When you work in a shared office space, you have a natural advantage that you should use to its fullest: You’re surrounded by other professionals and business owners who could become valuable business contacts—or even partners or clients. How can you maximize the opportunities of working in a shared office environment without being too pushy? Try these tips.
1. Start Slow
Get to know others in your shared office space. Start with those who are regularly there during your same business hours. Be friendly and engage in conversation to learn what they do and get a sense of their personalities.
2. Expand Your Circle
Once you’ve gotten to know some of your neighbors, cast a wider net to learn about the business people you may not see that often because they come in infrequently or work different hours. Ask the people you’ve met about others who work there or consult a tenant list to see what types of businesses are in the offices.
3. Be a Giver
Be ready and willing when other tenants in your shared office ask for advice or help. Often something that seems obvious to you may not be obvious to someone else, so one simple tip can be all they need to boost their business.
4. Think Different
One benefit of a shared office space is you’re likely to meet entrepreneurs in many different industries. Instead of writing someone off because you can’t see how a relationship would possibly benefit your business, think about creative ways you could learn from them, work with them or get referrals from them.
5. Give Referrals
Get contact information for your co-tenants, explaining that you’d love to be able to refer friends and colleagues to their businesses. (First, make sure you know enough about the person and their business acumen that you feel comfortable vouching for them.) They’ll naturally want to do the same for you (have business cards at the ready). Since referrals are one of the best ways to build business, this step alone can really multiply your sales.
6. Start a Group
Consider launching a little networking group for members of the shared office space. This could be based on common industries (like a networking group for all the tech companies), common demographics (like women business owners) or common goals (like a leads club to generate sales). Since you’re all in the same space already, holding a quick bi-weekly or monthly meeting in the conference room is easy to do. You could even invite outside business people to come and speak to your group on topics such as marketing, getting loans or hiring—whatever will help your and your co-tenants’ businesses grow.
Taking the initiative to reach out to your office neighbors can result in growth for your business, whether that be new customers, or gained knowledge about the business world. These can end up being relationships that will last and serve you well down the road.
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