When you run a coworking space, there are a million decisions to make. Every little detail becomes a choice.
Should you install more phone booths or more desks?
Should you focus on attracting freelancers or corporate clients?
Should you advertise with Google or focus your limited resources on search engine optimization?
Very often, the answer is not “both”. Not because you don’t like both options, but because one is often in conflict with the other.
Perhaps the physical space you have is limited so you can’t build more phone booths AND more desks.
Or, your budget is limited, so you can’t spend money on advertising AND do search engine optimization right now.
Or, you want to build more private offices because they are more profitable for you, but your target market is freelancers who can’t afford them.
The list goes on. So what do you do?
You make a trade-off.
All real strategic choices require trade-offs.
You could focus on attracting freelancers AND corporate satellite teams, but the trade-off is you would create an environment that is not ideal for either.
You could build more private offices, but the trade-off would be less room for freelancers—which is fine unless freelancers are your primary source of revenue.
When it comes to marketing, your biggest strategic decision (and trade-off) is deciding who you’re going to serve.
Once you have that part figured out, you get to claim a stake in the sand and proclaim your service to one specific group (or groups).
Your messaging becomes more focused and impactful—and so does your service delivery.
You become absolutely perfect to some and a non-option for others.
That’s the trade-off.
You could, of course, try to avoid making trade-offs. You could simply try to appeal to everyone.
But let me tell you this: that is still a strategic decision, and you’re still making a trade-off.
And unlike other trade-offs, nobody wins. Your space becomes undifferentiated and bland (read: unprofitable longterm).
You are one in a group of many. Your marketing becomes ineffective and you pray and hope that it all works out.
Going into 2019, what trade-offs will you make?
Who are you going to serve better and more distinctly than anyone else?
My advice? Be a category of one, make trade-offs, and everyone who matters (including you) will win.