Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Coworking opportunities to grow your network

Coworking is not just a work space, there is opportunity to grow your business within the community that works there. The power of networking helps you create purposeful and meaningful relationships, connect with a community that has the potential to be a valuable asset to your business operations.

The proximity and technology make this all possible through the tangible shared space that we work in, to the community platforms that are open forums for discussions. You have the opportunity to share ideas, pitch a business, find a business partner from coworking in person and virtually.

"Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities"

Like any professional networking event, it takes courage to make a connection. Here are some ways that we’ve seen it happen in coworking.

Love thy neigbhour

Most of us know our neighbors at home and there is a mutual benefit to getting to know them as well as being friends. 

The same can be said for the businesses that work around you. Get to know your neighbouring business in coworking and you’ll quickly realise the benefits which accompany this process. 

If you’re in a coworking space with dedicated desk spaces, welcome your new office neighbours with an introduction and a tour of the space. They will appreciate your friendliness and remember this as a positive trait from you, which can be beneficial in the future.

Show up

How else would you get to know the other coworkers?
 
You need to be in the coworking space to see who is there and get to know them. Coworking spaces offer fun community events like yoga classes, charity events and novelty days like pancake day. These events are a great reason for meeting up with like-minded people, getting to know them on a professional and personal levels.

And if that’s not your thing, then there are some that host subject matter seminars and talks. 

Conferences are a great way to network and in a coworking event this is far more achievable because you’re from the same community. It doesn’t just have to be at the event, you could network at the watercooler or kitchen bar – just about anywhere.

After all, you’re all professionals who are looking for others which could be of use!

Ask for an introduction

All it takes a single hello to get the conversation rolling.

The community manager would know all of the business utilising the coworking space and would know majority of the people. If you’re looking to make connections and have an idea of who you’d like to connect with, simply ask your community manager for an introduction.
 
The beauty of coworking is that you can do the same gesture for someone else. Once you’ve become acquainted with someone, introduce them to someone else. This is a culture that grows in coworking spaces and encourages referrals.

Have your business cards ready

An infographic illustration of the networking benefits and opportunities in a coworking space.

This is might seem old fashioned, but believe it or not, this tangible card with your contact details is a powerful tool. Have your business cards ready and share them with those you meet in coworking. 

You could be creative and hand them a promotional novelty gift, like a branded pen or squishy stress ball. It’s these small gestures which leave a memorable impression of yourself and let’s others know how they can keep in touch.

Move around

Be noticed in the open coworking spaces.
 
You could sit next to somebody in a coworking space that you’ve never met before and strike up a conversation. Curiosity will spark the initial conversation that could lead to a meaningful business relationship, and you’ll never know unless you try.
 

But make sure that you’re always respecting the boundaries of everyone in a coworking space. Whilst coworking spaces are friendly and open environments, they are not a public library or a cafe with Wi-Fi. 

Ensure that your interactions are not disturbing people which are trying to work and identify an appropriate time to make your approach. Ultimately, coworking spaces are a paid-gated community with similar like-minded business people.
 
Enjoy your time in coworking and use every opportunity to find your next service provider, freelancer consultant and business partner, which has the potential to grow your business.
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Noj Christensen

Noj Christensen

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