SHARED = SYNERGY
All business owners on the path to entrepreneurship reach the expansion crossroads at one point or another – no capacity for new projects, no space for supplies and files, decisions to purchase expensive equipment to facilitate the processes. The natural next decision would be deciding between a shared office space, or taking a bigger jump and leasing a business unit. Now, although one common mind-set about shared office spaces is that they’re cramped, crowded and disruptive, the truth is actually quite the opposite, that is, if one is opportunistic enough to see the prospects. Forget the whole concept of shared spaces for a while, and imagine a world with no doors, where everyone is on the same path as yourself, enthusiastic, hungry for success, with skillsets that complement yours and entrepreneurial experience you can capitalise on. Let’s break it down.
Exposure from their clients
Marketing to the masses is expensive, especially if you’re running a micro-enterprise. You simply don’t have the extravagant budgets to emulate the big dogs of the industry. So, free marketing is essential to build a solid foundation for your company. The lack of barriers in shared office spaces allow for other companies’ clients to be exposed to the services and products you provide, increasing the chances of new business prospects at no cost whatsoever; less need for flyers, website spaces, classified ads and other expensive marketing tools.
This is one invaluable benefit of working alongside other business owners. Whether you’re in sales, bookkeeping, design or architecture, new contacts are always a boon for business. Of course, you’ll be expected to share your database as well, but who loses in a win-win situation? In a doorless environment, you’ll be sharing space with important contacts who can lead to more business, or more than that, they themselves could potentially be your clients.
Let’s face it – no one specialises in everything. Unless, of course, you’re a conglomerate dominating the supply chain, but hey, you’re just starting out, and your niche remains singular. Of course, you can always outsource certain tasks, but experience would tell you that this often leads to inconsistent quality, botched deadlines and less profit for you. The middle ground between that and hiring your own employees would be collaborations, and shared spaces are bursting with this prospect. Of course, you might have to hang around the water cooler more than you would care to.
OK, this isn’t really networking, but it’s advantageous nonetheless. Working out of a home office, you’d be in either a stagnant environment or a disruptive one. In a shared office space, however, you’d be surrounded by striving business owners in their make-or-break phases – completely the opposite of what you’d experience in an office with a couple of employees facilitating your kick-off. Additionally, should you be in the dark about the technical administrative processes during your expansion, all you have to do is knock on a couple of doors. Make sure they’re friendly first, though.
At the end of the day
In the aspect of building synergetic relationships, shared office spaces could potentially put you head and shoulders above your competitors at the same level. While they work in stagnancy, you’d be surrounded by active minds in an electric entrepreneurial atmosphere. If you give it a try and find that you still prefer isolation, hey, it’s not a binding lease agreement, right?