5 top reasons start-ups should opt for coworking
by Peter Ames, September 20
Coworking’s no longer a new phenomenon, far from it in fact, but it is going from strength to strength across the country. No longer limited to big cities, many smaller towns (and even villages) will offer some sort of coworking space. So why should you consider it for your start-up? Peter Ames, from deskspace experts OfficeGenie.co.uk, explains all.
Obviously getting your first office can be a major stepping point on the way to start-up success, but a conventional long-term lease just doesn’t work for many new businesses (more on this next). In your start-up’s early stages, generally, you want to focus all your attention doing business – rather than fixing the printer or choosing a broadband package.
This is where co-working comes in handy: Things such as broadband and utilities, furniture and storage all comes included in your monthly rental. This means you can indeed focus on doing what you do best.
Ready to go
What’s more, all of the above come pre-set up, you so you won’t really have to spend much time furnishing and kitting out your space before you move in. Simply turn up with a laptop, and you’re good to go (in most cases).
The downside of all this, is that you will inevitably have very little/no control over office design/facilities. One of the joys of traditional space is the way in which you can customise it and design it to suit your business, something that’s not an option in a shared space. Give it time, and a bit of success, and this stage will come though.
When you’re starting up, life can be volatile – to say the least. Signing up to rent office space in the conventional manner generally involves a minimum commitment of 3 years, which isn’t ideal in the early days. However, coworking lease agreements tend to work on a rolling month-to-month basis, giving you the flexibility you need.
There can also be the option to take more space (if available), cut down, or even move away altogether. All this also makes it a great option for established businesses needing a temporary space, or looking to find a home for a section of their business.
While things such as free beer Fridays might grab the headlines, we think the most exciting stuff that happens in a coworking space, is that which happens every day: They are a great place for a startup business to be, as there will more than likely be a number of other innovative businesses. In the very best case this offers opportunities for collaboration and skill sharing, at the very least it should generate a dynamic environment that can bring the very best out of people.
Of course, it’s not for everyone. For some, the office buzz might become more of a drone, and there is always the risk you just don’t get on with the people working nearby. You also want to ensure you’re not sharing with your competitors. All of this should be solved by a quick visit and view before you sign up, which is always good practice.
The bottom line
Ultimately, co-working can be one of the most cost-effective means of renting office space, especially for a small, or startup, business. We found that deskspace in shared offices comes in, on average, around £100 cheaper per-person per-month than the (admittedly often higher-spec) serviced equivalent. Extrapolate this out over a 5-person business over the course of the year, and you could see a significant saving!
Coworking is rarely cheaper than a traditional office lease, which generally remains the cheapest way to rent office space in the long term. However, the extreme commitments involved in these can cost you a lot more in the long run if your situation changes.
But it’s more than just a purely financial question, combine all of the above and coworking can represent a great option for many businesses.
Peter Ames is Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, a search engine for office rentals in Wales and the rest of the UK.
Image credit: Steve Purkiss