Opening a second coworking space is a huge step which comes with a lot of challenges. We invited Jeannine van der Linden to share her experience on how to approach the expansion process.
Jeannine van der Linden is the Founder of De Kamer, an intentional network of coworking spaces. She’s also a Director of Accessibility and Sustainability at the European Coworking Assembly, and a Managing Partner of Open Coworking, a global community of people dedicated to the values of Collaboration, Openness, Community, Accessibility, and Sustainability in their shared workplace.
In this webinar, Jeannine covers several essentials which you should consider once you start thinking about opening a second coworking space.
Below you can find the recording and a recap of the content.
Know who you are and who you’re for
Before you step to planning for the physical location itself, you should define well two essential things – who you are and who you’re for. This will allow you to figure out your target audience, choose the right location, and structure your business model properly.
Jeannine shares that if you manage to answer those questions in the very beginning, you’ll avoid a lot of problems further down the road of expansion.
According to her, every coworking brand should have a focus. As an example, De Kamer was conceptualized and created to be a network, where businesses can find their home.
It was never meant to be a single coworking space, but a larger ecosystem. Having that core differentiator in mind has helped nailing planning, finding, and setting up the new location it came time to expand.
Let your community have a say
Jeannine says that in every coworking space there’s part of the community that’s really engaged with your space and they will be willing to share their thoughts and feedback, which will be of remarkable value when planning your second location.
Your community holds a lot of intelligence about the way your first coworking space functions and can give you plenty of insights on how to approach your second location. It worths talking to your members and asking them what’s going well and what’s not, what do they like about your space, what would they improve.
Define the relationship between the two locations
There are 3 main approaches when defining the relationship between locations:
- Creating a network
- Having independent but still related locations
- Having fully independent locations
Defining your approach will help you nail what location and business model would fit best for your second coworking space. Having that in mind will also help you avoid cannibalization between your two locations.
Examine the location and its business climate
When looking for a location for your second coworking space, Jeannine states that it’s important to have some kind of process. From her experience, there are 2 essential research steps you should go through as a starting point:
- Look at the city/region and do research about the place itself – what people are there, what industries are most common?
- Examine the local entrepreneurial climate – is there an already established one or you have to create it?
She suggests adopting both online and offline research approach. On the one hand, you can receive plenty of information about the city and the local business climate from the web. On the other, it worths going there and spending some time on site, hanging around, and talking to people.
Making that initial research will allow you to understand if that particular city or region would be a good fit for your second coworking space. And if yes – how you’re going to integrate into the local business environment.
Jeannine adds that establishing a relationship with local business communities prior to starting the opening process will be a good foundation for your second location.
Knowing what’s your mission and what’s unique about your coworking space, along with being well aware of your audience, is the starting point of successful expansion.
Next, an in-depth examination of the local market and business environment comes in place. Once you choose the location that best suits your needs, and you sign the lease, it’s a question of media and communications, and working on your design and your identity, which goes back to who you are and who you’re for.
If you set up those things clear, all the other things tend to fall in place.
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✅ 👉 You might also like our blog post The importance of Design and Implementation of Processes when Scaling Your Coworking Space where you can learn how to deal with the main operational and team management challenges when scaling.
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