Making the “Co-economy” a reality by leveraging Co-working spaces

coworking space

Coaction. Coalition. Coaching…and let’s not forget Communication! These are traits in today’s “co-economy” that are important for making businesses, industries, and entire countries highly efficient and competitive. Today, global, regional, and geographic expansion of offices and workplaces are not the only ways to make the co-economy work. Businesses are now looking to bring employees and partners closer together. And leveraging Howard County coworking space is a great way to harness those complementing synergies and make them work better together.

Co-economy Challenges

Putting the emphasis on “co” is one of the biggest challenges for business leaders and entrepreneurs, especially for fledgling and start-up companies. Whether it’s:

  • Cooperating with individuals with diverse expertise
  • Coordinating critical phases of a project amongst large teams
  • Collaborating with partners from multiple organizations
  • Synchronizing coaction with other partners; or
  • Building consensus in coalitions on large initiatives

…the challenges can often seem insurmountable because you might not have access to the teams, individuals, and specialty skills required – on time, every time. Sometimes, that challenge might also manifest itself in the form of being unable to find an appropriate partner to collaborate in a venture. The issue is more intense when businesses are doing this for the very first time.

Often, for instance, when a procurement challenge arises, and speed is of the essence, you may be unable to cooperate with your engineering partner because of challenges in scheduling a quick session with him/her. A review of your businesses’ financial plan, which is imperative to secure a new round of financing, might be on hold until the financial experts required can find time to assist you. In a coworking environment, many of these challenges cease to exist.

Working in a business incubator setting is one way to address many of the problems illustrated above. Having access to a collocated Howard County office space can ease those challenges to a great degree. When working in such an environment, many of the typical challenges you might face in an archetypal office environment don’t exist. And with a lot of the usual “noise” muffled out of their day-to-day operating world, business leaders are free to dedicate 100% of their time growing and nurturing their teams, and building their business.

coworking office space

Noise that Impacts Co-economy Growth

And that “noise” comes in various shapes and forms. When young businesses lack easy access to the professional connections they need; when they can’t fund or build the minimum infrastructure required to operate; when they don’t have the right in-house skillset to make critical business plans, or take important business decisions – they can succumb to the pressures of “noise”.

Consider these noise challenges that a growing business must confront:

  • A fledgling company struggles to find suitable office space that’s conveniently located
  • Lack of connections to the community they (intend to) serve, and where they operate
  • Dearth of affinity groups, professional, and inter-personal networking
  • Inability to access hotly-contested-for and rare talent
  • Barriers to seeking much needed funding and financing for promising projects
  • Scarcity of professional development and educational resources and opportunities for its leadership and key personal  

The levels of noise, encountered by business trying to establish themselves, varies from entity-to-entity, and from one industry to another. However, these distractions ultimately prevail, stimming business development and, potentially, throttling chances of a successful enterprise. Leveraging Howard County coworking space is one form of “noise cancelling” strategy that many fledgling businesses can adopt.

A Supportive Ecosystem for Innovation

Entrepreneurs and start-up business leaders are typically pressed for time. They also have limited financial and manpower resources to establish the ecosystems required for their businesses to survive and thrive. Building such ecologies from scratch, including buildings, staffing, infrastructure, and technologies, will put considerable strain on their resources. That’s where having likeminded ecosystems pays off.

The advantages that incubators, such as the Maryland Innovation Center, offer to promising business startups are immense. Surrounded by a community that’s dedicated to making businesses succeed, incubating entities receive all the early-stage support they need to take their venture to the next level. This level of access often means that busy executives are less stressed about beating the bushes for various levels of support, and have more time to focus on growing and moving their business forward.

Innovation is another benefit of utilizing office space in Howard County that is located within a thriving ecosystem. This arrangement allows entrepreneurs and their teams to better focus on their innovative work, while offering exclusive access to a myriad of innovative resources and programs. Because such programs are part of the “co-economy” ecosystem found in innovation and incubation centers, business teams spend less time searching, and more time accessing and benefiting from the programs.

startups working together

When you are part of an ecosystem that fuels innovation, and you face a unique business challenge, it’s likely you won’t need to go far to find someone else who has already been through those issues. Innovation incubators make it easier for startup businesses to access like-minded peers, fellow entrepreneurs travelling on the same road, mentors, and advisers. Whether its financial advice, operational insights, legal guidance, or staffing support that’s needed – such support is often available under a single roof, or in proximity.  

Innovative Use of Coworking Ecosystems

Of course, a fully-functional coworking ecosystem is also a core component of innovation centers. And, by collocating key members of an incubating team of entrepreneurs, fledgling businesses benefit from economies of scale. If individual businesses “did their own thing” and acquired or rented office space:

  • They’d be hard pressed to easily find accommodation to house all members of their teams.
  • They’d have to invest the limited amounts of capital they have, and spend it on individual mortgages, leases, and rental arrangements.
  • They’d run into challenges in equipping their individual offices with internet access, communications infrastructure, power, and other amenities of a modern-day office – all of which comes at a cost.

Instead, by using Howard County coworking space, and sharing infrastructure and human resources with other enterprises in the ecosystem, startups can dynamically scale up or down their own operations. Such flexibility would be harder to come by in 100% business-owned, non-coworking environments.

For instance, if you leased 3000-square feet of office space, it’s harder, and more costly, to scale down to 1000-square feet when things aren’t going well for the company, and then ramp back up to 3000-square feet in a few months. Chances are that the office space you vacate will quickly be leased to other tenants, and when you need it most, you’ll need to find additional space elsewhere – potentially away from other core members of your team.

Using a coworking ecosystem means you share common services too, such as lobbies, janitorial and reception services, cafeterias, facility maintenance, and security. Startups using coworking space leverage economies of scale because the costs of such shared services are distributed amongst a larger group of participating entities – not just by a single business.

The owners and operators of coworking spaces continually enhance and upgrade the facilities and infrastructure of their facilities. This means that individual fledgling businesses constantly have access to modern business amenities, without having to finance and fund those services.

The same is true for group meeting spaces, like conference rooms, convention centers, podcast studios, video conferencing facilities, meeting rooms and presentation venues. Building, maintaining, and upgrading these facilities is a costly proposition for most individual startups. On the other side of the equation is the fact that, once built and equipped, venues like convention centers aren’t 100% used or occupied throughout the year.

coworking office spaces for startups in maryland

Yet, even when unused, the individual business continues to pay for such amenities. With shared coworking Howard County office space, businesses don’t need to worry about under-utilized or idle capacity. That’s because, given the nature of shared facilities, it’s more likely that if one business isn’t using those facilities, some other entity in the innovation ecosystem is!

Coordination, Cooperation, Collaboration at its Best

Coworking arrangements bring out the best of the “co-economy”. Because they are self-contained environments, where businesses in various stages of their evolution function, there’s a great degree of collaboration and cooperation that goes on between resident entities. Innovation hubs also provide easier access to supporting services, such as financial advice, operational consulting, and staffing solutions, to support participating co-working businesses.

Having a one-window ecosystem, where all the “c-economy” services and support required by a startup business are collocated, is of immense benefit. This is especially true for early-stage businesses, where entrepreneurs, owners and business leaders don’t necessarily have the expertise or capacity to steer their businesses through its early lifecycle. As such, having in-house access to veteran entrepreneurs, mentors who can counsel and advise, and financial experts that can help vet and fine-tune business plans can ease a lot of the stress.

The task of coordinating and controlling various facets of a business are challenging enough – but pose an especially steep hill for relatively newbie entrepreneurs. But those challenges can be alleviated by using Howard County coworking space. The opportunity to have an entire innovation ecosystem of support can, oftentimes, be a gamechanger for many early-stage startups.


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