You know that feeling. You reach the top of the rollercoaster. You are about to go on the steep descent. Your body tenses and you take a look around to see if there is any way out. At the same time, you take comfort from the fact that you are surrounded by others who are destined to take the ride with you. Don’t worry, there are other people as crazy as you and you are in it together. In a nutshell, there you have it, coworking! Many startups, freelancers and SMEs face an almighty challenge everyday to make their business a success. Coworking enables these ambitious entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and experiences with one another. Whilst they may be the only one in their business, they are located in a collaborative space. These peers are their support. Their source of new knowledge. And more often than not, their guinea pigs and truth tellers. When you think about your business idea, it may seem a bit crazy at the time, but the fact that you have others around you, somehow that makes it a bit more acceptable and achievable. It can help give you the belief that you need.
The above video shows the rapid growth in this space and I foresee continued growth in this collaborative way of thinking. Just like many craft beers are now tackling the big guns, there are an abundance of start-ups with high hopes to succeed and provide a better offering to what is out there already. A new invention. A better app. A locally sourced produced. Whatever it may be, having come through college recently and worked in a start-up company, I have been exposed to some extremely interesting concepts generated by some very talented people. However, getting a business from the idea stage to a profitable entity is difficult regardless of the situation. Big multi-nationals (MN) can afford to make mistakes and continue on as before. They have the population to encourage cross functional collaboration. They have the capital to invest and buy-out other companies that can give them what they need. Coworking allows startups to have an element of teamwork in what can be a very lonely place albeit on a much smaller space. They don’t have the luxury to make the big mistakes like the MNs. They need to make more informed decisions which can be extremely difficult with a small network. Therefore, the opportunity to work in a coworking environment should be one that is very appealing indeed (as long as there is free tea/coffee).
It comes with it’s challenges. Coworking facilitators face the prospect of managing these SMEs depending on their offerings. It can be tricky, especially if you have rapid “conveyor belt like” turnover which can be disruptive to more designated members. How do they make sure that a desk is full the whole time and not being wasted? There is a skill in making it the most effective environment that it can be and we have seen many success stories across the world and even on our own doorstep. This trend will continue. Millennial entrepreneurs will want results quicker (They aren’t half demanding). As a result, if they want that quick progression, they will immerse themselves in a coworking environment that can fast track results. They will want that flexibility to choose what time they want to eat their cous cous and sweet potato salad. What chair they’d like to sit on and what part of the room. More than ever, they won’t want a long-term lease commitment so that they have the freedom to move on whenever they like. Also, they’ll enjoy the networking and social aspect of working with like-minded people who share the entrepreneurial flame.
Personally, I can see this area becoming more prominent in years to come. I am looking forward to getting an opportunity to experience this further in the near future. In my opinion, the positives majorly outweigh any negatives and if I was starting my own business, I’d be looking to cowork. There are too many temptations in the fridge at home!
Watch this space in the near future!