My Best Advice
When I started Arcadia Suites, I did what you’re doing now: read about how other people screwed up so that I could learn from their mistakes. Here’s some of the best advice I found, plus a few tips I learned along the way.
If you have shared space – such as meeting rooms, kitchen area, reception – make sure everyone plays by the same rules. I thought that people would make use of the online room calendar and dishwasher but they don’t, and they won’t, unless you force the issue somehow.
Everywhere are Signs
I didn’t want signs everywhere, but once I put up a “Take Care of Your Dishes” sign, compliance increased dramatically.
Have Good Coffee
I worked for Regus where the coffee was a profit center. Instead, I use it as a draw by serving good quality, locally roasted coffee for free. And be sure to offer good creamer (I get the single serving creamers in plain and vanilla), and offer sugar substitutes.
One of the best features of working in shared space is the built-in community of professionals. Bring donuts, have a cocktail hour, and host a lunch once in a while. Invite your prospects, too.
All-inclusive is Best
If you can, provide the offices with furniture, high-speed wi-fi, utilities, and cleaning services. Tenants should be able to move in and get to work today.
Make it Easy on Yourself
I use Skedda for room booking and Stripe for payments. I set everyone up on a subscription so that I don’t need to think about invoicing everyone; it even attempts to charge them again after 7 days (before the late fee kicks in).
Promote Yourself Efficiently
I use Craigslist. I tried Google Ads, social media, and flyers, but only Craigslist provided me with actual leads.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Always review what you’re doing to see how it can be done better. My large meeting space, for example, doesn’t generate enough money to pay for itself, and it’s a hassle to manage. Do I dump it? We’ll see.