Did you just walk into a dinner party or into a car dealership?
What would members and visitors’ answer to this question be if asked about your workspace?
In a world where workspace demand is high and new workspaces are popping up left and right, it becomes essential to have answers to the questions: Why is your workspace special? What do you have that other workspaces don’t? Why should people choose your space over others?
Earlier this year, Tony Bacigalupo introduced the idea of authentic vs. consumer coworking. Today, we’ll explore this idea of his and how authentic community can help you differentiate your workspace and bring more value to your members.
“Consumer coworking is happy as long as rent is being paid–they’re just a function of the market.”
Granted, any successful business needs to be self-sustainable and generate profit and revenue, but this doesn’t mean that monetary earnings should be its sole focus. Coworking was founded under the tenet of collaboration, and in order for a coworking space (or any other type of flexible workspace) to be successful today, it needs to fulfil a higher-purpose, one that speaks to members, that inspires them, and encourages them to become a part of the community.
People want to feel like they’re a part of something; if your space doesn’t make them feel that, your churn rate will be higher as members go back to working from home, a coffee shop, a new workspace.
Authentic Coworking | Authentic Communities
Below are some ways in which Tony defines and identifies authentic communities and authentic coworking spaces:
- “Authentic coworking starts with a purpose, it starts with a community.”
- “Authentic coworking lets its own people do the talking, it cares about the experiences people are having.”
- “Authentic coworking is an active part of its neighborhood.”
- “An authentic community is organized around a shared purpose. That purpose lives on regardless of the forms the communities take. These kinds of communities can achieve important, transformative change.”
- “Authentic community is resilient. It doesn’t depend on one person, and it can take many forms. It can survive changing spaces, or formats, or leadership.
Authenticity starts at the top of a workspace’s business plan. Consider this: Is your workspace goal to maximize return? Or is it to make a better place by connecting and empowering the independent workforce?
Workspace authenticity can greatly influence the success of a workplace, both in terms of community and in terms of profit. A workspace will only generate revenue as long as it has members actively using the space; having a strong community will encourage members to keep coming back, ergo continued member traffic and cash flow.
This becomes a topic of great importance when you take into consideration that there are not “lots of companies trying to offer community as a perk that’s tacked onto a service offering,” says Tony.
“If done well, such an effort can approximate a reasonable facsimile of the value one gets from a more authentic community, but at the end of the day the fact that the community serves the business and not the other way around is always going to be a factor.”
A factor that will hinder your business goals, your marketing efforts, and your overall success. So, how can you differentiate yourself with an authentic community?
It will all speak for itself. Or so Tony believes.
“The authentic community speaks for itself. If you lack one, it can be hard to differentiate from all the other workspaces that provide basically the same thing. If you’ve got a great, vibrant, alive community, you’ll find that people will be naturally attracted to your space and will want to be a part of what you’re doing.”
“Suddenly, the marketing will become a lot easier.” It won’t be a question of differentiating yourself, but of actually being different.