14 Apr Your Personality is the Personality of the Coworking Space
Who is the member-facing person in your space? Who controls the pursestrings? Your space takes on the personalities of these people; and they need to be in alignment; and you should err on the side of the person interacting with the member community.
If you’re the member-facing person, pay special attention now. If you’re the pursestring person, pay extra-special attention toward the end of the article.
I know so many space managers that are introverts, but that market their spaces as a party where people connect with ease and have no problem starting conversations with total strangers. Bzzzzzzzt! That’s the noise of the error detector.
A space run by a total introvert never attracts extroverts that stick around; not without a lot of pretending. Likewise, the same is true for spaces run by total extroverts; introverts either find their quiet corner, leave or never even show up.
Stop being who you’re not. You’ll have much more success marketing to introverts if you’re an introvert. You’ll have much more success marketing to artists if you’re an artist. You’ll have much more success marketing to food startups if you’re into food and into startups that work in the food industry.
Surely this isn’t rocket science. So why do so many founders and managers do this?
Primarily, founders mistakenly get involved in coworking and assume it’s all about startups. It’s not. They market to, create amenities for, and host events involving startups, but they don’t care much about the startup scene at all. Sometimes their city doesn’t even have a startup scene. They think, “well, this is what people care about so I should create what the people want.” Sadly for them, people more often resonate with authenticity than they do fake versions of things they like.
Now, the managers. Managers market to people that aren’t their people because their bosses tell them to. Their bosses (the founders) mistakenly believe everything above. However, as the person who has the most contact with all your members, managers should be required to resonate with your member base. Why would you hire a manager for a food startup incubator or workspace that doesn’t love cooking and doesn’t think that the food industry needs to be transformed? The same goes with any other interest group.
Often, the hardest part for founders in this situation is letting go. Founders have their own idea of what the space needs to be. However, if your manager is the one actively managing the space and interacting with the members, why on Earth would you imagine you know what’s best? Your manager knows what’s best because they are there, every day, in the trenches. Trust them. Let them build it into what they think it should be. Assess the success or failure over four to six months, not four to six weeks. Surely you should provide feedback on the realities of the business, but you have to let go.
If you’re the founder, but not the manager, follow this one piece of advice: hire a passionate and experienced manager, then give them autonomy. See what happens.