“It was a strategic decision that will allow us to invest and grow our business and brand in keeping with our vision.” – Harsh Mehta, CEO at Work Better, on the closing of Work Better’s Broadway location
A couple of months ago, Work Better announced that it would be closing its 1440 Broadway coworking location. The 21,000 square-foot workspace was officially closed June 30th, after 10 years in operation.
And although on the surface this might seem like bad news, Harsh Mehta, CEO of Work Better, told Allwork that the closing of the location was actually a strategic decision that will allow the coworking brand to grow more effectively.
“Good businesses evolve and update their product offering, including pulling products or services from the market when they aren’t working any longer.” Mehta commented during a phone interview with Allwork.
“To be honest, we could have continued operating the location, but we saw an opportunity to evaluate whether this particular location was contributing to our portfolio. We realized that it really wasn’t; there wasn’t any sense in continuing to operate the location when it was no longer reflective of our brand and where we want to be in the future. Our next locations and our growth plan will be focused on larger locations – 40,000 to 70,000 square-feet with a product mix more representative of professional workers’ needs today.”
The decision came after careful conversation with Work Better members and staff. “After listening to our members, it became evident that what they would want in the future, our Broadway location would not be able to provide. So we decided to grow elsewhere.”
The decision wasn’t taken lightly, and Mehta confessed that the biggest challenge was the emotional hurdle that came with closing their long-standing location.
Though the NYC market is temporarily ‘oversupplied’, Mehta believes that there is still ample opportunity for growth in the Big Apple, especially when looking at the industry in the long-term.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth over the last few years and consolidation of the industry is on the horizon. Though if I had to guess, I would say we are still 18 to 24 months away from seeing any meaningful consolidation.”
Still, Mehta believes that operators need to start preparing themselves for stronger competition and a more mature and demanding market. Growth strategies need to be carefully planned out, and for this, Mehta recommends focusing on existing clients.
“Operators need to realize that only by securing their existing clients can they grow their business and their footprint. It’s about evolving your business, your service, and your product based on what your customers need, and not based on what other operators are doing.”
“The single-biggest opportunity for small and independent operators is differentiation via service. A trend I’ve observed with larger operators is that they keep launching new things, but they aren’t going deep with them.”
Commenting further regarding independent operators, Mehta stresses the importance of focusing on business key performance indicators and realizing that “you cannot compete against the biggest players on their turf. You have to be very specific about your unique value proposition, and you have to be really good at delivering on it.”
The lesson from Work Better is, know your value proposition, know where you want to go, and don’t be afraid to let go of the things (locations) that you believe no longer contribute to your brand identity and values.