Working at home can have its benefits—no commute, quiet, and low overhead—but investing in a membership at a coworking space can be beneficial. Having access and exposure to other business professionals whom you can learn and grow from could jumpstart your business and give you a leg up in the business world. Here are four ways coworking can boost your professional skills:
Learn Negotiation Skills
The ability to negotiate successfully in today’s business climate can be tricky. If you go in with too much confidence, you can price yourself out of a sale. If you go in lacking confidence, you make a deal that undervalues your business. Learning to negotiate can make the difference between success and failure. Having good negotiation skills helps small business owners to develop client relationships that equally value both parties. When you work from a coworking space, you’ll be exposed to people around you with varying business backgrounds. Take the time to network with them and ask them questions about how they have used good negotiation skills to grow their businesses. A great book on better negotiations is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss.
Vet Your Ideas
One of the best ways to grow professionally is through the input of someone not as close to your business as you. When you work alone from home or in a coffee shop, you don’t have the benefit of bouncing ideas and concepts off likeminded business professionals. Sharing your ideas with an objective person gives you feedback that you likely didn’t consider. Since the people you are sharing your ideas with have no skin in the game, they can give you honest constructive criticism on your ideas, concepts, contracts, and more. Being open to honest feedback from fellow professionals is the one of the best ways to grow your business.
Get Branding & Marketing Advice
This goes hand in hand with bouncing ideas and getting feedback. One of the perks of coworking is the mixture of business professionals you’ll find. Often, you’ll find creative and marketing professions on the premise. Get to know these professionals and seek their input, barter services, or hire them directly to help you build and launch your brand. Access to these professionals through your coworking space will give you a decided advantage over other small business owners you may be competing with. Customers buy from brands they know, like, and trust and part of building that rapport with clients starts with building a professional image. Designers on-site can teach you about web and graphic design trends that catch the eye of your prospects while marketing professions on-site can help you understand and leverage the power of email marketing, Facebook advertising, or Google AdWords.
Learn to Give Presentations
When you join a coworking space, chances are the space offers learning opportunities for its members and the community at-large. These events feature speakers who share educational aspects from their business that can benefit any growing business. This is a great opportunity not only to introduce your business to the community within the space and outside it, but to home in your speaking and presentation skills. President Abraham Lincoln said this about the importance of young professionals need to be great public speakers: “Extemporaneous speaking should be practiced and cultivated—It is the lawyer’s avenue to the public—However able and faithful he may be in other respects, people are slow to bring him business, if he cannot make a speech.”
Coworking isn’t just a great way to escape home of the coffee shop for quieter pastures from which to work. If used well, coworking can convert you from a shy business owner into a savvy business professional.