Competition is an unpalatable reality that almost every business faces, especially when the business model is successful. Even the first movers, despite the competitive advantage, are followed by the competitors who attempt to capitalize on their success and gain the market share.
The coworking industry is a testament to this. From freelancers’ shared spaces to one of the vast real estate markets, this chap has beheld phenomenal levels of growth. What initially was considered an idea viable for only entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs is now the right pick for prominent companies too.Corporate biggies are moving into coworking spaces to free themselves from the headaches of managing operations of traditional offices and leverage the cost-effectiveness of coworking spaces.
Moreover, the millennial workforce recognizes the worth of its flexibility, collaboration, and shared assets. In short, the coworking space trend only seems to be on the rise.
Being such a fastest-growing segment, no wonder the competition is stiffening among the coworking players.
But as they say, competition only exists till you are doing the same thing as everyone else. Which leads us to a million-dollar question. As a coworking operator in a competitive market, how do you differentiate your space to stick out from the rest?We shall come to that shortly but before that…
As per Statista, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is projected to increase from roughly28,000 to 41, 975 by the end of 2024.
Amidst this noise, differentiation offers an easy answer to the question your potential coworking space tenants might have while choosing you over others. It helps you start on the right foot as well as solidify your market position by:
In a nutshell, differentiation is the key. But getting it right is even more critical. For instance, adding splashes of colors to the furniture and walls will certainly help you make a striking statement for the moment but will fail to add value to your members in the long run.
As coworking is becoming mainstream and being placed at a leading edge of workplace innovation, more and more niche seekers expect to meet their tribe here.
Niche-focused coworking spaces are more likely to dish out an experience targeted to meet audiences’ preferences and establish a deeper connection with them than what a “one-size-fits-all” coworking space would be able to provide.
Here are some of the global players who’ve carved out a well-defined niche-specific identity:
The steps you can follow to decide which niche to serve are:
Coworking space is a world in its own right.
It has a loner in a quiet corner who inspires everyone to focus on the work. There is a fitness freak who likes to work from a standing desk. Also found is a team of overenthusiastic youngsters who are busy strategizing marketing plans for their newly launched start-up.
Thus, to differentiate your coworking space, consider outfitting it with various sitting arrangements that give your members the freedom to change their postures now and then. Plus, a mixed bag of sitting areas has something for everyone, regardless of the type of customers you serve. Mix and match these popular options:
An open plan as the central hub is great for maintaining vibrancy. Plus, with the spacious feel, the tenants are more comfortable with fewer square feet per person.
That said, your coworking space members will need some isolated time. Address this need to stand out in the following ways:
Community is the heart and soul of a coworking space. But fostering and curating a cohesive community is no small feat. And if you can hit the right note, nothing can stop you from having the edge over others.
Here are a few ways:
Brand differentiation through great brand positioning is the unique way you aim to be seen in the noisy coworking market.
While strong brand positioning is critical for any business, it’s increasingly becoming relevant to coworking due to the sheer number of competitors fighting for your members.
This shall help:
Your space design can be a solid value-addition with the ability to project a distinctive identity. So, consider viewing design in the light of creative solutions to serve evolving needs of members rather than mere aesthetics. The winning combination of visual appeal and powerful amenities can set you apart from competitors.
But before that, ask these questions:
There is reasonable concern amongst coworking prospects about maintaining optimal productivity while working in an environment full of interaction.
Here is how you can enhance members’ productivity:
With the flexibility of open-air desks and Bring Your Own Device policy, come a host of security threats. Your members need to feel that their data, belongings, and themselves are safe in your coworking space at any hour of the day and night. Anything that makes them feel otherwise can jeopardize your credibility in the market.
Technology has dual benefits—it improves member experience and streamlines your workflow. To make your coworking space an attractive workplace, it’s imperative to blend the latest technology with your services.
With a virtual office, you’ll be able to cater to the class of members who work from the home office but need a professional address to look more credible to their clients. Virtual office perks like physical address, mail receipt and forwarding, access to meeting rooms, directory listing, and receptionist services enable your members to get a sense of community while working from wherever they are.
Acknowledge the importance of evolving with your members' needs, implement these strategies, mix them up to find a concrete answer to what works best to distinguish your coworking brand and give your competitors a run for their money.
The article was written by Aanya Rachel, the Content Manager at The Address coworking space in Vadodara, Gujarat. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge, experience, and extensive research in this field. She writes on a wide range of topics related to coworking, growth of remote workers, startups and real estate.