We opened in a small space. 1800 sq ft.
A year later we’d outgrown it. We had a waiting list. We learned a LOT about the priorities that we’d use to design our second space. We had paying members who loved coming to our small space and were willing to pre-pay membership to help bootstrap the new, bigger space. We were even able to find some people in our community to take over our lease on the original space - keeping it in the family, so to speak.
I’d be talking to landlords in future-thinking terms; that is, is there the ability to stay a tenant but to “upgrade” to a larger space?
Another option that may work is to take over a smaller portion of a larger building, where you could literally take down a wall and expand without moving.
For us, moving actually created a fresh opportunity to build more participation from our community because there were all kinds of new things they could get involved in. New walls that needed paint. New desks that needed assembling. And we’ve seen the same experience each of the 2 additional we’ve expanded in our current building - the community actually bonds around the expansion if you let them.
It sounds like you’re planning yourself around a community of people who generally drive to work. That might give you more wiggle room with future moves since people are used to driving some distance…finding out how far people are willing to drive for the small space will also give you real data on a radius of potential spaces for when you outgrow the smaller space.
All of this is to say - it’s way better to be 12-18 months in and have a waiting list and need to move than be 12-18 months in and still years away from breaking even.
You can also use these constraints of a smaller starting space to determine what’s really necessary for build out - a smaller space will give you less space to wander and dream up ways to waste money
On Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 10:17 AM, Jennifer Kready [email protected] wrote:
As many of you probably experience, our real estate market is fast and furious, landlords are in the drivers seat but as a small community, many are local and friendly. However, the available locations seem to be less than ideal and wanting to avoid extensive build-out activities,
I’m leaning towards a smaller space (2800 sq.ft) in an office park (which is located across from a well-maintained park with pond and walking trails). Food and beverage are within a few miles of the locale.
With a smaller space, is a smaller community which isn’t a bad thing. Once the community grows into, and someday, out of its space what are the challenges of moving the community…or does one open a new space?
I’m in a community with no existing cowork, adjacent to Austin with 28 (and more) cowork spaces. We do have at least 5 professional office suite buildings in our area, so about 300-500 office suites.
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