Choosing the right audience to target is crucial for coworking business success. Generic solutions can't make members happy as they don't resonate with their personal and business interests. Unhappy residents rarely stay loyal, never buy too many additional services, and don't recommend your workspace to their friends.
All those aspects surely affect your coworking space economy. In fact, the best time to select a target audience for your coworking space is before even launching it, when you research the market and identify brand positioning.
However, if your workspace is up and running and you feel like you missed something important for its growth and sustainability, it's never too late to make some improvements. From this article, you will learn what types of members come to coworking spaces, what they are looking for there, and how can you cater to the requirements of each audience.
In earlier days coworking spaces were mostly occupied by freelancers and solopreneurs. However, as flexible workspace business is getting mature, their population becomes more varied.
Let's start with the newest audience category that came in sight not so long ago but immediately became the one to pursue as the most stable and profitable.
More and more big corporations such as Google and Twitter prefer flexible workspaces instead of traditional offices. They have lots of reasons to become coworking space tenants:
Enterprise clients are dreamboats for flexible workspaces because numbers in their bills are really notable, allowing centers grow bigger really fast. But how can you attract a corporate customer? First of all, you need an awesome online presence. Word of mouth doesn't work here, so you'd better put your digital marketing strategies into play.
As to the workspace amenities, enterprises would rather opt for larger private offices with custom branding, so your task is to design those well-equipped, contemporary offices for them. I also recommend you outfit your workspace with cutting-edge technology such as a meeting room booking system, cloud printing, access control, etc. For this part, you need coworking space software with cool apps for members, which integrates all mentioned solutions and enables members to utilize them from their smartphones.
Small teams may include from two to ten members. These are traditional law, accounting, design, architecture, real estate, engineering, and other firms. Their typical needs are:
If you want to sign up a small team, here is an additional argument to use for them. You can add their services to the Service Catalog for members available right inside your coworking app. This will help your tenants get some new customers effortlessly.
When a few people decide to start a business, they can't be 100% positive about its success and profitability. They don't want to invest much money and rent an office because they don't know if their business is going to live a few months or many years. Startups are usually satisfied with desks in the open space. Their main criterion is if the workspace you offer fits their tight budget or not.
Welcoming startups as members you must keep in mind that they are likely to grow (especially if you offer some startup accelerator program) and ask for team suits. You should be ready to cater to the growing requirements of a growing business, otherwise, they will leave for your competitor or rent an office.
The hybrid workforce is a relatively new term that came into use due to the rise of remote work. The trend started as a Covid-19 restriction but transformed into a comfy workstyle for millions of people. For instance, according to Forbes, 96% of U.S. employees prefer to work on a hybrid basis. What’s more, almost half of them are not ready to commute to the office in the future and would love to keep the flexibility of the new normal work style.
How can you attract people that need professional business environments only 2-3 times a week?
Freelancers and solopreneurs are so-called gig economy representatives. They work for themselves picking up short-term contracts from local or overseas clients. Freelance entrepreneurs rarely have classical nine to five schedules. They often work late at night due to time zones differences and use their days off to meet the deadlines.
If freelancers participate in local projects, they require a decent meeting space (something more professional than a coffee shop) to talk to their customers. They also need to receive clients' calls somewhere. If you provide phone booths, it will be ok. If you grant your freelance members 24/7 access to the workspace, they will appreciate that. They need their workspace ready all the time to work when they are most productive (be it late at night or early in the morning) and deliver on time.
Pro tip: If you don't want to pay your manager for the night shifts, implement an access control system at your workspace. It will help you save while keeping the "owls" happy and safe.
These days, with all those apps for remote work we can apply for a job to literally any company no matter its location, and many people try their luck taking remote positions. The tendency reveals one more target audience for coworking spaces. It includes remote, partly remote, and distributed employees.
Employees that are remote from headquarters and distributed workers require quiet or private space to take frequent video calls with other team members. They may book a small meeting room several times a day (read a meeting room booking system is a must) and spend the rest of the time at a dedicated desk. Remote employees may travel a lot while companies with distributed employees have polished interaction mechanisms enabling people efficiently communicate using just cafe seats and phone booths.
As to partially remote workers, they are allowed to work away from the office a few days a week. As they sometimes serve more than one market simultaneously, a private office may be more suitable even if they don't need it every day. It will help them look professional during meetings with customers and separate work from home.
Digital nomads are wanderers that are always on the go. They may stay at your location for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. They have all their equipment in their backpacks. It surely includes a laptop and noise-canceling earphones, so they can easily focus on the current project even in a noisy coworking cafe or in the middle of the open space. If you have nice coliving facilities, it's exactly what a digital nomad or a person on workation needs.
Besides, if you can offer a tour showing these members around or invite them to some local cultural event, you will make them happier with your service.
Digital nomads are very active on Instagram, they post photos from all destinations they visit. Make sure that your workspace will be recognizable on photos, every touchpoint must support your brand.
Coming back to traveling/on workation employees, sometimes a private office is the best solution. If something unexpected or urgent happens, they can handle it while the family is enjoying their day, however, a desk at the open space, a meeting room, and a phone booth will do as well.
With all their flexibility, creativity, trendy design solutions, and affordable prices, coworking spaces become preferred choices for event hosting companies. If they need something smaller than a conference hall, you can offer them your event space, which is flexible enough to become more in line with event guests' preferences and acquire necessary unique characteristics. What's more, the coworking space staff is always friendly and ready to help, which contributes to the event's success.
All of us have our personal missions but most active community members join something bigger and perform social missions as well. If you are ready to support a charity organization, you need to be ready for tight budgets that change from year to year. You will need to reduce or expand the space they occupy showing the utmost flexibility and allowing a non-profit stay focused on making a greater impact in their sphere.
Additionally, charity organizations often carry out meetings, training, and events, which means you must provide a larger meeting space to host them.
And the last type of flexible workspace members on this list is students. When colleges closed their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, coworking spaces started to notice more students walking through their doors. It's not easy to prepare for a complicated exam like a calculus test or some other academic problems, which students usually solve with studycrumb sitting in a cafe. You need that supportive atmosphere of a coworking space, comfortable furniture, big whiteboard, tasty coffee, ping-pong, or videogames mates during short breaks, etc.
If you are running an internship program or maybe some of your members are ready to train a geeky intern, it will mean really much for your student member. It's also great to tailor discounted or sponsored membership plans if you target this group. Why should you do it? Because it's your investment in the future of the country. What's more, students bring young bubbling energy and creative ideas to the unique community of your flexible workspace.
Knowing your audience is key data for a coworking operator. It's absolutely impossible to make members happy if you don't know who they are and what they need. Trying to cater to everybody's needs, you will inevitably fail as members' goals are too different, so they require different things to achieve them.
I hope that after reading this article your understanding of personas utilizing the services of flexible spaces became much deeper. Now all you need to do is answer a simple question—who is my flexible workspace for in the first turn? Then you will get lots of ideas on how to improve members' experience, which will lead to increased brand loyalty and higher profits.
Need help with creating a customer persona? Get essential tips here: Coworking Market Analysis: What to Monitor & How to Do It Right.