A coworking center’s primary offering is office space for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Businesses that have their own standalone locations may not seem like good prospects or business partners for coworking managers. However, shopping at local businesses is a great way to make connections in the community and bring additional customers to a coworking space.
Most coworking locations provide food and drinks for their members daily and/or for special events. Instead of partnering with a large concession or catering company, coworking owners can choose to buy from nearby restaurants. Some options to consider are purchasing beer from a popular brewery in town, coffee from a neighborhood coffee shop, or sweet treats from a local bakery. Coworking members will be excited to see their favorite local brands stocked in the kitchen, and it may give the coworking space an edge over the competition when new customers are choosing between two different shared office spaces.
Partnering with local artisans is another excellent way to support local businesses. Using the shared office space as a gallery gives painters and photographers a free or low-cost option to display their art, and art creates a lively, vibrant environment in the coworking space. Additionally, by using local talent, the artists are more likely to create content that is relevant to the area where the workplace is located. Community art shows within a coworking space are also a great way to bring new guests inside the shared office space and offer an additional means of promoting the coworking space outside of marketing its traditional office solutions.
Coworking managers can also shop locally by considering nearby gyms and fitness programs as they build out health and wellness programs at their centers. Many large fitness chains have standardized pricing and are resistant to providing discounts. However, a new community yoga studio or kickboxing gym may be interested in offering lower rates to coworking members if the coworking company is willing to help the business owner promote their fitness program. Other wellness providers such as masseuses, chiropractors, or nutritionists may also be interested in a partnership.
By working with smaller, local companies, coworking managers can build relationships with the business owners directly. They will get the satisfaction of knowing they are supporting companies in their local communities, but they will also create an additional revenue source for themselves. The local retailers may not have an immediate need themselves for office space. However, they may need space to host business meetings outside their primary location in the future or seek additional resources a coworking space can supply. They will likely also be great referral sources to other local entrepreneurs who may need office space or can provide connections coworking managers can use to deepen their engagement in the local community.