We previously talked to Melanie Banayat of Wingspace in Prescott, Arizona who leveraged resources at a local college to get free market research. Joanna Cabalquinto interviewed her once again to get a more in-depth guide on how it was done.
Free Market Research
Melanie’s very first step was to utilize the resources at a local college. If this is available to you, take full advantage of it. Melanie reached out to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University knowing they had a business program called the Eagle Consulting Program. This program allowed for senior students to work with local businesses on various projects.
During the first semester she had nine students assigned to assist her. They helped get the word out to the community as well as work out the details of the business model canvas. Melanie worked with them to figure out if a coworking space was even something the community would be interested in.
With the students, she launched a survey that 120 people participated in. The students put the survey on Facebook and went out and talked to to people to gauge interest. They even went to the city and asked for a list of people who have registered their business license. With this information, they went through and highlighted everyhome-based business. The survey gave Melanie the confidence to move forward with her space.
During the summer semester, Melanie got another team of five students to help her put together a focus group. They launched a meetup and started hosting pop-up events around town. This portion took a very grassroots approach. They went to different businesses, breweries, and hotels for coworking pop-up days. As they kept hosting pop-ups, the interest in coworking grew more and more. After about a year, Melanie held a sign-up day, without even owning a physical space yet, to see if she could get anyone to pre-pay for a membership. 15 people signed-up.