Written by Phillip Anthony
Are you a new business owner who’s hesitant about co-working spaces? This guide will help you make a sound decision.
We cannot deny that co-working spaces have hit the world by storm and are growing exponentially each year all around the globe. We also cannot underestimate the changes co-working spaces have inspired us to do and the many advantages they’ve brought into our work life.
Yet, since the concept is relatively foreign to a lot of business owners, they often tend to shallowly assess co-working spaces and become overwhelmed with the possible downsides such as the lack of privacy, impact on brand image, and potential distractions. We hereby, encourage all Filipino business owners, to follow our step-by-step guide to finding their perfect commercial space for their company.
“When I left my job as real estate lawyer to start a real estate crowdfunding company called EquityMultiple, I only partially knew what I was getting myself into. I had a vision for the company, but there are a 1,000 small things I didn’t have any experience with. Being around other entrepreneurs, in an environment specifically designed to support young companies, was an invaluable part of our growth.” Charles Clinton, CEO of EquityMultiple via entrepreneur.com
There are a few obvious perks to choosing co-working spaces; less responsibility, possible networking opportunities, flexible timings and payments, emotional support, technical services, and finally, encouragement to become more efficient. Read more in Small Business BC’s 6 Benefits Of Coworking Spaces.
So, how do you select the most suitable commercial space for you? You need to rely on a thorough and detailed 5-star regimen that highlighted the significance of budget assessment, team needs and preferences, suitability of location, presence of essential tools, interests, and services, and the cherry on top, an atmosphere that enables you to flourish.
We’ve tried to jam-pack this guide with all the key points and tip you’ll need to make an informed decision that best serves the requirements of the business and responds to your objectives. Here are the main points broken down one by one:
Considering your budget limits is one of the key factors for fueling a great business decision. Start off by determining your allocated budget, including transportation, services, food fees, and any needed amenities. After you do that, browse all the co-working spaces options in your city.
Co-working spaces have flexible membership systems to fit your needs. Whether you prefer daily, weekly, or monthly payment you will find customized, short lease contracts with no obligations, plus, great overall rate.
It’s important to note down exactly what you are missing? Just an office space, or will you still need a couple of Macs or PCs? Make sure you inquire about the rental fees of equipment and additional services such as call handling, mail redirection, printing and photocopying. These hidden fees can have quite an impact on your decision.
To remain on the safe side, make sure you ask about the final renting price, including VAT and all.
We will also advise you on how to select the perfect location for your business. We discussed the vitality of the location in details in the third point of this guide. Before you take a final step towards a short or a long-term membership, we suggest that you go for a trial period – if possible – or go on a scheduled tour around the working space.
Bear in mind the foreseeable changes. Are you expanding your team soon? Will you soon need incubators and sponsors, and thus, your budget will lessen gradually? The cost of future growth is often gone unnoticed however being an integral part of the decision making process.
Need to cut down your business expenses? Check this article on how to cut down your start-up costs.
Firstly, you have to determine your team’s size and their availability, too. If your team consists of more than 7 or 8 members then, perhaps, you’d save more money by renting a private office. So, time size is essential.
Secondly, you need to mind your teammates’ locations and whether your selected co-working spot option is proximate or not. If you cannot find a working space nearby, at least try to choose one with a convenient location, for instance, it should be close to a metro station or a bus stop.
The final step regarding your team’s needs is the time flexibility. Do you have employees who prefer to pull an all-nighter? Would you all be more comfortable with a 24/7 space?
“My coworker office space is the fantastic Makerversity, located at Somerset House. As a start up entrepreneur and sole trader I find that being in a shared office space increases my productivity, and widens my arena to be aware of new developments in the business and cultural arena.
Skills share workshops at Makerversity include product design, intellectual property, networking for creative businesses, CAD and statistical modelling amongst others, as well as a free once a week meditation class and a free continental breakfast, in which businesses are invited to discuss their trade over Powerpoint slides and coffee.
There is a definite sense of camaraderie and pride shared between the businesses as they establish growth and success.” Holly O’Leary of hollyjadeoleary.com
Location, location, location! We cannot stress this one enough. Aside from the aforementioned point discussing teammates and their proximity to the spot, let us pause and think about the location of your “office” more thoroughly.
As OverBlog reveals: “According to many freelancers, among other people who also work in shared offices, location is perhaps paramount to their considerations. If the office is not excellent with regards to location, they go on searching for other alternatives until they are finally able to find one that is situated in the place that they assume is right for them.”
A huge client base still has problems with the fact that many service providers are now running from co-working offices. And to be honest, to most clients, co-working spaces doesn’t really say “prestigious niche in the market”.
So, it’s crucial to factor in your clients’ satisfaction when it comes to location. Also, does your business involve a lot of meetings with clients? Try to choose a high-end, or close location in order to avoid disappointment.
Apply the same method when renting a meeting room for the day at a co-working space. Always opt for a prestigious location with good proximity to your client’s office.
Last but not least, try to select a co-working space with an easy, navigable location, preferably in the heart of the city or a nice neighborhood. Unless you think the hyped location will be too distracting, you can go for a quiet one, of course.
Co-working spaces vary in the services and amenities they offer. Some of them stick to basic things such as good internet connection, good air conditioning, a printer and a scanner, free drinking water and coffee, and finally, a couple of events per month. If that’s okay for you, then, we have no problem.
However, if your business is more demanding, you might need to choose a place that offers advanced amenities and services. Highly equipped co-working spaces offer different seating options, ergonomic chairs, bean bags and more, photocopiers, printers, scanners, as well as sound and video recording equipment. Sometimes they also have TVs, Macs, and PCs. spacious working spots typically have meeting rooms available, skype and podcast rooms, a lounge, an outdoor terrace, a kitchen and an on-site cafe.
“ [I] Had a great and productive time working in Loft Coworking Philippines. The staff are super accommodating and very, very nice. Everything started with a tour of the place to familiarize yourself with the amenities. The ambiance was nice, the air conditioning was just right, and everyone there was just doing their own thing. Will definitely recommend this place.” Via LOFT Coworking Space’s Website.
While co-working spaces all agree on the need to provide a healthy, work environment that eventually develops to a professional community of freelancers, rising start-ups and young entrepreneurs, each place is doing it according to their beliefs and goals.
So, if your business is highly based on networking and potential collaborations, aim for co-working spots that provide that. And if your only looking for a temporary office to carry out daily tasks, go for a basic one as well. All in all, it’s essential that you are clear about your business needs and short-term objectives from the get-go.
Just because this point is the last on our list, doesn’t mean it’s the least important by any means. The atmosphere surrounding you is a great determining factor for your work performance. Co-working spaces are known for providing a nice, inviting environment that stimulates people and inspires them to work more and develop their skills. Usually, this is accompanied by an exciting monthly event schedule that includes but is not limited to seminars, workshops and music events.
Attending business events and gatherings is crucial to your business growth. If you want to increase your network, enhance the potential for future collaboration, or generally, for marketing for your business among other professionals. You’ll be surprised with the impact of simple word-of-mouth on your business.
You can also determine whether you’re on board with the place’s atmosphere or not by asking yourself the following questions: Do I feel comfortable with the place’s rules and regulations? Do the events speak to my needs and interests? Do I dig the place’s design, and way of operation?
One of the most impactful points is this whether the place is “too interactive” and hence, noisy for your business needs. Some co-working places are extremely sociable that it can actually become very distracting.
No one knows your business better than yourself. You might need a bit of info, some touring around the most popular co-working spaces in your district, but, definitely, you along with your teammates are better equipped than anyone to make a detailed assessment of your business’s needs both on the short and long-term basis.
Preparing a list of pros and cons will be the easiest, most efficient way to correctly determine your co-working spaces’ preferences. As previously mentioned, look for your comfort, your security, your practicality, and most importantly, your budget limits.
If you still need help deciding the best commercial office space for you, we recommend you check out our Top 26 Co-Working Spaces in the Philippines guide. (hyperlink to the blog once it’s published).
Do you have other doubts? Ask us anything that comes into your mind regarding finding the perfect office space for your business. We might be able to help you out!