When growing businesses choose to leave a coworking space, you as a coworking space operator can choose how you approach this. You can see it as a loss to you, or as a gain to the community.
This post runs over 5 ways to celebrate this moment for the long-term opportunities it presents for your space, your coworkers, and your local ecosystem.
The situation as a Tetris metaphor.
So, remember Tetris? It’s as if a few simultaneous games of Tetris are constantly being played in the minds of coworking space managers.
As your coworkers’ businesses grow, they take up more and more desks until, in many cases, they eventually outgrow the available workspace. Or sometimes it’s a question of needing to find space to build their own internal cultures.
This is when we get a coworking equivalent of a ‘Tetris Line Clear’.
Once a larger business makes the decision to get their own place, or move from the open-plan space into a private area, there’s suddenly a whole bunch of desks that need filling.
And whilst there’s an understandable pressure to get these desks re-filled ASAP, it can distract you from seizing a tremendous opportunity at generating marketing content, a moment of community celebration and multiplying long-term additional value.
Here’s 5 ideas I hope will help or inspire you to seize this moment.
1. They are forever a graduate business.
You will forever be a part of their success story. Own it.
Share their blog posts, engage with their social media, celebrate their future wins.
It shows true dedication to your mission to empower and enable local businesses.
Who wouldn’t want to work in a community like that?
2. Explore offering alumni plans.
Often these growing businesses will want to stay involved in some way with your community, and your educational programming, social calendar and other activities.
Offering a special-rate alumni/graduate virtual offering (usually at a token price) can be tied to continued access to events, member portals and perks; and is also a great way to keep them involved and engaged in the community.
3. Share their coworking story.
It’s great practice to always conduct exit-interviews with all members who decide to leave your workspace.
When businesses graduate, there’s an opportunity to capture their story, and any way your community had a part to play.
Focussing things on what they loved the most about the space, how the community supported them and what’s next for their business can turn into a beautiful blog post, podcast or other forms of evergreen content.
Not conducting exit interviews? Invite them to guest post on your blog, like Alkaloid Networks did here.
Can’t you see it now? “How <business name> grew from a coworking space in <town name>.”
Excellent SEO and marketing potential already!
4. Inspiring to the aspiring.
Keeping the business close, and following their successes, will keep your relationship strong.
Quite often, companies who benefit from growing inside supportive communities will want to give back to coworking communities.
For example you can invite them in to give a few talks, or lunch and learns, for both members and prospective members.
Not only inspiring to those aspiring to succeed, but also creating glowing live endorsements for your dedication to supporting businesses who do indeed to grow within your community.
5. Measure hyperlocal economic impact.
My final tip is to try and measure the economic impact these businesses were able to create in your neighborhood.
Start with how many jobs the business has created whilst they grew within your space, and the share how many jobs they’ll be opening once they move.
This is a win-win for you and them. You get data points around your space’s local economic impact, and the business gets local exposure for any vacancies and/or their growth story.
Personally, I’d also ask a few questions around the rough average spend of the team per day or week at local eateries, retailers and businesses. It gives you another valuable dataset when discussing collaborations and support from local councils and organizations.
Pro-tip: You can also use Hyperlocal Perks to begin measuring this impact for all your members.