings and confusion. Furthermore, this allows members to book space on their own without causing any conflict with other members or members of your staff. Using whiteboards, emails, etc. just isn’t as effective as automated scheduling software.
Finally, one of the most powerful things that software can do for your operations is provide you access to key analytics and data. Too often we see the community manager who spent 8 hours on a massive spreadsheet to “crunch numbers” on relevant space and demographic information (number of new companies, monthly recurring revenue, total member count). Often times this requires sending out lengthy surveys with low response rates, or pouring through long lists and documents to compile the relevant data. With software, you can build visualization tools to access your data at a glance and help you make informed decisions.
An All-In-One Solution
At Coworks, our core mission is to empower community managers and space operators to spend more time creating a vibrant, happy community and truly serve their members. This is why we created a tool that solves all of these core operational problems so that managers can spend time on their community. Through our tools, we’ve saved thousands of hours and dollars by empowering managers to streamline their operations.
Our CRM tool integrates directly with your website and our guest check-in/front desk tablet to capture leads at each entry point while organizing them into a clean light-weight CRM. Our member mobile apps contain everything a new member needs to know about how to thrive in your space and the amenities available. Coworks’ automated billing system allows you to simply add a member, select their plan, and auto bills them every month with no hassle. Our robust room booking system syncs conference tablets, mobile apps, and internal calendars so that scheduling can be done in an instant. Finally, our analytics and reports empower you to gain insights to make truly data-driven decisions and understand the pulse of your space.
With these operational focus areas and the tools to streamline them, we think more managers can spend time providing an amazing experience. This will ultimately prove to be a deal breaker as the real estate market continues to transform. With the tools above, we hope to help build these vibrant communities and power the future of work. With Coworks, you build the community, we’ll build the software.