Developing Flex-Use and Shared Workspace Business Models: The Agora RDM 3D Process

Coworking’s meteoric growth has led to the emergence of new business models, all with different applications and combinations of amenities, services and space design. Use cases have moved far beyond niche, industry focused or hybrid workspace providers such as shared kitchens or coworking paired with childcare. Organizations of all kinds have discovered that unique applications of flex-use and shared workspace models can prove beneficial in reaching their goals.

Define | Design | Drive

Whether it be a focus on the top or bottom line, a marketing initiative or simply staying competitive in an ever changing marketplace, there is one thing that is for sure: no two models are alike. Before launching a Space as a Service business model (primarily around work, productivity or community), organizations require a unique strategy.

When developing such a business model, it’s almost impossible to hear the word “space” without overly focusing on the physical location. After all, these strategies are often implemented to monetize or derive other value from a physical asset. Yes, good space design is important, but more important is what goes on in and around that space. Less focus on the “where”, and more on the “who” and the “what”. It’s with that perspective that Agora RDM has developed a “3D process” – Define | Design | Drive.

D1 – Define Your Goals

Mainstream operators expanding at light speed and securing more and more funding make it look easy. They are, however, in an ever increasing competitive market with little to differentiate them from each other. For those with vacant space, jumping to the conclusion that coworking is an easy fix might not prove true. Why not? Well, it all depends on whether or not the business model is in alignment with the organization’s overarching goals.

Before you can begin planning for a flex-use or shared workspace business model, organizations need to define their goals. Some might be looking to integrate coworking into their existing business as a new revenue stream. Others seek to increase foot traffic or “activate” existing properties. Then there are owners who need to vacant space or tenants trying to monetize space which is otherwise underutilized. Clear definitions of the physical (Space), the users (People) and amenities or services (Experience) provides the necessary information to develop a successful strategy.

While the idea of renting out office space at more than triple the market rate seems simple, the old “finger to the wind” coworking model design will no longer cut it. Before jumping to open a space, organizations also must assess the current market and available resources before they can even begin to run preliminary financial projections.

D2 – Design Your Space

Running a coworking space isn’t necessarily a complicated business, however it’s more than just furniture and wifi. If done in the wrong order, designing a physical location, benefits, services and amenities can quickly become a challenging process. It’s important to take into consideration all factors and elements of the business model. Balancing purposeful design (Space), with consideration of user engagement (People) and community or facility management (Experience) can lead to a complex list of questions and decisions.

Pairing a definition of the business model and goals with Agora RDM’s 3D Process Design consulting services, organizations can maximize their investment resources. Many times critical decisions are made without knowing there are missing pieces to the puzzle. Choosing a coworking management software without having finalized membership options, amenities or access control leads to more questions than answers.

D3 – Drive Your Business

Operating a single location coworking space is far different than integrating the concept into an existing business. Once an organization has defined and designed their model, the hard work has just begun. Managing (or driving) any type of space goes beyond simply launching the business.

Running such an operation can require constant sales and marketing efforts, customer service and facility maintenance. Proper hiring, training and operational documentation will ensure that standards are maintained and the users’ experience is consistent.

It’s not hard to do right; but it’s easy to do wrong. By implementing Agora RDM’s 3D process, organizations are able to better develop a flex-use or shared workspace strategy that best fits their needs necessary to achieve their goals.

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