What Happens to a Small Business When it ‘Graduates’ out of Coworking?

By Virtual Office TorontoIn standard1st October, 2015

In our previous blog about Ian’s experience at the GCUC Canada conference, he shared his thoughts, some history of coworking and some of the success stories of coworking centres. What was not mentioned in that blog was some things that a small business owner must consider when choosing to work in a coworking centre – as well as plans for the business when they graduate (outgrow) that coworking office. So we decided to put together some ideas for you to consider when starting out.

Depending on the type of business you are considering when moving into a coworking centre, you have to establish what your client’s perceptions will be. Will your customers expect you to have a professional and prestigious business address – or will it not matter to them (based on the type of product or service you offer)? You need to establish that very early on, so you can include your business address in all your marketing materials.

If your business address is not important for your brand, most coworking centres do offer you an address and mail pick-up service for your business mail, so that you do not have to give clients, customers and vendors your home address. But if you are in need of a prestigious business address as a way of showing your professionalism, what do you do? One solution for this is to pay a small fee to an office business centre for their virtual office services that give you the address you need, while still allowing you to work from a coworking centre.

Having you small business address with an office business centre does not just give you an upscale business address, it also allows you to have your mail forwarded to you wherever you are working or to your home. Most coworking centres that do offer mailboxes do not always offer mail forwarding, meaning you may have to go into the centre to pick up your mail.

An often-talked-about term in the coworking movement is “graduating” out of coworking and into your own space. But what if you are in need of more private workspace and are not ready to set up your raw office space in a traditional office building? This is where having your business address with an office business centre that offers virtual office services could be useful to your small business. You can take up physical office space in the same location that is on your business cards without having to change your address.

Some business centres are starting to offer dedicated coworking space. Others will offer shared office space that is similar to coworking, without the community events and collaboration usually associated with coworking. While Telsec does not yet offer the full collaborative and community-focused coworking environment, we are working towards opening a new coworking centre that will be a ‘hybridization’ of a coworking centre and a business centre. This model is already proving to be quite successful in other business centres.