smplr times 015 路 How We Beat WeWork

Hey there,

I want to introduce you to聽hygge member Hannah. She moved to Charlotte, and within a week was standing inside hygge for a complimentary trial day. Her company stated they’d pay for any space she wanted. She does the research. They pay the bill.

We were the first stop on her coworking space tour. She spent the day with us, and on the way out, let me know she was doing the same with Novel, followed by WeWork. She circled back a few days later after finishing her other trials, and scheduled another time to come by. She was in. 馃檶

It’s not often that we get details into what happened at the other spaces, but in this case we got the full story of her WeWork experience. For those of you that don’t know, WeWork has a ton of systems in place along with on-site employees that are supposed to streamline your experience with them. It’s quite the operation.

You can book on-site tours directly through their site. You’ll receive confirmation upon confirmation, with the later ones including instructions on where to go once you arrive and who you’ll meet.

For Hannah, nothing went as planned. She arrived for her 8:30am tour as scheduled to find no staff on hand. 9:00am rolls around. Nothing. Finally, right before 9:30am the first staff member arrives. Hannah, as relaxed as can be asked for her tour. The WeWork employee said she can do it in a couple hours. 馃槕 Hannah then asked if she could get set up to get some work done. She was continually asked to just hold on. This sucks.

The people at WeWork were missing something we do really well – investment in a relationship. If that employee’s real goal was bringing awesome people in, she would have/could have dropped everything to tour Hannah. She chose not to.

Their funding gives WeWork the potential to be in the upper tier of all coworking experiences.. They are gorgeous, and chock full of amenities. If price and location aren鈥檛 barriers, then they should win. In this case, the human experience brought them down.

We have a distinct advantage as independent coworking operators. We have systems in place that are built around taking care of people just like Hannah. As WeWork switches to focus heavily on larger and more corporate teams, we should continue to push even harder on each individual person.

Make them feel at home, and invest time talking with them. Every tour doesn鈥檛 have to be cookie cutter. We can bob and weave depending on who walks through that door. WeWork and the other big players can not.

This is our biggest advantage. Take advantage of it.

Let’s discuss it over in the Wash Your Mugs community.

And now, on to this weeks top articles.

馃彈锔徛燜rom AllWork
Cushman & Wakefield on the Coworking Industry Withstanding a Downturn
The coworking boom continues, and top leaders in real estate seem to think it could survive a major real estate downturn. These bigger players are super well backed and often have cash reserves. For us, it’s all about smart structured leases and making sure we didn’t bite off more than we can chew. Make friends with some real estate folk, and protect what you’ve built.

馃嵕聽From Coworking Resources
Are Coworking Pop-ups The Future
No, definitely not, but it’s definitely a way to build community prior to opening. Build demand, and community and then once you find that physical space you have guaranteed membership.

馃聽From The Internet
The Global Workspace Association
Anyone in this association? I can’t vouch for it just yet. Jamie Russo of the Everything Coworking podcast is involved. She’s pretty awesome so I have a little faith. I signed up today, and will report back with all my findings.

Now for a smpl update. Resource restrictions, confirmation emails for resources booked and day pass confetti have all been implemented. We’re working hard on a pretty awesome performance upgrade. Stay tuned for details but smpl is about to get聽鈿ast.

And just like that, we’re done. It’s over. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,

smplr times 013 路 The reality of competition

Hey there,

I think about this Michael Phelps image a lot. The one where Chad Le Clos looks left to see where Phelps is. People claim this is the moment he lost. He got distracted by the competition, took his eye off the prize, and that was the end of it.

I’m a very competitive person. I work really hard to know the ins and outs of the other coworking spaces in my city. What’s their marketing strategy? How are they interacting with members? Are they building big partnerships? I love knowing this kind of stuff, and you should too.

This information does not guide our marketing strategy or how we operate our space. I don’t believe in being reactionary, and if you’re reacting to your competitor鈥檚 movement (see Le Clos) you’ve already lost.

Knowing what your competitors are up to allows you to clearly define what makes you different. If a potential member asks what separates you from the flock, you need to have a good answer. If they are asking you, they are asking the competition. You need to stand out if you’re offering similar amenities.

If someone asked me what makes us different we’d talk small team, personal touch and staying intentionally a small team as we scale. People appreciate how responsive Brittany and I are. We’re also a good bit less event focused than most coworking spaces. We, as hygge, do not ask our members to participate in a ton of events to meet other members. I’d much rather rely on members to be human, and say hello to those they work beside. This is distinctly different from other Charlotte coworking spaces. That’s just two ways we differ.

Here’s a couple ways to stay up on what your competition is up to.

  • Subscribe to their newsletters
  • Follow their social media
  • Makes a friend that works out of their space 馃槵#covertops
  • Make friends with the competitor owners

Don’t get distracted, but know what they are doing. It’s important. More importantly, know what you’re doing and why you are different. What makes you special and why do your members stay? Let’s discuss it over in the Wash Your Mugs community.

And now, on to this weeks top articles.

馃泹锔徛燜rom AllWork On Coworking in Malls
Here’s What You Need To Know About Coworking in Malls
I’m fascinated by this model. Retail has typically come massive $ per sq ft. I’d be curious if there’s less expensive options in failing retail areas that coworking could capitalize on.

馃摎聽From Optix on Novel (previously Level)
The Future of Work with Kayley Dicicco
Level recently rebranded as Novel, but from what I can tell outside of a name change it’s the same company. I’m still paying attention. You don’t spend a ton of money changing an established brand and then do nothing with it. Expect waves.

馃惐聽From Cat Johnson on Community
8 Tips for Unlocking The Power of Community
Cat is a treasure trove of awesome coworking information. Follow her everywhere because she’s smart, gets it, and genuinely wants you to succeed. She’s one of your biggest advocates and you didn’t even know it.

Now for a smpl update. We’re quick making updates to resource booking based on feedback. You can now see what’s booked as well as what’s only available to book if you’re a space manager. This transparency should hopefully alleviate some of the questions coming your way from members.聽馃槄

And just like that, we’re done. It’s over. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,