What Are the Steps to Creating a Financially Sustainable Co-Working Space in Manchester?

As the trend of remote and flexible working continues to gain momentum, the demand for coworking spaces has exploded. Businesses of all sizes, entrepreneurs and freelancers are turning to coworking spaces for their workspace needs. Manchester, a city with a vibrant start-up scene and a flourishing business ecosystem, is no exception.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to creating a financially sustainable coworking space in Manchester. We’ll cover everything from researching the market to developing your business plan, finding the right space, and promoting your business.

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Understanding the Market

Before you dive into the world of coworking, it’s essential to understand the market. Are there other coworking spaces in Manchester? What are they offering? What are the rates, and who are their clients?

This information will help you identify gaps in the market and define your unique selling proposition. You might discover that there’s a need for coworking spaces catering specifically to tech start-ups, or spaces offering child care facilities for working parents, or perhaps you find that there’s a demand for more affordable, flexible membership options.

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Remember, the key to a successful coworking space is to offer what your potential clients can’t get elsewhere. So research, research, research.

Developing a Business Plan

Once you have a clear understanding of the market, the next step is to develop your business plan. This is where you’ll outline your business model, financial projections, marketing strategy, and operational plan.

The business model should detail how you will generate revenue. In most cases, this will involve charging for access to your space on a day-to-day, monthly, or annual basis. You could also offer additional services such as private offices, meeting rooms, event spaces, or even virtual offices for businesses not based in Manchester but needing a city presence.

Your marketing strategy should encompass how you plan to attract and retain members. This could range from traditional advertising to social media campaigns, networking events, partnerships with local businesses, or member referral schemes.

The operational plan should cover the day-to-day running of your coworking space. This would include staffing, maintenance, security, technology, and any other factors that contribute to creating a productive, comfortable working environment for your members.

Finding the Right Space

The next step is to find the right space. Location is key. You’ll want to be in an area that’s easily accessible, close to amenities, and attractive to your target audience. Manchester city centre, with its excellent transport links and vibrant business community, is a great place to start your search.

The space itself will also play a crucial role in the success of your coworking business. Look for a building that offers flexibility in terms of layout and usage. It should be large enough to accommodate private offices, open workspaces, meeting rooms, and communal areas.

Remember to factor in the cost of any necessary refurbishment or fit-out. These expenses should be accounted for in your business plan and factored into your pricing strategy.

Furnishing and Equipping Your Space

Once you’ve secured your space, the next step is to furnish and equip it. The layout and design of your coworking space should be conducive to productivity and collaboration.

Desks, chairs, and meeting rooms should be comfortable and ergonomically designed. A well-equipped kitchen, breakout spaces, and relaxation areas will contribute to the overall member experience.

Technology is also vital. High-speed internet is a must, as are printers, scanners, and other office equipment. Consider also offering tech-driven amenities such as app-based access control, online booking systems for meeting rooms, or a member portal for community engagement.

Promoting Your Business

The final step in creating your coworking space is to promote it. Use your marketing strategy as a guide. Consider hosting a launch event or open day to introduce your space to potential members and the wider Manchester business community.

Maintain a strong online presence through a responsive website and active social media channels. Regularly update your content to highlight the benefits of your coworking space, showcase your community, and keep your audience engaged.

Partnering with local businesses can also be a great way to promote your space. Offer discounts or incentives to local businesses to encourage their employees to use your space. This not only boosts your member numbers but also fosters a sense of community within your space.

Creating a financially sustainable coworking space is no simple feat. It requires careful planning, a deep understanding of the market, and a commitment to delivering a quality product. But with the right approach, a coworking space can be a lucrative business venture and a valuable asset to the Manchester business community.

Incorporating Sustainability and Eco-friendliness

A key component of setting up your coworking space in Manchester is giving due consideration to sustainability and eco-friendliness. This can be a unique selling point, aligning with the growing emphasis on environmental consciousness in today’s business world.

Selecting eco-friendly furniture for the office space is a great starting point. For instance, opt for chairs, tables and desks made from recycled or sustainably sourced materials. It’s also a good idea to install energy-efficient lighting and heating systems. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also save you money in the long run.

You can also encourage sustainable practices among your members. Provide clearly labelled recycling bins in easy-to-access areas. Offer incentives for those who choose to cycle, walk, or use public transport to reach your coworking space. Remember, your space is in close proximity to Greater Manchester’s effective train and bus networks, making it easier for members to commute sustainably.

Don’t forget to highlight your commitment to sustainability in your marketing efforts. This will appeal to potential members who are eco-conscious, thereby increasing your chances of attracting a diverse and engaged community.

Offering Professional Services and Amenities

Another step towards creating a financially sustainable coworking space is by offering professional services and amenities. You should offer more than just a desk and internet connection. Think about the additional services that could make the lives of your members easier and more productive.

Consider incorporating meeting rooms and private offices into your space. Meeting rooms are essential for members who need to host clients or conduct team meetings. They should be equipped with all the necessary tech such as projectors, teleconferencing equipment, and whiteboards. Private offices, on the other hand, cater to those members who require a quiet, dedicated workspace away from the general hubbub of the flexible workspace.

In addition, offer services such as mail handling, reception services, and administrative support. You could also provide access to professional services like legal advice, accounting, or digital marketing through partnerships with local companies or freelancers.

Do not forget the smaller details either. Think about offering services like hot desking and shared office facilities. Small businesses often need these services to grow and expand.

Conclusion

Creating a financially sustainable coworking space in Manchester demands a lot of time, research, and planning. From understanding the market and developing a solid business plan to finding the right space and promoting your brand, there are numerous steps to consider.

But don’t forget the importance of providing a space that’s more than just an office. Incorporate eco-friendly practices and professional services to help your space stand out. And ultimately, create a sense of community and collaboration. This will make your space not only a workplace but also a hub of innovation, creativity, and business growth.

With the right strategy and execution, your coworking space can become a thriving business venture. It can provide a much-needed service to the diverse array of businesses, freelancers, and remote workers that make up Manchester’s vibrant business ecosystem. So, whether you’re offering a dedicated desk or a flexible office option, always remember the end goal: to provide a space that fosters productivity, collaboration, and community.