Here's Why Disruptive Businesses Thrive in Co-working Spaces
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
In the last decade, the advent of smartphones and technological advancements has served as catalysts to a new, disruptive type of thinking - one where founders are able to rapidly build scalable businesses based on problem statements that could never have been solved without access to a smartphone. Ten years ago, nobody ever thought it was a problem that a taxi didn’t appear when we pressed a button on our phones.
Today, our workforce is dominated by the millennials, billions of hopeful individuals who have more exposure to new ideas and access to information than any generation that has preceded them. This is a generation of workers whose contemporaries are building unicorns that have given birth to new forms of consumption (for example, consumers have begun trading resource ownership for convenience), leaving entire industries in their wake. As a result, the world is witnessing an Age of Innovation, where every day sees thousands of new entrepreneurs question the status quo on how we consume, comprehend, bond, and interact with every facet of our daily lives.
This new age of businesses, coupled with the rise of online commerce has planted the seeds for a burgeoning new freelance economy, one where business are able to find independent workers from across the globe who specialize in every fathomable business function; from building a web site to managing your finances.
How Co-Working Spaces Have Changed the Way We Work
Enter co-working spaces - shared workspaces that house vast ecosystems of entrepreneurs, freelancers, start-ups and small businesses. These are workspaces that come loaded with every possible amenity or service required by the entrepreneurs and businesses that inhabit the spaces - from meeting rooms of all sizes, gourmet coffee that rivals most premium cafés, WiFi, printing and mailroom services.
Co-working spaces are designed with the intention of fostering a community - from juxtaposing open, communal spaces with private Phone Booths and meeting rooms, these are spaces that make users feel connected with the people who surround them. As a result, it’s commonplace to see different companies interacting with each other, exchanging ideas and often even working together on projects. For instance, at a coworking space, you may see a FinTech start-up working with a freelance Interaction Designer from within the community, to redesign their mobile app’s user experience. The true value of this community doesn't end with this collaboration. They will now continue to enhance the user experience based on insights gained by testing the mobile app on other members of the space. This cross-pollination of ideas often bears fruit, and new businesses are born within these close-knit ecosystems. It’s no wonder that such spaces tend to be proving grounds for the independent and creative workforce.
Co-working Spaces Help You Save
Early stage entrepreneurs tend to be starved of two factors: time and funding, and the business model underlying the co-working industry addresses these two concerns. In contrast to traditional office leases - where businesses are forced to bear high upfront costs and long lock-in periods, co-workings paces offer entrepreneurs month-to-month flexibility; where members are able to scale up (or down) the number of desks that they use based on business needs. Members also benefit from negligible upfront costs.
Furthermore, if a business were operating out of their own office, they would be forced to invest a considerable amount of their own time dealing with challenges such as administrative issues or utilities-related challenges such as fluctuation in power or the internet. However, co-working operators manage these headaches on behalf of their members, leaving the aspiring entrepreneurs to focus their every minute on building their business, rather than on such distractions. In fact, co-working spaces tend to provide businesses with savings up to 30% in comparison to their alternatives.
Best Way to Network
Each week in a co-working space you see multiple events being hosted with the intention of benefitting the community. Mentors, investors and industry experts frequent these spaces, sharing their wisdom on every conceivable topic from how to raise capital to why it’s important for start-ups to nail their formula for work culture. Recreational events designed to bring the community together include anything from Oktoberfest celebrations with free-flowing beer all the way to Zumba sessions amped with energy.
Co-working operators that are spread across multiple locations are investing heavily in technology to connect members of the space with each other - making it easier for people in different locations to find other (freelance) members to work with, or just get a drink with. This technology also puts all the workspace amenities and services within arm’s reach, so booking meeting rooms or checking in visitors is as easy as pie.
Most metropolitan cities today host multiple coworking operators, each located in close proximity to restaurants, bars and retail. These locations are also conveniently located in proximity to metros or arterial roads, so commuting to such locations is hassle-free. It’s no wonder that even large enterprises today have started to not only take notice, but also re-think their workplace strategy.