This month Creative Density opened up it’s second location in the Capitol Hill neighborhood just a few blocks away from our first location. For the last year I have been reluctant to expand with a new location, but I finally pulled the trigger last month and I feel pretty darn good about it. I wanted to share my thought process with the rest of the coworking community as we all struggle on if or how we should grow our businesses.
Why I didn’t want to expand:
I am a one man team and two locations will be difficult to manage.
Foot traffic is increasing at 1.0 and I would hate to miss anyone but revenue isn’t strong enough to justify hiring an staffer.
How can I replicate what the culture we’ve created in 1.0?
I helped establish the culture with the founding community members and it’s been an amazing experience with an inviting atmosphere. I won’t be at 2.0 all the time to establish a friendly culture so I worried the new coworking space will have a stale uninviting culture or become a standard vanilla workspace environment (something I fear).
Opening a second location could be a big financial risk.
Creative Density 1.0 took nearly $35,000 back in 2011 and the market in Denver has really heated up making the expenses even higher. I wasn’t ready to take on the financial risks again because I still have some 1.0 debt.
Everyone is growing. I have other exciting and innovative ideas to expand in the coworking world.
I have two project, Colorado Coworking Passport and Powered By Creative Density, that help expand coworking new ways. Both projects have not taken off yet but are showing promise and I would like to dedicate more time to them versus opening a second location.
Why I ultimately opened up Creative Density 2.0
The community had no where to go as they grew.
Since the start of 2014 two coworking members needed to hire help or their company added local coworkers and wanted a more private space. They wanted a culture similar to Creative Density but a space more accommodating and I happily helped them search for a new community. Sadly, neither coworker could find once and they headed to an executive suite without a community because it was their only readily available option. I wanted to help fix that.
I realized/accepted a coworking culture is more than me.
The Creative Density community and brand represent a culture of friendship and support. I’m still a vital part of Creative Density’s culture but I am not the sole torch bearer and it can move forward without my constant presence. Our branding and our reputation screens out many companies that don’t fit our mold of coworking and by setting expectations and by still having a presence, albeit smaller, our culture will be preserved. Our community is the most vital part of our culture, not me, and we are getting good at attracting and developing amazing community members.
I found the right space – size, layout, price, location – to complement 1.0
My amazing real estate friend and coworking fan, Jason Lewis, discovered a 1200 sq. ft. space that is perfect for teams with some coworking space. The space compliments Creative Density 1.0 which is mostly open space by adding a new location with four private offices that accommodate 2 to 5 people, a central gathering area, another room for up to five coworking desks, and a meeting space. It’s small enough to limit my financial risk ($1500 monthly expenses all-in), targets small teams, close enough for me to manage, and has a a space design that encourages interaction.
By having a new space focused on teams and permanent desks the new foot traffic will be low and members won’t need too much poking to get to know the new members.
I found exciting anchor community members to start things off.
Setting up any new coworking community requires amazing people that represent the Creative Density culture. We signed up a great team and individual to be the first anchor members and allowed some current members Creative Density 1.0 to use the space. This gave us the built in community http://hesca.net/phentermine/ that is needed to build a new great coworking community off of.
Marketing and processes are already in place.
Over the last three years Creative Density has developed marketing, onboarding process, and events that make Creative Density run smoothly. This has made me much more efficient and capable to run another small location without much more effort on back-end or marketing fronts.
Pulling the trigger
The real tipping point was finding the right location that complimented 1.0 in a way that allowed us to expand without stretching my time or finances too thin. The space became available, or at least I discovered it, the month after we lost the two members because of their growth. The wound was fresh from not being able to help them out and my motivation to help and serve small teams even more kicked into high gear.