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"We Have Community"

Sometimes things are better shown than said. Just saying ‘we have community’ because people use your space doesn’t necessarily set the scene for how great your community is. Or the right level of expectation if your space is more focused on individuals.

If you can find different ways to express your community via online media, that’s a recipe for attracting members who are hungry for a dynamic, happy and flourishing community. You can do this through video, photos, audio, testimonials, interviews, social media posts, and so on. Doing it this way will really make your workspace community seem tangible and real.

What’s more, because every space online is saying they have community, if you show it instead, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

"We Have a Mentorship Program"

A bonafide mentorship program is something which a member can sign up for and where they can have regular meetings with people more experienced than them in any given field. I’ve seen few genuine mentorship programs in coworking spaces, though I do think this should change. It could be a great benefit if it’s real and structured for easy access. Or maybe I just need to head to more incubator/accelerator workspaces!

A mentorship program isn’t what happens when members ask other members for advice. That’s just normal, day-to-day coworking goodness. It’s serendipity, friendship, and a sense of belonging. Or community, if you will (see above). 

My best guess as to why this doesn’t happen often is that building and maintaining a functioning mentorship program is incredibly difficult (especially as a free perk). But if you’re up for it, and have the connections and resources to implement one, a true mentorship program can set your space apart. This is especially true if members realize that you’re for real and other “mentorship programs” are just empty one-liners on your competition’s websites.

If you’re not up for building a mentorship program, it’s perfectly fine to expound on the benefits of serendipity in personal and professional life. I’ve experienced a good bit of it myself in coworking spaces all over the world, and so have your members. So talk about it and get members to share their serendipity stories. It’s an honest and powerful benefit of your coworking space.

"Our Members Collaborate"

I've been to some fantastic spaces where members do collaborate. However, this isn’t always the case. Perhaps this might even be rare.

Often what happens is that members show up to work, put their heads down, maybe go to lunch together, chat near the coffee machine, and go home. Yes, in many spaces members will experience a great community, but community is not collaboration.

So when an expectant new member shows up hoping somebody will help her build her startup, nonprofit, art project, or what have you, she could end up disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

I believe that collaboration in spaces is rarer than we’d like because people are busy and usually don't have time to take on risky (and likely free) work.

That said, if you are the exceptional space where members do collaborate like crazy, please provide examples! You can write case studies or do video interviews with members who’ve ended up collaborating. Let them talk about their projects, put it on your blog and display it prominently on your website. When you make a claim about collaboration between members, have a link to the material you’ve produced so prospects can actuallyseethat it’s happening. If you can show them, they’ll believe you, and they’ll be beyond excited to tour your space as soon as possible.

In all the cases presented above, as well as many more, it makes sense to be as honest as you can. In a world where hype is the default, you can and should set yourself apart from the crowd by being ruthlessly honest. Not only will your churn rate stay low, but your marketing will also be oh-so-refreshing to experienced coworkers who are tired of the fluff.

Oh, one last thing. If I didn’t say it enough, showing is better than telling in every case. The exchange rate on a picture (1 = 1,000 words) may not be correct anymore, but it's certainly the right idea.

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