Alex Hillman answered three questions from listeners and readers.
What should be considered when purchasing furniture for a coworking space?
Decisions on furniture is inconsequential in comparison to the thought you should be putting into the community. However, if people are going to be getting work done, you do need to think about how your space is affecting how they work and interact with other people.
Professional furniture is expensive. When searching for furniture, you want to consider agility more than permanence. You should be focusing on formulating decisions around agility and community. Most times, you will not get design right the first time. This is why having office furniture that is designed to be reconfigurable and mobile is important. It allows you to change your mind as you go.
Think about who the people in the space are and how they are going to use it. Interact with the space in the way that best suits them. You can even bring the community into the process of planning, designing, and assembly. Allow you community to come together around the project of furnishing your space.
How do you distinguish your coworking space’s demographic?
Diversity is one of the most important things. The demographic within a space creates a particular part of the experience of a space. It is something you cannot get anywhere else. If it is not there, there is a limit in terms of creativity, innovation, learning, etc.
A coworking space is an amazing opportunity to bring people together and allow them to get to know each other beyond their profession. People bond over almost anything other than their work. Find out what else your members have in common and use that as the way to bring people in.
How do you grow a meetup to get a greater response?
If the response you are getting to a meetup is small, it is still better than nothing. It is easy to underestimate the time and patience needed to cultivate a following. However, time and patience are the keys to all things that have to do with community building.
If the first couple of events are able to bring in a couple of people, you are on the right track. Keep doing it and build a rhythm. Naturally, you are going to gain momentum over time. While you will build momentum, you do need to go out and actively find people.
If you expect things to come together on their own the results will be disappointing. Immerse yourself in other people’s events and get to know them where they are. Their initial interaction with you should not always be on your own terms. It is valuable to go even if they are not the specific target group you are going for. Listen and participate in other communities to better lead your own.