I was going to start by explaining what a co-working space was (for clarity for those that didn't know), however, I reconsidered. Everyone knows what a co-working space is now, it even passes the 'mum test'.
In Deskman's Co-working 2016 forecast they estimated that there would be over 10,000 co-working spaces worldwide by the end of the year. Compare that with the 2013 figures at just over 2,500 and you can see how popular co-working has become. And it continues to grow, with many operators wanting to expand, and the general feeling that the number of co-working spaces hasn't outpaced demand.
One of the reasons (and there are quite a few) I believe co-working spaces are so popular is that they provide a much needed support system to the start-up community. Not only do founders/businesses get to talk to other people that are going through similar emotional, financial and strategic situations, they have access to a businesses that may be able to help them achieve their goals.
One of the biggest concerns of a start-up is usually related to resources, or lack thereof, before they get to the magical Seed Round, or even Series A funding stage. If they've chosen the right co-working space that values community and building a supportive ecosystem they will have access to resources that would ordinarily only available to large corporations. Furthermore, they also have on hand people that they can 'test' their ideas out with/on. The crucial job of understanding who your customer is can be a lot easier if you can conduct market research in your space, and/or have insights into the market research conducted by other businesses. This amalgamation of multi-disciplinary different perspectives, thought processes, and experiences brings a richness to understanding the world and the people in it and helps inform your business and marketing strategy.
This amalgamation is something that large corporations can't do very well. They do have access to resources, an accounts department, a legal department, a marketing department, an IT department, and money in the bank, but they very rarely bring these departments together to solve problems. So, this is the start-ups secret weapon. Whilst they may not have the big bucks like the large corporate, yet, if they've chosen their co-working space correctly they have intellectual resources (and potentially a marketplace) on hand that will help them solve problems, drive innovation and support them to reach their business objectives.
Marketing Entourage is lucky enough to have found one such co-working space inTeamsquare and even luckier to be helping other co-working spaces create this support system. If you're in the Melton area of Melbourne we will be holding marketing workshops for the community at Western BACE over the next three months.
by Samantha Hurley
Written by Samantha Hurley
Sam co-founded Marketing Entourage after spending 18 years in senior sales & marketing positions for companies such as Lonely Planet and The Press Association in Melbourne, New York and London. Sam started out in a design agency and used design thinking to help develop a product that went on to revolutionise the media industry in 2002. Sam also teaches Digital Marketing and Data Driven Marketing at General Assembly. The daughter of an engineer and a designer, she learned to code and design at a young age. She feels she has the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist and likes to sit in the space where creativity, technology and business converge.