People: Valuing Internal and External Community

In the context of coworking models, it seems obvious that the term “people”refers to your  members. After all, membership dues are the bread and butter of your coworking spaces’ revenu. This however makes it easy to fall under the misconception that focusing on sales and building your membership matters above anything else.

Internal and External Community

While we definitely agree that building an internal community is high priority, as it is pretty hard to have a coworking space without members, we encourage the notion that equal value and energy should be placed on building relationships with your external community, or Stakeholders

The most dynamic and sustainable coworking models are designed around the principles of embedded communities, or communities within communities. Your space should be focusing on creating the feeling of community for your Users, but you’ll also want to consider how your space fits into the peripheral community at large. Therefore, as previously outlined in our post on the complete 3D Coworking Model, striking a balance between focusing on building and maintaining your “Users and creating relationships with potential “Stakeholders is an absolute must.

Maintaining this balance will create a feedback loop: a continuous flow of value coming and going from your space. A healthy and supportive internal community is a value add to not only potential new users, but also an attractive asset to potential stakeholders. This could include anything from securing support of local government and economic development organizations, to cash or in-kind sponsorship from businesses. Having that external support gives you more to offer your Users and adds to the overall value to your Membership.

The Elements of People

As previously described in our post on the Six Elements of Coworking, and in our posts on the factors of Space {link} and Experience {link}, the 3D Coworking Model divides the factor of Space into the complementary elements of Users and Stakeholders. As you continue to dig deeper into each, you will discover these elements break down further into sub categories.

Users (Internal Community): The element of Users is a much more complex subject than the simple acquisition of new customers. The element of Users encompases technical decisions on what tools, platforms and strategies you will use not only to attract new members, but more importantly, managing day to day interaction and communication, with which to retain them. This element contains all of the business components pertaining to marketing strategies, your community development and lead generation, as well as member management strategies. (Note: we do not include programing or events in this element as those components reside within the factor of Experience {link} and the element of Engagement {link}) You can read a more in depth description of Users HERE

Stakeholders (External Community): This element breaks out to include relationships with just about anyone in the larger community who has any amount of vested interested in seeing you succeed. This can be anything from a partner-landlord who wants to see a return on their investment to support from local elected officials. This could also include any form of public or private sponsorship from local vendor partners or building relationships with third party booking platforms. You can read a more in depth description of Stakeholders HERE

Again, the key here is to determine the balance between both sides of the spectrum, which will best support a sustainable business model. Focusing on ways to grow and support your community while also continuing to gain support from those around you.

Leave a Reply