After spending most of my adult life working in large corporations, in 2013 I took on the challenge of setting up the local operations for Braintree in the Asia Pacific. I was employee number 1 in the region and my first order of business was to find a suitable place to set up shop.
Like many small business owners and entrepreneurs before me, this was the first time I had to think about things like lighting, electricity, air-conditioning, furniture, and Wi-Fi. On top of that we wanted to find somewhere that aligned with our entrepreneurial spirit and where my future team would feel productive and at ease to do great work.
And we looked at a lot of options. A sea of white-walled corporate offices just felt so disconnected from our brand and the vision we had for our company. We wanted to find a space that was more connected to the community we work in and that would help us build out our network.
Fast forward to today where we’ve found our optimal working model by being part of co-working spaces.
We started our first office in Sydney at Tank Stream Labs, then Blix in Melbourne and you’ll find the Braintree Singapore team, myself included, at The Hub. So, if you ever find yourself in a similar position, here are all the reasons why co-working spaces proved awesome for us and can work as easily for your startup or new venture.
No man is an island
Trying to do business out of your bedroom is a bad idea because you are segregated from the world around you. You may be building from the ground up, but the feeling that you are going at it alone is very real.
A co-working space can help you deal with the many harsh realities of startup life, and you often work harder and with more passion when working with other like-minded professionals. It’s a thriving community where every member is part of a hive, pursuing his or her own business goals while interacting with others for synergy.
What’s more is that a good co-working space doesn’t just rent out desks — it carefully evaluates every applicant to try and ensure a truly good fit. And by creating an ecosystem where this community is able to come together, it aids in connecting startups with venture capitalists, media, lawyers, financiers, and other complementary service providers that can kick start your business.
Hackathons, beer networking nights, coding lessons, e-commerce classes, a great in-house barista, and plenty of open space in which to tirelessly enjoy the sweet aroma of coffee beans, all make up the vibrancy of the co-working community. It is no wonder that 70% of people reported that they felt healthier than they do working in a traditional office setting.
Focus on building your business, not running it
For most startups, a co-working space is a great and cost-effective place to begin with the flexibility to scale as your business grows. You don’t have to be locked down to long leases and you don’t need to worry about high capital expenditure. You can even get a space for a few months without worrying about paying for early termination charges.
A great co-working space comes with everything you need to get your business off the ground and running. All your standard operational costs are shared among other members of the co-working space which means you save on costs. You can also opt for open flexible desks or have small enclosed rooms if you need a place with lock and key.
You get what you give
As part of the co-working collective we have found that it is easy to make great connections and grow your businesses – keeping in mind you get out what you put in. Few things give a better sense of purpose than growing from a solitary company to an active participant in the greater startup community.
Like a virtuous cycle, it sparks another virtuous cycle, in fact 91% of people reported that they have better interactions with others after participating in co-working environments.
The soul of co-working
The growing popularity of co-working spaces has driven a surge of new spaces popping up in recent years.
Globally, the number of co-working spaces has exploded over the last few years. According to the Global Co-working Map the number of co-working spaces has grown from 9,000 seats in 100 cities at the beginning of 2012 to approximately 51,968 seats in 626 cities worldwide.
So there you have it. Get connected, save money, and set yourself up for success. They might not be the right fit for every business, but there’s no arguing that co-working spaces are shaping the startup landscape around the world. Take your time and look around. Because when you find the right one, you’ll know you’re home.
Tyson Hackwood is Braintree’s Head of Asia.
Photo credit: essensys