This article was written by Barbara Sprenger, founder and CEO of Satellite Centers and Satellite Deskworks coworking software.
- There are two types of scaling: scaling a location to greater profitability or scaling your coworking brand to multiple locations.
- To scale successfully, coworking space operators should consider automating certain tasks in order to free up time to focus on their community and creating a growth strategy.
- Empowering your community plays a key role in scaling, as it turns passive customers into active-participants that require less hand-holding from your community managers and staff.
It may be time to scale your coworking brand.
Scaling can mean growing one space to greater profitability, or scaling your brand to multiple locations.
The Satellite Centers team has successfully scaled our brand and business to six—going on seven—locations around California.
And with our Satellite Deskworks coworking software, we’ve helped hundreds of space operators scale into profitability or multiple locations.
Here are five tips for scaling your workspace brand and business.
1. Automate as Much as Possible
If you’re doing recurring tasks manually, you’re wasting valuable time and resources and leaving lots of room for errors. Everything from member sign-up and room reservations, to payment details, your space lighting, workspace access and network check-in can be automated.
Automating your space as much as possible enables you to focus on your business, and allows your community managers to focus on growing and strengthening your community.
And this can actually be fairly easy.
Here are some things you can automate:
- Purchase a day pass
- Reserve a meeting room
- Purchase a bundle of coworking hours
- Purchase a virtual mail membership
- Reserve event space
- Create and update member profile
- Create and update billing information and preferences
- Add member to email list
- Auto-bill and payments of printer charges, reservations, recurring charges and extras
- New member setup and entry into billing, access and printer systems
- Temperature settings
- Lighting control
- Building access
If you’re caught up in the day-to-day operations of your coworking space, it will be challenging to find time to work on scaling your business.
2. Include Network Check-in
Network check-in automatically checks members in when their device connects to your network by wifi or ethernet. This enables you to see who is in your workspace at any time. Since member usage is tracked, with the right system, it can be automatically compared to membership plans and members can be auto-billed at the end of the month accordingly.
With network check-in, you can bypass third party integrations that require a programmer to set up, you can automatically send wifi access codes to guests for reservations in meeting rooms, you can make day passes or even hourly passes available for self-purchase through your website and much more.
3. Create Operational Efficiencies
If you or your community managers do the same task on a repeating basis, whether daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually, create operational efficiencies.
For instance, you should have a member onboarding system that provides step-by-step details on the process. This way, you can ensure that the essential points are covered, and the people doing the onboarding can rest assured that they’re hitting all the bases.
Track all of the passwords that a community manager has to use in one password keeper, such as LastPass. You can share access to all of the online sites you use without giving out the actual passwords, saving a remarkable amount of time and enabling a seamless transition during staff turnover—not to mention increasing security.
Maintain a workbook of all the aggregators you use, along with their terms, websites and logins, so you can quickly update as your offerings change.
Set up a shared directory in Dropbox or Owncloud, so you have one cloud-based repository for all the documents you use, including accounting files, marketing collateral and office signs.
Nothing is more important for operational efficiency than simple, easy-to-use, comprehensive cloud-based software for all phases of running a center, including member management, reservations, billing, communications and reporting.
4. Prevent Revenue Leakage and Maximize Your Offerings
Revenue leakage is the unnoticed loss of revenue through not being able to monitor and track available sources of revenue. In coworking spaces, this can be in the form of untracked meeting room usage, printing, selling part-time plans on the honor system. and not capturing the information of non-members who use your space.
To prevent and fix revenue leakage, one needs to have a simple, automated system for tracking and billing. Many coworking spaces avoid charging for these things because they can’t make the tracking and billing easy enough. A good software system will do all of this for you.
5. Empower Members to Do More
Sustainable coworking spaces have engaged members who are empowered to choose their membership plans, make changes to billing preferences, update their member profile, reserve meeting rooms and event space, make changes to existing reservations, customize membership with additional services such as virtual mail, communicate with other members, pull account statements and more.
When you empower members to do more in your space, they become active participants in their membership rather than passive customers, and you and your community managers have to do less hand-holding. You also reduce the expense of having your team do tasks unnecessarily.
Whether you’re scaling internally or working to expand to other locations, having these five things in-place will allow you to scale up as seamlessly as possible.
Don’t reinvent the wheel as you grow. Put systems and norms in-place now that you and your community managers can utilize and rely on into the future.