Using Meanwhile Spaces to Grow Your Business
For years I've run my businesses from my home based office and while I like the peace and quiet it gives me for writing I do fine it a bit limiting at times. Since starting to work out of pop up spaces in the city I've discovered how important it is to break out of the isolation of my home office and to mix it up more with alternative work spaces and practices.

I spend my work time in my home office, at the pop up business centre, in the studio and in my retail space. Each environment encourages different work approaches for both of my businesses.

So I thought I'd share some of my experiences and lessons learnt from using pop up spaces for my businesses - both established and startup.

How to Use Pop Up Spaces to Startup

When you're starting out with a new business keeping costs low and maximising your opportunities is crucial for making it all work. For most of us this means starting up the business at home, creating a home office to run it all from.

While there are loads of benefits from working from home there are also limitations so a creative problem solving approach is needed to deal with the limitations.

A key issue of working from home is the isolation - being away from other like minded entrepreneurs, alone for many hours and the self discipline it takes to be effective in your work hours. I've found mixing up my work spaces to be a great creative solution - letting me have the best of both worlds.

Why Pop Up Spaces Are Great for Startups

Pop up spaces are great for startup businesses because they are:

1. Affordable - with short term licences or leases pop up spaces are affordable and you're not being locked into years of commitment.

2. Ideal for getting you out of the the dining room or garage and into an alternative work environment.

3. Spaces that allow you to connect and share with others who are also excited about what they are doing and finding innovative ways to make it happen.

Make your content marketing work for your business4. Pushing you to to adapt to different environments and this makes your business stronger by you becoming more flexible and responsive.

5. Door openers to new opportunities because you're connecting with a wider audience, doing more new things and putting yourself out there in the spaces you need to be to promote and establish your business.

6. Great for getting media coverage as the media loves contemporary story angels like pop ups. So it is easier to get your well written and presented press release capturing the attention of your target journalists, editors and bloggers.

7. Interesting to talk about as part of your business story and lets you share what you're doing more easily - this is ideal for networking conversations, interviews and sales calls.

8. Opportunities to try before you buy. You can test out the viability of the location for your business as well as your business model to see what's involved in being able to afford a regular commercial lease.

9. Able to give you more space for taking on staff and interns where they can work from both your pop up space as well as their own work spaces.

While you do need an flexible approach to doing business when you're working out of pop up spaces the benefits from these experiences are really rewarding - letting you test your business model, making you more flexible, adaptive and creative in your thinking and seeing opportunities where others don't. The risks involved are the short term nature of your lease and having to find suitable spaces. But this is where the creative problem solving skills get the opportunity to shine.

What are Meanwhile and Pop Up Spaces?

The term "pop up" is also known as "meanwhile" - it's about using untenanted shops, offices, restaurants and commercial spaces for short term projects. The She Inspires Business Centre is an example of commercial office space pop up venue that has been without a tenant for years.

While most pop up spaces are shop fronts the opportunity is there for all types of commercial premises.

Pop up spaces are about bringing to life spaces that are looking for their next long term tenant. Surrounding tenants need the empty spaces to be active and vibrant, bringing in new customers and visitors to the shared space so they can benefit from the increased foot traffic. Empty shop fronts only hurt the other businesses around it. Many smart property owners are now figuring out they can earn money from their empty spaces, keep neighbouring tenants happy and activate the commercial space and precinct by having short term pop up tenants. It's a win/win/win all round. Plus customers love something different and creative.

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