Get your questions answered and improve running your coworking space with Ramon Suarez, author of The Coworking Handbook and founder of Betacowork.
On Thursday February 7 I will be hosting my first free webinar to answer your questions about coworking communities. I would like to focus on the community side, but please ask any question you need help with.
It will take place at 9:30am SF time, 6:30 pm Brussels time. Find out your local time here.
This course is for owners or employees of coworking spaces that don’t have a community yet or are struggling with creating, growing and maintaining an active and healthy community.
Intro Welcome What are you going to learn in this course What will you be Able to do at the end of the course Who is the instructor and why is he the best person to be teaching this course
Community Why is community important for coworking What is community The value of community Your role as a community manager Take care of yourself and of the community Trust, Ethics & Personality How community helps you get and retain more coworkers
Build a growing, thriving and helpful community of coworkers Strengthening links among coworkers & accelerating serendipity The power of introductions Introduce yourself Introduce others Be on the look for win wins Start your community
How to grow your community Reach out Get people into your space Events: attend, host & organize Events to organize in your coworking space
How to nurture your community and keep it healthy Creating and strengthening links How to deal with conflict Have more events and more attendees at their events
Event Organization How to have more events at your space with less work from you How to get more people to sign up to your events How to get the attendees to show up to your events
Getting and giving help Helpful coworkers that contribute positively to the community and to the coworking space. How to get help for the community How to get help for the coworkers How to get help for yourself
As part of the bonus lecture I’m thinking of including some tips from the leading practice specialists in the coworking world, and of course deals.
Are you struggling to bring together the community dynamics that you need for your coworking space? Are you full of good energy but lack the ideas and processes to improve your coworking space’s community? Tony comes to the rescue with his Ultimate Coworking Community Toolkit. He has given me early access to review it and I have to say that it is great!
The materials proposed by Tony are very well structured and helpful. He’s done a great work of simplifying and structuring a lot of content, from operational guides to ready to print flyers. It is very easy to follow and to use. Some of the documents just need to add the name of your space, your logo and the number of members and they are ready to use. There are a lot of clear instructions to run events and execute tasks.
Tony’s toolkit will help a lot of people.
I’ve known Tony for a long time and like what he has done, the way he shares and the new things he’s doing for coworking. I asked him to write the preface for The Coworking Handbook, he hosted the world première at New Work City in New York, and he even helped me find the proofreader for the book. He’s one of those people that makes the whole coworking movement so great.
When you buy the community toolkit you get access to a Google Drive folder that contains all the documents:
Clean and simple. Tony has made it very easy to navigate the documentation and to go straight to what matters to you based on your needs. If you want to go through all of it, you can do it quickly in a single morning. This is just to get an idea, to work on the different items you will spend hours (it is easy to read the questions in a form, not so easy to answer them) but you will save many times more that time.
When you open this section you find two documents, a long term planning sheet and a launch checklist. Don’t be fooled by the number of documents, you are going to spend a lot of time with these two. The planning sheet is full of questions that will make you thing hard about the future of your business and will help you understand and structure your long term engagement with the community, all the way up to a potential exit.
The pre-launch checklist goes over the must haves to ensure that you are ready.
The community folder includes instructions to start a community from scratch, instructions to design the different levels of membership, a community audit, and a nifty tool to track the engagement of your members. You will have to answer a few questions here and in exchange you will have a great set of tools to keep your work in track.
This folder is the dream of many new space operators. It contains a simple and comprehensive operations manual where you just need to add your logo and name of the space to have it ready to use by your team.
It also comes with an interesting program to incentivize your coworkers to work for you in exchange of free coworking time. This is not just the bartering idea, it has a document explaining everything so that you can just post it and get applications. Tony has successfully used this program to staff NWC, but he warns that if you plan to have only this to work with you in your space it probably will only be suited for small spaces. When you get to larger spaces with more people coming and going you really do need someone who’s being paid to ensure everything is running smoothly.
Here you will find the recipes for three different kind of events. The meetings to welcome aboard new members and introduce them to your community are a fundamental part of the onboarding process.
Then you have the show and tells, another great tool to have the members do something for the community and at the same time promoting themselves. It is all about value!
The Cotivation and Impact Coworkign Program are linked. In his own words:
The Impact Coworking Program takes the notion behind Cotivation and scales it up. While Cotivation tends to be a 5 week program just among a small group, Impact Coworking runs several months per cycle and can be integrated into the membership model. You can tack on a Cotivation program to any coworking space model. The Impact Coworking Program gives you a way to attract members with more than just a desk, and a way to continually engage and refresh the connections between members with big seasonal goal-setting events. It’s super powerful.
The signage folder contains flyers, posters and social media images that you can use for your events, for facility management, etc. The files are provided in both editable and printable formats, and there’s also a list of links to the original files in Canva to make it even easier to customize and play with them. It also includes the event rent card with the pricing for events at New Work City.
The Graphics folder contains an example of different files and formats used for the coworking brand.
Who’s Tony Bacigalupo
Tony is the founder of NWC, he’s run a coworking space for 6 years in New York and is currently leading Open Coworking, the global organization for the coworking movement. I’ve asked him a few questions about the coworking toolkit that may help you understand him and what he’s done better, and also help you run your coworking space:
What would you say are the most important things in your life that shaped you to be able to run NWC and to write this toolkit?
I grew up in the suburbs, where the 20th century western culture of everyone being cooped up in their homes with their things reigned supreme. So from very early on, I’ve been feeling a powerful need to find a community to belong to.
When I found coworking, I found a chance to give myself and others a way of connecting to people that I feel many of us desperately need.
The Toolkit is the result of 8 years of dedication to learning everything I could about how to build and sustain a great coworking community. Since there were so little answers out there when I got started, we had to come up with a lot of them ourselves.
Now, though, others who are starting spaces all over the world need not take more time and energy to solve the same problems that have been solved before. I’d love to see people build on the progress that I and others have made, so they can focus on going further.
How did you draft the Coworking Toolkit?
It’s the collective work of a lot of contributions over the years.
What are your tips for selecting the members to help you run your coworking space?
You want to find people who really want to be a part of your community. Odds are good you already know at least one of those people. These are people you wish could be members, but they just can’t afford it.
They have to be folks who are excited to meet everyone who walks in the door. That doesn’t mean they have to be extroverts; some of our best desk captains were the opposite. But they have to care about the people and have a desire to cultivate relationships.
Beyond that, they don’t need a heck of a lot in the way of skills. It’s more about the heart than the head.
And for hiring trainees and employees?
For employees, you want to get a sense of where they are in their journey. Working at a coworking space can be a life-changing opportunity for someone, if they’re in the right place to take advantage.
Think about the ideal scenario for their departure, and how far off that is. In my mind, the ideal scenarios are that they: 1) start a new business and become successful enough to become members themselves, 2) get hired by one or several of the members, or 3) end up developing a program or project that could augment your community in a new way.
It also helps to set time boundaries. Tell them when you’re hiring them that the role is one you expect to keep them at for about a year, and then at that point your hope is for them to “graduate” upward into one of the scenarios I just described.
That gives you and them a sense of continuity and a goal to check back in on as time progresses.
Which is the most important part of coworking space operations?
I think it’s just most important to have all your bases covered. When situations come up, whoever’s at the helm should be able to easily find an answer or generally know how to handle unpredictable situations.
Why did you include the mastermind book? What makes it important for coworking space managers?
Masterminds are so handy because they’re really easy to implement yet so powerful in fostering connections between people.
It’s also a really great book that the creators wanted to put out into the world and spread as widely as possible. I’m grateful to them for that.