Running Coworking During a Recession

Hey Guys,

I have seen with increasing regularity, news articles are not being written daily about the “impending market crash/correction” both in Australia, in Asia, across Europe and in the US.

I founded Your Desk in 2011, three years after the GFC hit the world, but unlike almost every other country, Australia never saw any real negative effects from that time in history. So it would be fair to say that while I started coworking in the aftermath of one of the (only) market crashes I have experienced in my adult life I know there were many others that successfully navigated that market correction.

So when the next negative cycle hits the world’s economies (and with Australia poised to be hit harder than almost any other country) I am curious about how others successfully navigated or pivoted to keep the business going and support their members?

The areas I am currently looking at being stronger in are:

Community:

Our community is great, but not well supported right now, with our approach to date to simply leave them be to do their work. I am looking at rolling out an internal referral program as both a cheap way to source new members and as a jump start on those members already having at least one meaningful connection with another member in our space.

Message:

As we grow and as other coworking spaces set up (weekly) we are going back to the basics of “what do we stand for”. As a suggestion from Alex from Indy Hall, I will start to do Town Hall meetings with the members to allow them additional opportunities to voice concerns, observations and suggestions on how we can improve our ecosystem to best suit them

**Operations: **

We already have a lean team, and while I will be hiring some (sorely needed) additions from February 2019, we will purposefully keep our team small and agile.

Finance Operations:

An initiative by my brother Oliver, we will continue to review every transaction monthly and ask ourselves if we can reduce the cost here while maintaining our service, feedback from the Town Hall Meetings will also help inform this process

Business Intelligence:

I work with a business coach, who monthly comes into our space, review our finance, operations, team and culture, and asks the hard questions that we as a team have not yet considered. This process has already allowed us to grow our profit from 6% to 30% in 1 year, while at the same time growing member satisfaction (measured through the NPS survey) from bad (NPS of -36) to great (NPS of 53)

What I am most interested in is understanding what other spaces experienced with member churn, specific way that churns happened and if in hindsight there was a way that you could have supported that member more to stay in your community.

Also any other tips, tricks or observations would be welcomed.

Cheers,

Carl

Your Desk

I just wrote an article on Recession-Proofing your Coworking Business

Angel

···

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:04:27 PM UTC-6, Carl Sullivan wrote:

Hey Guys,

I have seen with increasing regularity, news articles are not being written daily about the “impending market crash/correction” both in Australia, in Asia, across Europe and in the US.

I founded Your Desk in 2011, three years after the GFC hit the world, but unlike almost every other country, Australia never saw any real negative effects from that time in history. So it would be fair to say that while I started coworking in the aftermath of one of the (only) market crashes I have experienced in my adult life I know there were many others that successfully navigated that market correction.

So when the next negative cycle hits the world’s economies (and with Australia poised to be hit harder than almost any other country) I am curious about how others successfully navigated or pivoted to keep the business going and support their members?

The areas I am currently looking at being stronger in are:

Community:

Our community is great, but not well supported right now, with our approach to date to simply leave them be to do their work. I am looking at rolling out an internal referral program as both a cheap way to source new members and as a jump start on those members already having at least one meaningful connection with another member in our space.

Message:

As we grow and as other coworking spaces set up (weekly) we are going back to the basics of “what do we stand for”. As a suggestion from Alex from Indy Hall, I will start to do Town Hall meetings with the members to allow them additional opportunities to voice concerns, observations and suggestions on how we can improve our ecosystem to best suit them

**Operations: **

We already have a lean team, and while I will be hiring some (sorely needed) additions from February 2019, we will purposefully keep our team small and agile.

Finance Operations:

An initiative by my brother Oliver, we will continue to review every transaction monthly and ask ourselves if we can reduce the cost here while maintaining our service, feedback from the Town Hall Meetings will also help inform this process

Business Intelligence:

I work with a business coach, who monthly comes into our space, review our finance, operations, team and culture, and asks the hard questions that we as a team have not yet considered. This process has already allowed us to grow our profit from 6% to 30% in 1 year, while at the same time growing member satisfaction (measured through the NPS survey) from bad (NPS of -36) to great (NPS of 53)

What I am most interested in is understanding what other spaces experienced with member churn, specific way that churns happened and if in hindsight there was a way that you could have supported that member more to stay in your community.

Also any other tips, tricks or observations would be welcomed.

Cheers,

Carl

Your Desk

Angel - This is great. I hope that operators keep this in a handy spot to pull out when (assuming) the next economic downturn comes. As someone that opened centers in both 2008 and 2009 - when I thought things were tough but had no idea what misery was to come - I would say a lot of this is ‘right on.’ There is no substitution for the creativity and flexibility required to keep things going during those times - and your piece will be a good framework for those people needing some fresh ideas for looking at their operation. Probably the hardest thing was finding the balance between holding to optimism and making the really tough decisions, and having the faith to know when each was the required course. And, that no matter what, I’d survive.

···

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 1:34:13 PM UTC-7, Angel Kwiatkowski wrote:

I just wrote an article on Recession-Proofing your Coworking Business
https://www.diycoworking.com/blog/2018/10/24/how-to-recession-proof-your-coworking-business

Angel

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:04:27 PM UTC-6, Carl Sullivan wrote:

Hey Guys,

I have seen with increasing regularity, news articles are not being written daily about the “impending market crash/correction” both in Australia, in Asia, across Europe and in the US.

I founded Your Desk in 2011, three years after the GFC hit the world, but unlike almost every other country, Australia never saw any real negative effects from that time in history. So it would be fair to say that while I started coworking in the aftermath of one of the (only) market crashes I have experienced in my adult life I know there were many others that successfully navigated that market correction.

So when the next negative cycle hits the world’s economies (and with Australia poised to be hit harder than almost any other country) I am curious about how others successfully navigated or pivoted to keep the business going and support their members?

The areas I am currently looking at being stronger in are:

Community:

Our community is great, but not well supported right now, with our approach to date to simply leave them be to do their work. I am looking at rolling out an internal referral program as both a cheap way to source new members and as a jump start on those members already having at least one meaningful connection with another member in our space.

Message:

As we grow and as other coworking spaces set up (weekly) we are going back to the basics of “what do we stand for”. As a suggestion from Alex from Indy Hall, I will start to do Town Hall meetings with the members to allow them additional opportunities to voice concerns, observations and suggestions on how we can improve our ecosystem to best suit them

**Operations: **

We already have a lean team, and while I will be hiring some (sorely needed) additions from February 2019, we will purposefully keep our team small and agile.

Finance Operations:

An initiative by my brother Oliver, we will continue to review every transaction monthly and ask ourselves if we can reduce the cost here while maintaining our service, feedback from the Town Hall Meetings will also help inform this process

Business Intelligence:

I work with a business coach, who monthly comes into our space, review our finance, operations, team and culture, and asks the hard questions that we as a team have not yet considered. This process has already allowed us to grow our profit from 6% to 30% in 1 year, while at the same time growing member satisfaction (measured through the NPS survey) from bad (NPS of -36) to great (NPS of 53)

What I am most interested in is understanding what other spaces experienced with member churn, specific way that churns happened and if in hindsight there was a way that you could have supported that member more to stay in your community.

Also any other tips, tricks or observations would be welcomed.

Cheers,

Carl

Your Desk

Thanks Tracy! If a recession comes, I’ll be SO curious to see how it affects coworking esp. if there is a major difference in chain vs. indie coworking.

Angel

···

On Friday, October 26, 2018 at 4:25:59 PM UTC-6, Tracy Wilson wrote:

Angel - This is great. I hope that operators keep this in a handy spot to pull out when (assuming) the next economic downturn comes. As someone that opened centers in both 2008 and 2009 - when I thought things were tough but had no idea what misery was to come - I would say a lot of this is ‘right on.’ There is no substitution for the creativity and flexibility required to keep things going during those times - and your piece will be a good framework for those people needing some fresh ideas for looking at their operation. Probably the hardest thing was finding the balance between holding to optimism and making the really tough decisions, and having the faith to know when each was the required course. And, that no matter what, I’d survive.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 1:34:13 PM UTC-7, Angel Kwiatkowski wrote:

I just wrote an article on Recession-Proofing your Coworking Business
https://www.diycoworking.com/blog/2018/10/24/how-to-recession-proof-your-coworking-business

Angel

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 5:04:27 PM UTC-6, Carl Sullivan wrote:

Hey Guys,

I have seen with increasing regularity, news articles are not being written daily about the “impending market crash/correction” both in Australia, in Asia, across Europe and in the US.

I founded Your Desk in 2011, three years after the GFC hit the world, but unlike almost every other country, Australia never saw any real negative effects from that time in history. So it would be fair to say that while I started coworking in the aftermath of one of the (only) market crashes I have experienced in my adult life I know there were many others that successfully navigated that market correction.

So when the next negative cycle hits the world’s economies (and with Australia poised to be hit harder than almost any other country) I am curious about how others successfully navigated or pivoted to keep the business going and support their members?

The areas I am currently looking at being stronger in are:

Community:

Our community is great, but not well supported right now, with our approach to date to simply leave them be to do their work. I am looking at rolling out an internal referral program as both a cheap way to source new members and as a jump start on those members already having at least one meaningful connection with another member in our space.

Message:

As we grow and as other coworking spaces set up (weekly) we are going back to the basics of “what do we stand for”. As a suggestion from Alex from Indy Hall, I will start to do Town Hall meetings with the members to allow them additional opportunities to voice concerns, observations and suggestions on how we can improve our ecosystem to best suit them

**Operations: **

We already have a lean team, and while I will be hiring some (sorely needed) additions from February 2019, we will purposefully keep our team small and agile.

Finance Operations:

An initiative by my brother Oliver, we will continue to review every transaction monthly and ask ourselves if we can reduce the cost here while maintaining our service, feedback from the Town Hall Meetings will also help inform this process

Business Intelligence:

I work with a business coach, who monthly comes into our space, review our finance, operations, team and culture, and asks the hard questions that we as a team have not yet considered. This process has already allowed us to grow our profit from 6% to 30% in 1 year, while at the same time growing member satisfaction (measured through the NPS survey) from bad (NPS of -36) to great (NPS of 53)

What I am most interested in is understanding what other spaces experienced with member churn, specific way that churns happened and if in hindsight there was a way that you could have supported that member more to stay in your community.

Also any other tips, tricks or observations would be welcomed.

Cheers,

Carl

Your Desk

This is a super interesting thread - I agree with lots of the advice/perspective in Angel’s article (and not just the stuff attributed to me lol).

An important thing I wanted to expand on a bit:

People who cancel for the reason “I’m not using it enough” is probably among the most common reasons (behind people changing jobs and/or moving).

But I’ve learned to read this as “I don’t see value in staying a part of this community now that I don’t need a desk” which is only a short hop to either “I haven’t really connected with anyone here” or “I’m not aware of the other ways to get value besides using a desk” and in both cases I consider that a failure of communication on OUR part.

We I can look at their profile for our online community and see that they never created an account, or never intro’d themselves.

We can go back to their tour notes and get a sense that they came in with an expectation of “I can rent a desk here” and we didn’t do a good job of showing them how they could participate in other ways.

There isn’t a correct way or pace for people to discover their place in a community, but we DO look at early indicators that they weren’t actively seeking a sense of belonging. And that’s okay! Lots of people aren’t, at least not actively.

But quite often, people just aren’t actively aware of the options that already exist (like a membership option that lets them downgrade instead of cancel) or that they have the agency to create something that they want, but doesn’t exist. They haven’t asked for it, and we haven’t done a good job of showing them that it’s possible.

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were “newly independent” - some by choice, many by force. They weren’t looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we’re going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that’s going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

All of this is to say: people join coworking spaces for lots of reasons, but the reasons they stay are fairly consistent, and that’s the relationships. I can tie retention patterns directly to active and passive relationship building, and the interactions that our members have with each other.

-Alex****

···

The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Better Coworkers: http://indyhall.org

Weekly Coworking Tips: http://coworkingweekly.com

My Audiobook: https://theindyhallway.com/ten

This right here.

I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting – though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were up for this Brave New World.

I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk about what it’s like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.

We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are settled now mostly.

Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder dry. :slight_smile:

···

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were “newly independent” - some by choice, many by force. They weren’t looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we’re going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that’s going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

Jeanine,
I remember this woman who was familiar with Cohere but was working in a regular job in the next town. She showed up on our doorstep one day after lunch and proclaimed, “I just got laid off. I didn’t want to go home so I came here instead.”

A

···

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 3:37:30 AM UTC-6, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

This right here.

I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting – though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were up for this Brave New World.

I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk about what it’s like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.

We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are settled now mostly.

Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder dry. :slight_smile:

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were “newly independent” - some by choice, many by force. They weren’t looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we’re going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that’s going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

Oh yes, so much this.

I find it sort of humorous that we are now talking about whether coworking can survive a recession, there are serious articles from back then (and it wasn’t that long ago) about whether coworking was really just a manifestation of recession and whether it would go away as soon as the economy took an upturn.

To which I sad then as I say now, come back in ten years, we’ll see then who’s still standing.

···

On Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 4:22:10 PM UTC+1, Angel Kwiatkowski wrote:

Jeanine,
I remember this woman who was familiar with Cohere but was working in a regular job in the next town. She showed up on our doorstep one day after lunch and proclaimed, “I just got laid off. I didn’t want to go home so I came here instead.”

A

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 3:37:30 AM UTC-6, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

This right here.

I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting – though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were up for this Brave New World.

I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk about what it’s like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.

We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are settled now mostly.

Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder dry. :slight_smile:

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were “newly independent” - some by choice, many by force. They weren’t looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we’re going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that’s going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

This is all great stuff and a good launch point to form an action list to implement over the next 12 months.

One point that I have already taken action on is our community has always been designed for creative businesses and most of our (Companies who are) members identify as a Social / Design / Web / SEO / Architectural / Graphic Design / Literacy / PR… Agency. But we fell into the trap of charging more (read Sydney market prices) because we could, not because it was the best thing for the teams.

The learning here is that we value the diversity our small 1-4 person companies brought to the community, but incentivised larger companies through cheaper desks (because they bought more), the old pricing structure was:

1-3 Desks… $750 a month

4-8 Desks… $700 a month

9+ Desks… $650 a month

But we have now just changed it to a flat $650 per desk per month regardless of numbers, and surprisingly (or not) 6 of our smaller companies instantly committed to taking additional desks, which is going to completely replace a company of 10 that are due to move out at the start of December.

@Angel your article was great, thanks for writing it and linking to it.

@Alex your points on what is the actual value to members was the final prompt for me to change the pricing up for our members, and now the challenge is to reconnect with the community to identify other ways to bring them value and actively support them in leaner times

  • Carl, Your Desk
···

On Friday, November 2, 2018 at 10:01:34 PM UTC+11, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

Oh yes, so much this.

I find it sort of humorous that we are now talking about whether coworking can survive a recession, there are serious articles from back then (and it wasn’t that long ago) about whether coworking was really just a manifestation of recession and whether it would go away as soon as the economy took an upturn.

To which I sad then as I say now, come back in ten years, we’ll see then who’s still standing.

On Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 4:22:10 PM UTC+1, Angel Kwiatkowski wrote:

Jeanine,
I remember this woman who was familiar with Cohere but was working in a regular job in the next town. She showed up on our doorstep one day after lunch and proclaimed, “I just got laid off. I didn’t want to go home so I came here instead.”

A

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 3:37:30 AM UTC-6, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:

This right here.

I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting – though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were up for this Brave New World.

I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk about what it’s like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.

We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are settled now mostly.

Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder dry. :slight_smile:

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were “newly independent” - some by choice, many by force. They weren’t looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we’re going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that’s going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

This rules. Also a perfect lesson in using basic economics to incentivize the preferred outcomes.

I actually have thought about charging MORE for teams than individuals as they grow, rather than bulk discounts. But I love this solution and the outcome. Well done.

Alex

···

On Nov 6, 2018, 8:42 PM -0500, Carl Sullivan <[email protected]>, wrote:

This is all great stuff and a good launch point to form an action list to implement over the next 12 months.

One point that I have already taken action on is our community has always been designed for creative businesses and most of our (Companies who are) members identify as a Social / Design / Web / SEO / Architectural / Graphic Design / Literacy / PR... Agency. But we fell into the trap of charging more (read Sydney market prices) because we could, not because it was the best thing for the teams.

The learning here is that we value the diversity our small 1-4 person companies brought to the community, but incentivised larger companies through cheaper desks (because they bought more), the old pricing structure was:

1-3 Desks... $750 a month
4-8 Desks... $700 a month
9+ Desks... $650 a month

But we have now just changed it to a flat $650 per desk per month regardless of numbers, and surprisingly (or not) 6 of our smaller companies instantly committed to taking additional desks, which is going to completely replace a company of 10 that are due to move out at the start of December.

@Angel your article was great, thanks for writing it and linking to it.

@Alex your points on what is the actual value to members was the final prompt for me to change the pricing up for our members, and now the challenge is to reconnect with the community to identify other ways to bring them value and actively support them in leaner times

- Carl, Your Desk

On Friday, November 2, 2018 at 10:01:34 PM UTC+11, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:
> Oh yes, so much this.
>
> I find it sort of humorous that we are now talking about whether coworking can survive a recession, there are serious articles from back then (and it wasn't that long ago) about whether coworking was really just a manifestation of recession and whether it would go away as soon as the economy took an upturn.
>
> To which I sad then as I say now, come back in ten years, we'll see then who's still standing.
>
> On Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 4:22:10 PM UTC+1, Angel Kwiatkowski wrote:
> > Jeanine,
> > I remember this woman who was familiar with Cohere but was working in a regular job in the next town. She showed up on our doorstep one day after lunch and proclaimed, "I just got laid off. I didn't want to go home so I came here instead."
> >
> > A
> >
> > On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 3:37:30 AM UTC-6, Jeannine van der Linden wrote:
> > > This right here.
> > >
> > > I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting -- though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were up for this Brave New World.
> > >
> > > I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk about what it's like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.
> > >
> > > We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are settled now mostly.
> > >
> > > Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder dry. :slight_smile:
> > >
> > > On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were "newly independent" - some by choice, many by force. They weren't looking for an office, they were looking for people who were already independent and they might be able to learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.
> > > >
> > > > In our next economic downturn, I expect we're going to see something similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think that's going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.
> > > >
> > > > > >
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It has never sat well with me to offer discounts to larger companies that
have multiple desks or memberships. If anything, they have more resources
so I want to charge them more!!

Angel

···

On Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 6:46:01 PM UTC-7, Alex Hillman wrote:

This rules. Also a perfect lesson in using basic economics to incentivize
the preferred outcomes.

I actually have thought about charging MORE for teams than individuals as
they grow, rather than bulk discounts. But I love this solution and the
outcome. Well done.

Alex
On Nov 6, 2018, 8:42 PM -0500, Carl Sullivan <ca...@yourdesk.com.au > <javascript:>>, wrote:

This is all great stuff and a good launch point to form an action list to
implement over the next 12 months.

One point that I have already taken action on is our community has always
been designed for creative businesses and most of our (Companies who are)
members identify as a Social / Design / Web / SEO / Architectural / Graphic
Design / Literacy / PR... Agency. But we fell into the trap of charging
more (read Sydney market prices) because we could, not because it was the
best thing for the teams.

The learning here is that we value the diversity our small 1-4 person
companies brought to the community, but incentivised larger companies
through cheaper desks (because they bought more), the old pricing structure
was:

1-3 Desks... $750 a month
4-8 Desks... $700 a month
9+ Desks... $650 a month

But we have now just changed it to a flat $650 per desk per month
regardless of numbers, and surprisingly (or not) 6 of our smaller companies
instantly committed to taking additional desks, which is going to
completely replace a company of 10 that are due to move out at the start of
December.

@Angel your article was great, thanks for writing it and linking to it.

@Alex your points on what is the actual value to members was the final
prompt for me to change the pricing up for our members, and now the
challenge is to reconnect with the community to identify other ways to
bring them value and actively support them in leaner times

- Carl, Your Desk

On Friday, November 2, 2018 at 10:01:34 PM UTC+11, Jeannine van der Linden > wrote:

Oh yes, so much this.

I find it sort of humorous that we are now talking about whether
coworking can survive a recession, there are serious articles from back
then (and it wasn't that long ago) about whether coworking was really just
a manifestation of recession and whether it would go away as soon as the
economy took an upturn.

To which I sad then as I say now, come back in ten years, we'll see then
who's still standing.

On Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 4:22:10 PM UTC+1, Angel Kwiatkowski >> wrote:

Jeanine,
I remember this woman who was familiar with Cohere but was working in a
regular job in the next town. She showed up on our doorstep one day after
lunch and proclaimed, "I just got laid off. I didn't want to go home so I
came here instead."

A

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 3:37:30 AM UTC-6, Jeannine van der >>> Linden wrote:

This right here.

I opened my first space just as the last recession was hitting --
though it was a slower, shallower curve here in Europe, the sudden shift to
mandatory entrepreneurship came in like a bomb. Suddenly people were being
confronted with doing the same job they always had done as an employee, as
a freelancer. They were nervous and worried and not at all sure they were
up for this Brave New World.

I intentionally made that space homey and personal and intimate. A
shiny, corporate environment was exactly what they did not want. We had a
guy from the tax office come in and give lessons on how to keep books and
records as a freelancer, we had intentional freelancers come in and talk
about what it's like to freelance, we had folks come in and talk about how
to manage your retirement now you are a freelancer.

We are now two cycles away from that and have changed a lot of things
since then. I sort of miss it sometimes, though I am glad those folks are
settled now mostly.

Tip for Coworking in a recession: keep your costs low and your powder
dry. :slight_smile:

On Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 6:09:25 PM UTC+1, Alex Hillman wrote:

Another thing is that when we opened (at the beginning of the last
recession) we had an INFLUX of people who were "newly independent" - some
by choice, many by force. They weren't looking for an office, they were *looking
for people* who were already independent and they might be able to
learn from. That was literally the foundation of our first wave of growth.

In our next economic downturn, I expect we're going to see something
similar except that a decade later the physical and social infrastructure
to support a newly minted independent is WAY better. I think this will
likely be a good thing for coworking spaces, with a caveat that people see
and feel a sense of connection to the other members. If not, the coworking
space is simply a cost that can be removed/reduced. And I think
*that's* going to hurt a lot of spaces, especially the larger ones.

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