‘Necessity is the mother of Invention’ is an aptly quoted saying. When it comes to starting up, entrepreneurs leave no stone un-turned to make sure that they are making optimum use of their resources at the best possible price.
Till just a few years ago it was perfectly acceptable if you had a physical presence but no online presence, but now the roles have been reversed. A company has to have an online presence and physical office is optional. Any dorm room can be a full fledged multi-million dollar business without actually having a real office.
The concept of co-working arose from that very need. For most bootstrapped startups or a one person company, investing in real estate for office space is often unnecessary, especially if they can do almost everything online sitting at home or in a coffee shop. Not to mention the insane rates of real estate in prime locations like Mumbai.
But then again there are times when having an office gives you the much needed schedule and gives you the chance to have actual physical interactions with your colleagues and clients (which is getting rarer in today’s digital times).
Coworking spaces combine the best of both worlds and give companies, entrepreneurs’ and freelancers the freedom to do what they want at their convenience. It is now possible to rent office space for a day, a month or any other desired time period.
Given the intense interest in startups these day, more and more young entrepreneurs are looking to coworking facilities to grab relatively inexpensive office space. In addition to WiFi, fax, conference rooms, kitchen and snack-prep areas; these ‘rental’ business studios also offer new companies the opportunity to rub elbows with others in their world. The coworking space industry has seen growth in recent years and that swell is only going to continue.
So What Really is a Coworking Space?
Less conceptually, a coworking space is usually an open space office with a mix of shared and reserved desks. Members are freelancers or SVSBs (Small or Very Small Business) and instead of working from home, from cafés or even splitting costs with a couple of friends, they join up to participate in a community which happens to have various plans for accessing the space and setting up to work.
Co-working spaces have been called “accelerated serendipity”, because co-working spaces create an environment where the random business, career and life dealings of freelancers are accelerated, multiplying opportunities.
The concept of co-working has caught up really well in India. With skyrocketing real estate prices and the yearning of founders to network and have a place to call their own, co-working is a huge hit.
How are they really different from regular offices?
In the true sense of the word the basic model is of a physical office with many additional amenities.
Coworking spaces operate like startup campuses, providing eager minds with outlets and WiFi, as well as access to angel investors and VCs, serial entrepreneurs who act like mentors, and a fertile breeding ground for collaboration between entrepreneurs, designers and developers.
Most coworking spaces also organize and support startup events, to help entrepreneurs build a network, foster a good ecosystem. These tend to be a lot of fun and resourceful as well.
Although you might be comfortable working from your tiny apartment kitchen, it’s hardly a place that you’d like to invite clients. Belonging to a coworking space often includes access to conference rooms, which can lend some credibility to your business meetings.
Some other benefits:
- No lengthy contracts or complex legal stuff to get into. Most are just plug and play, literally.
- Network with like minded people, make new friends, clients, customers and partners.
- Goes without saying, much cheaper to start out with and then you can scale up just as easily.
- Extreme flexibility: Membership can vary from just 1 day, 3 days, 1 week or months.
- Increased sense of community and trust amongst peers
- Work at a high quality office or location otherwise beyond your budget
- Absorb new ideas from other industries not usually within your network
- Increased chances of potential office romances 🙂
Who is it most suited for?
Coworking will work out great for:
- Single entrepreneurs or small teams just starting out with their venture
- People who find it more fun and productive to work with other people
Coworking may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It depends on your working style, the stage at which his company is at.
Co-working might NOT be suitable for you:
- If you already have a large team, even though you may have just started up.
- If you are an introvert who values privacy and peace.
- If you don’t like helping out here and there, then its not for you. As every aspect of working is, well, shared.
Wait up guys! This was just Part 1, stay tuned for Part 2. We will be covering some of the coolest Coworking Spaces In India.