How to Make the Most of Your Coworking Experience

In celebration of International Coworking Day on August 9, we are taking a moment to talk about making the most of your coworking experience. In a sense, you get out of coworking what you put into it. If you’re simply looking for a desk or office, you may be satisfied with that and nothing more. But what many people find is that coworking spaces offer something that extends far beyond physical furniture and office space: to enter a coworking space is to gain access to a thriving community and a multitude of resources.

Coworking spaces account for the fact that their occupants often work for themselves or for small companies, and that these types of professionals can benefit immensely from a sense of community, access to business resources, and an offering of networking opportunities. Thus, the services and amenities of coworking spaces are often geared specifically toward the needs of entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.

Below, we provide five tips on how to make sure you’re taking advantage of everything your coworking experience offers.

Attend events/workshops, or offer to host your own.

Most coworking spaces host socials and happy hours for members, as well as business-related seminars and workshops. Attending these events is a great way to meet people and expand both your personal and professional spheres. You might gain new insight or develop new skills to apply to your business. You can even volunteer to host your own workshop or lunch-and-learn so that fellow members can benefit from your expertise as well – just ask your community manager about coordinating an event, and they will likely be glad to assist.

Form strategic partnerships.

One of the most rewarding aspects of coworking is the diverse range of backgrounds, industries, and skill sets found beneath a single roof. Take advantage of this by forming genuine, strategic partnerships with your fellow members. Offer them your skills and expertise in an area where they might not be as well-versed, and they will likely lend their skills to your company in return. Create a win-win for both parties. We’re so passionate about collaboration that we even named our space after it!

Take advantage of discounts on products or services offered by your coworking space.

Oftentimes, coworking spaces partner with local businesses to offer great deals to their occupants. This could be anything from discounted meals at local restaurants, reduced pricing at the local dry cleaners, or discounted rates from business service providers. Did you know that Collaborate offers its tenants next-day office supplies, reduced advertising rates with Nashville Business Journal, and discounted rates at Pinnacle Bank? We can also refer you to a selection of preferred business resources at discounted rates.

If you have an idea or request, speak up!

Most community managers are enthusiastic about new ideas and will welcome requests for additional services or amenities. If your coworking space doesn’t currently provide something that you would find valuable, don’t hesitate to reach out and see if it could be a possibility to offer it in the future. It never hurts to ask.

Ask your community manager about promotional or marketing opportunities.

Want to be featured on your coworking space’s newsletter or social media page? Would you like to display your company’s brochures or business cards in a communal area? Ask your community manager how they can help you market your business. Oftentimes, they have the capacity to reach a large network within the local entrepreneurial community.

At Collaborate, we provide space, strategy, and support for business owners so that our tenants can have access to everything they need, all under one roof. Contact us today to find out more about membership. And Happy International Coworking Day!

Step Up Your Networking Game: Part II

Networking, networking, networking: it seems that we are constantly being reminded of its value and importance. It’s a rather large concept to navigate, so we’ve decided to dig into the “art” of networking here on the blog, distilling its ambiguity down to what really lies as its core.

Last week, we shared a list of networking channels worth pursuing. Once you’ve chosen a few routes to pursue, it’s time to prepare for the networking engagement itself. Today, we’re going to dive into how to prepare and what it means to network meaningfully.

What Is “Meaningful Networking?”

Networking isn’t just about showing up and handing out business cards. In fact, a business card doesn’t mean much if there’s not a positive impression and a genuine connection paired with it. It takes time and effort to navigate the world of networking in a meaningful way. Luckily, adequate preparation will ensure that your time and energy don’t go to waste. The following are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re well-prepared for your next networking event:

  • To attend a networking event without considering your desired outcomes beforehand is like going grocery shopping without a list: you come home with a jumble of items, not sure what to do with them. Prior to a networking engagement, consider what outcomes you desire from the experience. This way, you will have some goals to work toward throughout the event or meeting, and you can avoid feeling adrift upon your arrival.   As you prepare, ask yourself the following questions to help steer yourself in the right direction:

                - Why am I networking?

               -  What do I hope to gain from the experience?

               -  How do I want to present myself or my business?

               -  With what type of people am I looking to connect, and why?

  • Show up confident. Knowing what you want to talk about and how you want to present yourself goes a long way. Craft an elevator pitch in advance, and wear something that is appropriate for the occasion and makes you feel good. Have business cards handy, but use them meaningfully and sparingly.
  • Be open-minded. This involves listening to others with sincerity, and being receptive to their questions, ideas, or advice.
  • Prepare some questions ahead of time that are beyond the scope of typical small-talk. Ask questions that will open doors, leading to interesting conversations and lasting connections.
  • Relax. It’s amazing how often people forget to just breathe. If you’re uptight or tense, it will show. Just relax and be yourself. It sounds so simple, but the difference it makes is immeasurable.

    Hosting an event? Our friends at Mixtroz created an app that uses customized questions to group meeting attendees together based on their responses. It encourages a more interactive and personal form of networking… in other words, meaningful networking.

Any networking tips we didn’t cover? Share them with us below!