Two Types of Coworking Locations
There are two types of locations for your coworking space.
First, there’s the location that integrates you into your surroundings. If you’re located in a certain neighborhood or region, your space (as well as others) supports that neighborhood’s initiatives, whether they be farmers’ markets, startup incubators, or whatever your region is about.
A coworking space in San Francisco’s SOMA, Mission, or FiDi districts are great examples here. If you’re in any of these places, and you tap into the startup scene in some way, you’re integrating into the surrounding community. You’re building yourself into the fabric of what already exists. Even if you’re a small fish in a big pond, you’re adding to the value of the ecosystem. Examples here are WeWork, PARISOMA, Impact Hub, Galvanize, NextSpace, RocketSpace, and many many more. The more nodes on the network, the more valuable the network becomes.
The other alternative is to be an outlier, to be the one-and-only. If you’re a haven built exclusively for creative writers, are located in a rough and industrial neighborhood, and inside the space lies a writer’s paradise, you aren’t integrating into the surroundings, you’re defying them. You’re the secret basement speakeasy (before they were so popular), you’re the hole-in-the-wall biscuit shop that has a line out the door every morning, you’re in a class of your own.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. I’m just saying these are the only two reasonable options if you want to succeed.
So the question is: do you want to be an integral part of the status quo or an oasis in the desert?
The worst thing you can do is try to be both. It doesn’t work. Your only option if you want to be a destination location is to be sui generis, unique, a diamond in the rough. Your only option if you want to be a community player is to play the game the community is playing.