smplr times 009 · Can we create better coworking websites, please?

Hey there,

Taking a slightly different approach this week. I’m wrapping the regular smpl update into my regular forward.

Late last week while looking for coworking spaces to visit on an upcoming trip I came across what I would consider some pretty bad websites. Bad photography, very wordy and just generally lacking in any sort of direction.

I’m concerned. Your website is likely the first thing a potential member is going to interact with associated with your brand. Before they ever pick up the phone or show up for a tour they are going to do some pretty extensive research. The same way you probably shopped for coworking software is exactly the way people are researching coworking spaces.

They Google Coworking in [insert city], and open the top 5-7 search results. As coworking gets more popular and the market gets competitive you’re going to have to stand out.

Here’s where your website comes in. It has to look good. It has to be a proper representation of not only your space, but the personality of the people within it. If you’re concerned with your site, or just don’t know give me a shout. I’d love to help. This weekend I worked to put together what I consider a beautiful one-page marketing website for a coworking space. You can view it here.

Simple, clean and optimized for conversion. For $35/month we will build, host and maintain your site. Our template. Your domain, photos and personality. Simple.

If you have the means and/or skills to do this work yourself, here’s a couple quick thoughts/action items for this.

  1. Photos. High quality photos of not only your space but people in your space, working. People are looking for themselves in the space. Show diversity.
  2. Personality. We’re pretty clear about who hygge is from our website. We’re a little weird. We love our #hyggefam. We’re not a niche space and want everyone.
  3. Clear navigation. Get people to the end point as fast as possible. For us, we offer membership, a podcast studio and meeting space. Get people to the info they want and then the contact form as fast as possible.
  4. Bonus: Centered text for large paragraphs are the worst thing in the world and are very hard to read. Stop doing it. They also make smpl’s cofounder Mike die a little inside.

These are just some quick thoughts but it’ll help. Get on that. If you haven’t the slightest clue where to start then let us build/host the site for you. Let’s talk.

Now, on to this week’s must-read articles.

👪 From AllWork on Community
Is Community Enough When Marketing Your Coworking Space
Since that Fast Company article on the big players all saying the same about community slightly different everyone has an opinion. I like this approach. There’s likely a couple amenities that should be leveraged to market your space. Start there. Community will come later.

🤔 From AllWork on Bond Collective
How Bond Collective Pivoted to Success
We’re talking a lot about marketing yourselves and standing out lately. Bond has done a pretty darn good job of standing out in an ever increasingly crowded market. A worthwhile read.

💬 From Cat Johnsons Blog
Coworking vs Workspace: What’s the difference?
A video made from the latest GCUC UK asking several operators about space. What do you think?

That’s it. Hope you have a simple week ahead of ya.

Until next time,
– Garrett

smplr times 001: We get it

We get it. You’re all busy. There’s 46 things to get done. You don’t have enough staff and for the love of all things holy, can Janine stop sharing her personal escapades in dating from Friday night. 😰

Welcome to coworking. We’re in the same boat with you running hygge. Sometimes we’re riding waves of highs and other times we’re up a creek with no paddle. The best thing we can all do is find ways to support each other.

So with that, we’re introducing smplr times, a weekly newsletter, delivered every Monday morning giving you all the tips, encouragement, and resources you need to run your coworking space. We also hope to use this to be a little more transparent about smpl’s dev process.

Let’s do this.

📝 From our own smpl blog.
Template for Membership Guidelines
Hopefully you’re having members agree to some rule set or guidelines. Here’s a copy of the one we use at hygge. Feel free to take & alter as much as you’d like.

🙁 From a coworking space that closed it’s doors in 2016. Still relevant.
On December 31st, We’re closing our doors for good and here’s why
Still one of the best and most transparent looks at running a coworking space and just how difficult it is to keep it rolling. I keep this article handy every time I question what I’m doing. It’s awesome that they used their shutting down as an opportunity to educate.

👪 From the AllWork.Space blog by Cat Johnson.
Insights & Tough Love from an Old Coworking Hippie. Meet Jeannine Van Der Linden
I had the pleasure of snagging some of Jeannine’s time not too long ago and I promise, she’s awesome. One of the good ones, Jeannine is no BS and understands what it takes to push coworking forward.

🔔 From Dallas Innovates.
As Coworking Market Grows, Local Operators Look to Stand Out With Unique Amenities
I’m still not sure coworking is in need of expanded amenity sets. I meet a lot of spaces that struggle perfecting the core feature set of reliable internet, decent in-house coffee, community building, etc. I share this to keep you aware of the conversation but also to encourage you to crush basic coworking before stepping into uncharted territory.

📫 From Mugs.Gripe, a blog written by me, smpl cofounder Garrett Tichy.
Should you let members use your address for business purposes?
The answer is… yes! But make sure you price is accordingly and make it very easy for members to take advantage of.

Now for a quick smpl update. The resource booking feature is our “Are we there yet?”. It’s universally needed and we get it. We’re hard at work and surprise, we’re not far off from putting version one into the world. Peek a screen below.

I want this to be valuable. It takes a long time to hunt down quality articles, resources and news worth sharing. Feedback’s awesome. Want more of one thing, less of another? Just let me know.

Until next time,

smpl featured in Start Charlotte

On Feb 4th, smpl was featured on Charlotte, NCs startup focused new site Start Charlotte.

Simply stated, smpl, member management software for coworking spaces, came out of both a business desire and a market need.

But, as is often the case with startups, making it happen was easier said than done.

Smpl (pronounced simple) was an idea initially considered by Garrett Tichy, who saw an opportunity in his coworking business. Tichy opened the first location of Hygge in Charlotte’s Third Ward in late 2015. Since then the coworking brand has opened two more locations — one on Remount Road and the newest one at Camp North End. As the number of locations grew, so did the number of members — and so did the operational and logistical inefficiencies for Tichy as owner and manager.

Read the full post here.