Why Landlords and Property Managers can Benefit from the Coworking Trend

Coworking is the new “normal”, and it’s not only attracting freelancers and entrepreneurs, but also corporates and property managers. What started off as a trend ten years ago is now revolutionizing the way people think about the workplace and about space in general.

Today’s world is powered by experience; the ability of spaces to offer to individuals a balance of work, life, and play. It’s why mix-use buildings are gaining popularity and why concepts such as co-living are attracting investors across the globe.

Landlords and property managers are now aware of the added value that a coworking space can give to their building. Coworking and shared workspaces are increasingly focusing on the hospitality aspect of their service. To be successful in this industry, operators need to offer unique services and amenities to their members to attract and retain them.

Offering these types of perks increases the value of the space, and therefore the building. People are willing to pay more to get a better experience; this could be anything from certified spaces, to top-notch connectivity, to access to unique events. And while coworking operators are the ones running the show, property owners have now realized how they can monetize and benefit from the trend.

For one, by working with a coworking operator, landlords take away the hassle of looking for tenants and it gives them more freedom to repurpose and redesign the space to fit their particular needs at a specific time.  Secondly, if a coworking member outgrows the coworking space and they’ve had a good experience with the building, chances are they will look for space within the building, just on a different floor–this circles back to our first point.

Thirdly, it allows landlords to stay updated on current trends on workplace design, technology, and management best practices. Fourth, landlords have found coworking operators to be great partners when it comes to running and managing a building. This is what operators are there for, to deal with all the nitty-gritty so that the end-user will have the best experience ever; this focus makes them the best partner out there to manage a building and do so in an advantageous way.

Finally, it allows property owners to tap into a formerly untapped market–like the younger generation, retired professionals, or growing companies. Where before their market was a small one, there now lays a new opportunity to redefine what their space should be like, and whom it will cater to.

In the end, it all boils down to one thing: added value. Landlords and property owners alike are embracing the coworking trend because it is increasing their building and property’s value–both monetary and in terms of perception from the end-user. And the opportunity goes beyond partnering with an existing coworking brand; in fact, some property owners are now running and operating their own brand of coworking or shared workspaces.


3 Reasons Why Your Cell Phone Should Not Be Your Business Phone

Though the idea of having 2 cell phones is daunting as it is, there is a good reason why all major businesses around the world make sure their employees have a separate personal and professional phone number.

And though entrepreneurs might be tempted to keep their number for all personal and business purposes, this is a mistake, especially as your business starts to grow.

It’s unprofessional

Impressions lasts, and just as you aren’t likely to welcome a client in your home office, neither should you communicate with them via your personal cell phone. It’s unprofessional, and it is especially risky when the number calling you is unknown.

Think about it: how do you often pick up the phone if you don’t know who’s calling? If you’re busy, you might come across and angry or rude. Some people go as far as not even picking up the phone when unknown numbers call them. Following this, what’s your voicemail like? Have you personalized it? Do you check it often?

These are all important questions you need to ask yourself and analyze. While it might incur on a bigger cost to haven an additional number for business purposes, the cost will pay itself out as more clients come to you for your professionalism and treatment.

It blurs even more the line between work and life

Though much of today is more about work-like integration rather than keeping it separate, it’s still necessary that we all unplug and recharge from work every now and then. If you are at a family dinner, on a romantic weekend with your partner, or simply out for drinks with friends and your phone rings you are likely to pick up, even when you shouldn’t. It’s already hard as it is to focus on non-business parts of your life; having a different number for personal and professional reasons will help you in reaching a better state of wellbeing.

Your personal phone can’t grow with your business

As your business grows, so will be the demands from your clients and the demands from you to your workers and to yourself. When it comes to dealing with widespread communication among various individuals, the best option is to have a centralized system, where people know whom and how to reach them when necessary. Plus, it makes it easier to delegate tasks and forward calls to the right person.

If you stick to your personal number, chances are you and your clients will get mixed up, leading to dissatisfaction and unnecessary levels of stress.

So, what can you do?

Well, there are different choices available. Many telecommunication firms offer corporate packages with a set amount of different numbers you can use. Additionally, there are now various VoIP systems, which have the added benefit that you can keep one device only while maintaining two separate numbers: this way you can easily tell if the call you are getting is business or pleasure.

In the end, it’s all about presenting yourself as a professional, always and in all situations.


5 Tips for Creating Your Own Coworking Space

Coworking spaces have flourished across the globe, as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and companies of all sizes embrace this new type of working environment. These types of workspaces are known for driving collaboration, innovation, and productivity and for having a strong sense of community.

Many are now aware of the benefits of coworking spaces, and demand for them is set to increase in the upcoming years. And while large companies are taking over large cities like New York, London, Melbourne, and Hong Kong; there is a big opportunity for new players to enter the industry, especially at a local level.

When it comes to coworking, urban areas and tier 2 cities are underserved, creating a business opportunity for local professionals. Yet, there’s more to coworking than just bringing people together to work, and for a space to be successful, various things need to be thought-out and planned.

1. Know your community (market)

If you are hoping to open a coworking space in your town or neighborhood, make sure you understand the needs and likes of the market. Coworking spaces are all about community, and to nurture and build a strong community within your space, you need to have a good understanding of the people who will be a part of your community; what their lines of business are, what their working hours look like, and how they like to work.

2. Find the right location

The adage of “location, location, location” exists for a reason. A successful coworking space is located in a strategic area, one that people can easily reach either by bike, train, car, or public transportation. Aim to be located near other commercial areas, such as restaurants and stores, in order to bring more life to your overall neighborhood community; this will add value to your space and also to your members, who will have access to other necessities without having to commute more.

3. Focus on your services

Location is key, but so are your services. Coworking spaces aim to make a professional’s work life easier, by providing and taking care of all the little things. This means going beyond providing fast WIFI; think about the overall design, from furniture to power outlets, and also think about what additional perks and amenities your members need, anything from printing services, dry cleaning, catered meals, to access to meeting rooms and mail reception and handling services.

4. Design various membership plans

Based on your market research, consider offering different membership options for users. Some might just need a space a few days a month, others a few days a week, and others most days. Similarly, some people might just be looking for a meeting room a couple times a month, so consider offering your meeting rooms to members and non-members. Once you have the memberships established, find a pricing plan that is competitive in the local market and will also allow you to break even and grow.

5. Consult industry experts

Though it might still seem like a new concept, modern-day coworking has been around for about 13 years, and because it is a community-focused industry, people are willing to help one another out. If you have doubts about membership plans, the best layout and design, whether you should offer private offices or not, or which services should be complementary and which charged for, consider reaching out to other coworking founders or industry experts, as they are likely to share their knowledge with you and point you in the right direction.

In the end, you want to create a space that is tailored to your community, that inspires your members, and makes their work lives easier. Once you’re up and running, always check up on your members, ask them for feedback, and host special events for them; this will help you build and strengthen your workspace and local community.


Coworking Is Not Just for Freelancers & Entrepreneurs Anymore; Big Business Too

The first modern-day coworking space opened back in 2005 in San Francisco. Shortly after, many other coworking spaces followed, opening to offer working space for freelancers and entrepreneurs who used to mostly work from home or coffee shops. Fast-forward 13 years and coworking is still around, although with a different value proposition and business model.

While it used to be that freelancers, entrepreneurs, and startups were the main users of these collaborative spaces; the trend has shifted to include medium-sized businesses and large corporations. Corporate coworking has been around for a few years now, though it wasn’t until recently that it became a widespread trend across the world for companies to incorporate coworking spaces into their real estate strategy.

There are several reasons why corporates started to embrace the coworking movement. One of the most attractive value propositions of coworking today is the flexibility that these spaces offer and their ability to connect people and bring them together. Yet, there’s more. One of the main reasons why large companies are partnering with coworking providers is to provide a workspace experience that contributes to employee wellness.

Wellness is more than eating healthy and having an active lifestyle–it’s about mental health, about productivity, and about experience. As the lines of work and life continue to blur, companies need to find creative ways in which to make the workspace a destination for their employees; a place where they want to be and they will be empowered to be and perform their best.

Coworking spaces offer several amenities that contribute to wellness in the workspace, and companies have taken different approaches to this. While some large enterprises have opened their own coworking spaces, others have partnered with existing operators in order to manage their space.

Wellness is one key value proposition, but so is innovation. Change comes fast and often in today’s tech-driven world, and companies need to be resilient and innovative to remain competitive in a global market. Innovation can be powered by ‘healthy collision’, when people are forced to interact with one another, sharing and challenging existing ideas. Coworking spaces, because they bring together individuals from various industries and lines of work, provide a perfect opportunity for company employees to mingle and ‘collide’ with one another.

This also serves another purpose: attracting and retaining talent–one of the most common challenges most companies face today. Providing an attractive workspace, combined with the opportunity to work with the best and brightest of different industries can be a great motivator for a person to join and stay with one company. On the corporate side, this type of arrangement will aid them in keeping an eye out on talent, startups that they might be interested in acquiring, and help their current team create creative products, services, or solutions.


Why Coworking Operators Should Look to The Suburbs for Growth

“There are three main sources of net population growth for a city: foreign immigration, net domestic urban migration when people move from one city to another, and old-fashioned urbanization—people moving from the country to the city or from a small city to bigger city. When you look at the current population flows—and more importantly the longer-term trends, all three sources are pointed at the fast-growth mid-markets and suburbs around major metros.” – Jayson White, Urban Affairs Expert, for Allwork.Space

While big brand coworking operators like WeWork, Industrious, and Mindspace look to big cities to expand their portfolio, an entire arena is left untapped: the suburbs and mid-sized cities.

WalletHub’s late 2017 research found that the fastest-growing cities in the US are in fact mid-sized cities, including Frisco, TX; Kent, WA; Lehigh Acres, FL; Midland, TX; and McKinney, TX. Coworking and serviced workspace operators looking to grow their brand and their business should, therefore, look suburban markets, as that’s where the most growth is taking place.

By opening a serviced workspace in these areas, operators are creating an entirely new value proposition for the city or town. Given that there aren’t many, or any, flexible workspaces available in the metros and suburbs, the value proposition of coworking spaces is substantially higher than it would be in a Tier 1 city.

With economic growth being higher in mid-sized markets than it is in larger cities, it’s clear that there are individuals with ideas that need a space to work. Some of these individuals might currently be commuting back and forth from the suburbs to the city, others might be easily working from the local cafe. Truth be told, it doesn’t really matter where they are working from; it matters that there is an entire market that isn’t yet being catered to.

These people need a space where they can connect and be surrounded by like-minded people with an entrepreneurial spirit. Others might simply need a place to work from once or twice a week, when going into the central office isn’t necessary.

Large coworking operators are not looking to cater to these markets; they’re concerned with big, cosmopolitan cities. The opportunity for small, independent operators is there. It’s these operators the ones that will be best capable of filling the void, especially as individuals living in mid-sized markets are more community-driven, so coworking operators with a strong focus on community and hospitality will be the ones to best fit in.

The opportunity is there, it’s just a matter of how best to take advantage for it. This means that as an operator, you need to research and understand the community and neighborhood you will be catering to. You’ll need to figure out the types of services that people in that suburb need and the prices that they are willing to pay for them. Office Suite Strategies can help workspace operators grow their brand in the suburbs by doing market research and developing a business strategy unique to each operator and location.

For more information, click here.


4 Essentials That Persuade Companies You’re the Expert They Should Hire

According to USA Today, consulting full time can pay as much as $175,000 a year. Now, before you set out to sell your services, you need to truly know and understand what it is companies are looking for in a consultant.

Once you have that clear, then you’ll know what to do and say in order to get hired. Yet, getting hired is not just about having a good sales pitch, it’s also about trust. In order for a company to trust you as a consultant, you need credibility. Credibility, for its part, can be established and proved in several ways–though when it comes to the consulting business, there are 4 key ways in which you can present yourself as the consultant a company hopes for.

4 Ways to Establish Credibility and Land Consulting Clients

Prove that you’re an expert

This means you can’t just say you’re an expert, you need to look good on paper as well (or more accurately, you need to look good online).

Your website, your social media, your LinkedIn profile–they must all transmit the same message: you know your stuff and you know how to share that knowledge. This means that you need to position yourself as a thought-leader in your area of expertise; this can be done via eBooks, white papers, videos, blogs, podcasts, etc. What these mediums show is that you are able of transmitting knowledge.

Think about a good professor. A good professor isn’t necessarily the best and brightest in a specific area or subject; it’s the person who is able to successfully share and transmit what they’ve learned throughout the years. Having an online presence that confirms what you’re able to do and that at the same times gives an example of how you do it can be a true deal maker.

The power of publishing

Thought-leadership. That’s what it boils down to. Company decision-makers are always looking for new ways to gain knowledge, to improve their business, and to learn. This means that they are looking for content online and offline, content that can help them create a better business model, content that can help them innovate, content that can help them develop better strategies, you get the idea.

Depending on your target audience, you need to research where they search for this type of content. Once you’ve established the right channel, you need to start contributing there to become a trusted source of knowledge in your line of business.

Publishing content, especially in channels that are respected by the industry, will give you credibility and make you a more attractive hire.

Put yourself out there

Publishing content is one way to establish yourself as an expert. Another way to do this is to be interviewed or featured in a podcast, webinar, or video. Being interviewed or featured by someone else is a strong way to obtain social proof, as it demonstrates that influential individuals respect you and are interested in hearing what you have to say about your subject of expertise.

Give a sneak-peek

The best way to convince someone to hire you is to show them what you’re capable of doing and how you do it. Record yourself on video and upload the videos to your website and social media. Giving potential clients the opportunity to see you working without much compromise is likely to play in your favor. Videos are a great way to show transparency and to showcase your capabilities.

For your consulting business to be lucrative, you need to understand what clients are searching for, you need to find the best way to transmit that knowledge and how you can help them, and you need to establish credibility and trust.

Here at OSS we’ve established our credibility by publishing blogs, publishing in third-party channels, and hosting webinars with strategic partners; all this with the goal to share our insights openly. In the end, it boils down to obtaining the social proof that will make the decision that much easier for future clients.



5 Coworking Space Marketing Tips to Drive More Members

We know the benefits of coworking spaces. We know you, as a coworking space owner or manager also know the benefits of a coworking space. But, does your local community know and truly understand the benefits?

Over the past several years coworking has proved itself to be a successful and sustainable business model. However, as with many other lines of business, it needs to be strategically planned and executed–including a marketing strategy.

While coworking is a hot word today, many people remain confused about what exactly it is and the various advantages it provides to businesses of all sizes. In lieu of this, it’s important that coworking operators have a marketing strategy that will help them educate and attract new members.

Here are five ways you can do it.

1. Spotlight your members

What better way for others to learn about the benefits of a coworking space than hearing it directly from those who have benefitted the most? Give your current members a shout out, it will help you attract new members and it will help build loyalty among your current ones.

Highlight what they do, their accomplishments, and how your coworking space has helped them grow and succeed. There are various formats to spotlighting members–from social media posts, to weekly newsletters, and even short introduction videos.

2. Send out newsletter

This can also help with attracting and retaining members. Use newsletters to spotlight your members, to send out promotions, updates, and invite people to visit your space or attend events.

Newsletters are a great way to build an online community and inform your local community about your space, the activities you organize, and the various uses of coworking spaces. You can even share some of your blog posts (if you have one, though we strongly recommend you do) or send out pricing information and the various types of membership options you offer.

P.s. Make it visually appealing and easy to read in desktop and mobile. We also suggest using a newsletter platform that can help you track who is opening and reading your newsletters.

Use social media

Social media is a powerful marketing tool and it can greatly help coworking operators showcase their space, their community, and their events. Use images, graphics, video, and plain text; however, choose your social platforms carefully and don’t sign up to all of them. Choose the ones that you believe will help you the most and make sure you have a strategy and that the content on all of your platforms is unique, yet always aligned to a common goal. And always remember, social media is mostly about being social, so make sure you interact with your followers and answers comments and questions.

Host events

Ever heard “see it to believe it”? It applies in business, as in life and sometimes people want to try something out first before committing to it. Coworking tours can help greatly, but oftentimes these don’t allow for people to experience the community. This is where hosting events for members and non-members can greatly help, as it allows people to visit your space and get a taste of the community that’s a part of it.

It doesn’t need to be a huge event; you can host yoga classes, marketing workshops, brown-bag lunches, or host a local art event.

Embrace video

Make a video of your space, of your members, of your local events…make short videos about “A Day in [Your Space] Coworking”. It’s about telling a story and demonstrating to people that your coworking space is not just a physical space where people can work from, but that rather it’s an experience.

Oftentimes images fall short on conveying the ‘flow and life’ of a space and its people. Video is great solution that can be easily integrated to other marketing efforts. However, don’t go making long videos; keep them short and sweet, and share them often.

Remember that marketing is not just about sharing content, you have to have a strategy, a purpose, and a holistic approach in order for the efforts to be fruitful. If you need help coming up with a marketing strategy or deciding which approaches will work best for your space, reach out to us.


Positioning Your Coworking & Shared Space for Success in 2018

2017 is quickly coming to an end, and believe it or not, this is a good time to start thinking and planning for 2018. After all, it’s always better to start early than to have to catch up late.

January can be a slow month for coworking and shared workspace operators, especially as many are getting back in from vacation, others focus on getting back on their work routine, while still others focus on getting their kids back on school mode. In addition to this, it often happens that will all the festivities and celebrations, many try to budget more during the first months of the year.

So, what can you do to make sure that you position your space from early on in the year to set the right pace for the duration of 2018?

Check and update your website

We know, you updated your website about 6 months ago…but, that’s not enough. Think of it as the “New Year, New You” of your business. Browse around your website, read your copy, analyze the images: does it paint an accurate picture of what your workspace is like, of what your community is like, of the advantages of your space?

Once you’ve established your website is user-friendly, visually appealing, and provides visitors with all the necessary info to get them to visit your space, or you’ve updated it so it meets these requirements, consider other ways you can use your website to market and position yourself.

People oftentimes start the year with small changes, apply the same logic to your workspace and use your website to brag about it. Whether it’s a new coffee maker, new chairs, new decorations, or a new service, make sure current and prospect members can easily find and access the information.

In any case, remember that websites are the new ‘window-shopping’. If it doesn’t stand out, then neither will your workspace.

Showcase your community and members

What better way to show the value of your workspace than by showing why other people value it? This is a strategy that will help you retain current members, as well as help you attract new ones. Whether it’s on social media, on your website, or via email newsletters, give a shout out to your members, show their success, and let the world know how your shared workspace helped them become successful.

This is an authentic, organic way to build and grow your community. Here’s the extra kick: we all need a bit of a push and motivation at the beginning of the year to get the wheels going again, sometimes just hearing the stories of others can be enough to get us back at it.

Host an event for members and non-members

Either rent out your space for an event, or host it yourself. Host a start of the year conference, invite local artists to share their work, host a workshop for business planning, or simply invite the community for a happy networking hour.

Sometimes people need to see and experience something for themselves prior to making a decision. Hosting events is a great way to position your workspace within the local community and to show everyone that your doors are open and ready to welcome anyone who wishes to join. What’s more, current members often greatly benefit from these events, as it provides them with a unique opportunity to expand their network and forge new relationships.

If you need help organizing an event, revamping your website, or coming up with unique ideas on how to showcase your members, let us know. At Office Suite Strategies we offer various consulting services that can help workspace operators position their brand and build a strong business strategy.


Building a Strong Brand: Four Strategic Moves for Startups

It’s a problem every new business has to face: what can you do to make your brand not only stand out but stand the test of time?

Getting strategic is key to success. If longevity is your goal, you can’t simply mimic the tactics of your biggest competitors. For authenticity’s sake, you will have to think outside the box and build your brand from the ground up.

Look to your competitors to find out what others are doing in your space, but play to your strengths to establish true differentiation. Here are some tried-and-true brand-building methods to help you get started in crafting your own unique story.

1. Know and understand your audience

Defining your brand has many layers, including packaging, messaging, and marketing. To be able to craft compelling imagery and proof, you will need to know who you are selling to. If you are bringing a product or service to market that has global potential, you need to consider that as well. Cultural differences often require different tactics. Find out who your target market is and speak to them and them only. Be consistent and reach out to them over and over again.

2. Your competition is not the enemy

In most industries, there is a leader that can easily be identified. If you are consistent and strategic in your efforts, you will eventually meet all of the players, up to and including the top dog. Once you set your marketing plan in motion, you will likely convince some people to switch to your brand and suddenly, you will be on everybody’s watch list. Will you be ready to handle that scrutiny? Don’t shy away from this level of competition. If the top brands consider you worthy of watching, you are in a good place. Use your power wisely.

3. Play to your strengths

If you offer added value, versatility, cost savings, better operational efficiency, or any kind of advantage that differentiates you from the rest, put the emphasis on that. Whatever it is that makes your brand stand out, find that thing and hang your hat on it. If there are trends in your industry that may necessarily change your direction in a few years, find out what they are and plan well for it. Have a plan in place that will take you well into the future and you will always have a clear path to follow.

4. Put yourself out there: give it away

Building strong partnerships requires some generosity on your part. If you’re a new service or product, it’s difficult to build a reputation without some history to back it up. Consider giving your product or service away to an influential company or individual that can give you valuable feedback and endorsements. In a world fueled by ratings and reviews, getting great peer reviews will serve you well and will get you noticed by a wider audience.

Office Suites Strategies

These are just a few steps you can take to building a strong brand. If you would like to learn more about Office Suites Strategies or about building your brand, give us a call.

GWA Conference Recap Image

Office Evolution Conference RECAP

The Global Workspace Association’s 2017 conference was packed with workspace tours, insights, and trends. Titled “Office Evolution Conference”, the three day event (Nov. 8-10) held in Brooklyn, NY delivered key information and knowledge on the future of the workplace. The takeaway: it’s not only an office evolution, it’s also a revolution.

Hosted alongside NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association), the conference brought together leaders from the real estate and workspace-as-a-service industries, including Gensler, Industrious, CBRE, Convene, and Delos, to name a few. Topics covered ranged from workplace design, wellness, and tech to financing models and the future of CRE.

After 3 days, 28 sessions attended, and 53 panelists heard, here are some of our key takeaways from the conference:

  • The “office” is no longer just a place to work. It’s an asset that can help companies attract and retain talent, foster a strong company culture, and create a unique experience that adds to a person’s overall life and wellbeing.
  • Common spaces in buildings are no longer an option, they’re a must. Common spaces can be used to build community and make buildings more attractive. It’s all in the line of delivering a unique experience–through collaboration, special events, careful design, and wellness programs. These spaces foster creativity and innovation, and have the potential to bring people together–to eat, work, or simply relax. This is a key driver in what is attracting the newest generation of workers to the coworking/shared workspace model today.
  • The shared workspace model is a great opportunity for landlords. Property companies and large enterprises should start thinking about ways to incorporate and integrate coworking/shared workspace models to their current business strategies. This means mix-use buildings are the future; people are demanding spaces that deliver holistic experiences and have the capacity to be used for life, work, and play. There is a tremendous opportunity here for property companies and landlords to partner and work together with shared workspace providers and management companies.
  • Workspaces today need to be agile. This means shorter contracts, the capacity to expand or contract as necessary, and provide various workspace options–shared space, open space, collaboration space, etc. Dubbed “Office 3.0”, the workplace of the future will holistically blend together space, services, products, and infrastructure. Simply put, the workplace is now a destination, and a hospitality approach to workplace management is now a priority.

The bottom line is that flexible workspaces–the workspace-as-a-service industry–are here to stay, and large companies adopting flexible work policies and embracing the services of coworking and serviced offices are driving the growth of the industry.

About the author:

Office Suite Strategies is a shared workspace consulting and management company comprised of experienced business professionals focused on assisting property owners achieve maximum value from their real estate investments. Offering a broad range of services, our unparalleled experience in developing, opening, and managing shared workspace properties enables us to achieve extraordinary results for our clients.

If you’d like more information or are wondering how you can apply this knowledge to your commercial building, feel free to reach out to us.