6 reasons co-working could be right for your SME or start-up
What is co-working?
Co-working is one of myriad terms used to define schemes in which multiple workspaces in a shared area, are made available by an office space provider. It isn’t dissimilar to an internet café in theory. However, co-working spaces grant users access to all the business facilities they would get if they rented a larger office, at a much smaller price.
Positions at co-working spaces are often available with rolling monthly memberships or even day-rates to allow start-ups and other small businesses to pay for office space only when they need it.
Types of co-working
There are a variety of different types of co-working spaces and arrangements throughout the UK. In the main, however, they fall into one of the following categories.
Spare space in an existing business
If a business has room to spare in its offices, it is not uncommon for the company that owns the office to sub-let the spare space to a smaller company or a group of small companies.
This is often a win-win situation, as the company letting the office space can make some money back on the desks they aren’t using, and the company or companies renting the space get the benefits of working from a professional office environment – with all of the related facilities included – at a fraction of the cost of renting their own offices.
This is when a business centre has a communal space, the specific purpose of which is to lease desks to start-ups, freelancers, sole traders and other small companies and even employees of larger companies who are working remotely.
In general, using this type of office space will give you access to a desk and a chair, (or several if you need them) printers, scanners and Wi-Fi and even boardrooms and meeting rooms you can hire if you need to.
Co-working spaces tend to be open late and have lively, vibrant atmospheres due to the other start-ups and small businesses that share the space.
These venues often hold networking events that can be useful for small businesses to meet each other and share ideas and resources.
‘Co-working incubator’ is the term for a co-working space that is specifically designed for and geared towards start-ups and SMEs. Their aim is to provide an office space where small businesses can collaborate with each other with the intention of aiding growth.
These venues provide all of the facilities a normal office space would provide and can often provide support, funding, training and business advice and incubation as well.
Why a co-working space could be right for your business
There are a variety of reasons that your start-up or SME could benefit from using a co-working space in its early days, rather than renting an entire office suite.
1. It’s flexible
If you were to rent an office suite in the traditional manner, then the likelihood is that, in the early period of your business’ life, you would be paying more than you needed to, for more space than you needed.
It might be that you only need to work from an office a couple of days a week and most of your staff work remotely. If this was the case, even the most flexible of full time leases on an office space for your business would leave you paying for days when your office remained dormant.
Co-working spaces allow you to avoid paying for time that you aren’t there, with many providers offering monthly memberships with no long term commitment necessitated, and even daily and hourly rates for use of their facilities.
2. It’s affordable
Renting a co-working space, as oppose to a traditional office, can create considerable cost savings for your small business or start-up.
With an office space costing an average of £1,354* per desk, per month in London and capable of being almost as expensive elsewhere, places that enable you to rent a desk from as little as £125pcm will help you to ensure that a huge portion more of your business’ income is going back into your business, instead of into renting your office space.
3. You can grow your network
Office space providers, whether they provide only co-working space or traditional offices, as well, often hold regular networking events that you can take advantage of to grow your network and make new connections.
These events can help you to meet people to collaborate with, purchase from and even introduce you to potential new clients. Networking events that can help you to grow your business are one of the many advantages of utilising a co-working space for your small company or start-up.
4. Use of facilities
Renting a co-working space for your business will often provide you with a host of benefits above and beyond the cost saving, when compared to renting a full office.
Most co-working spaces (or hot-pods) will include service charges, electricity and business rates, use of printers and other office equipment, use of boardrooms and even on-site gyms in the monthly fee.
If you’re looking for a co-working space, make sure you choose one that provides you with the most added value. If you do your research, you can get some fantastic deals.
Some people find that working from home isn’t conducive to achieving their best work-rate. Others find that the staff of their small business are more productive when working from an office environment, or perhaps aren’t comfortable having a team working from their own house.
If any of these situations arise for you and your start-up or SME, then it could be worth looking into a co-working space.
It has been proven that increased productivity is linked to great working environments. So looking for a co-working space that is light and airy with the sort of design that encourages creativity and productivity could bring a boost in productivity and profits for your business.
Do you hold a lot of meetings? Are you tired of running out of coffee cups and meeting clients around your dining table?
If this sounds like you, have you considered the image that this projects to your clients and potential investors.
When using a co-working space, you will often get access to meeting rooms and boardrooms you can hire separately, or even as part of the monthly fee you pay.
By using these specialised meeting rooms with state-of-the-art facilities you can project a much more professional image to your clients and present your business as something more than a spare-bedroom outfit.
This can help you to gain credibility and land larger clients, increasing both your profits and chances of growth.
How do I choose the right co-working space?
Depending what your business needs, there are a variety of options available to you.
Choosing the right one largely depends on what you want to get from the office space you work from.
In general, for start-ups and small businesses, the co-working space provider that gives you the most in terms of facilities and benefits, for the smallest monthly fee will be the one to give serious consideration.
At Business First we specialise in providing high quality co-working spaces – we call them hot-pods – that enable users to make the most of all the facilities available to our regular tenants.
Starting at just £125pcm, Business First co-working spaces can help you to grow your business at a flexible rate that suits you.