Offering trials as a Co-Working space is the same as offering free fruit for kids in Woolies. As a business you want to offer something to entice new clientele or at least make their experience with you as a business enjoyable, and by adopting certain initiatives it is……………..until people take advantage of it.
I was raised in a world where we left money on top of milk bottles out the front of our house, ok yes I and every other kid on the block had a crack at stealing said milk money but rarely was it more than once as you knew that the consequences of being found out was you pretty much choosing your resting place. Store keepers gave you a sweet if you were good in the shop for mum or dad, it was a generation where taking the piss just wasn’t a thing. You appreciated anything you got from a business that went above and beyond.
Fast forward to a whole new world we are now living in where we now expect something for free. There are few opportunities to be taken aback by business generosity or loyalty to you as a customer as we are the first to put our hand out for more more more. As a business owner it seems that thinking outside of the box is now a business category.
Thinking outside of the box
When the trend of Co-Working spaces took off someone decided to offer free trials and from there that model just stuck with each new startup enterprise adopting the same familiar model.
Well i’ve decided to be bold and stomp out free trials all together and i’ll tell you why.
Free trials were designed to give you the opportunity to test out the vibe of the place before you committed and threw money down. And I’m sure for most, it was used in the way it was designed. However we then saw the birth of the serial Co-Worker. For some unscrupulous folk they saw the free trials as an opportunity to spruk their products and services to a new crowd of unsuspecting business owners.
When The Space Noosa offered free trials this included a coffee and of course we each put effort into this new potential member as we are always eager to genuinely grow our crew as we each see the benefit of working alongside varied industries and what it can do for your own business.
The morning would start like this:
Me: “Look alive people we have a fresh one coming in.”
Members: “Ohhhh how exciting”
Me: “Pretend you love the place and be welcoming and friendly (said in stern school teacher like voice)”
Members: “Laughter in unison as they each knew how important new members were for the longevity of the business and also got excited at the prospect of new characters to add to our high vibe of individual business owners.”
So a new potential member arrives on a free trial and we each at our own pace set out to make the new potential member feel welcome and comfortable. Time and effort goes into getting to know more about them as we have never just been a “bum on a seat” space, Some exchange social handles and even buy coffee for them. The trial as always was a success in our eyes of making the new potential member feel welcome as this is one of our biggest attributes as a space and contributes to the amazing vibe you feel when you walk through our doors.
As a business owner that has been running the space for 5 years now I have this intuitive knack of clocking who is just in here to use the Free Trial system, abuse our wifi, enjoy the hospitality and free printing with no intention of signing up. However I aways test my intuitive skills and dont alter the friendly service at all as Im also up for being wrong, however after a while I was 99% coming up right.
Not only was it time and effort required on my part, but I was now also seeing the time and effort that my existing members were putting in which was taking them away from being productive and expanding their energy when they didnt need to for a hope that we just might get a new member on board. What I came to realise is that Free Trials are there to get a feel of the vibe of the space where you potentially might spend 30 hours a week at, its an important aspect to suss out, however our Value Propisition is OUR VIBE. You can feel this when you walk in the doors, you dont actually need to spend 8 hours on site, its an instant feelign you get when you walk in through our doors and although its hard to sell something intangible I realised that we actually dont need to offer Free Trials. To get a feel for the place and the people is something that can be acquired by a simple walk through. Still not sure then we offer day passes and hourly rates in blocks of 10. Its like the old saying, you have 10 consistent people at your table every week for dinner yet here you are every week out on the street looking for more to add.
For me the focus is all about looking after my existing members and making sure I’m providing all the opportunities for them to be as productive as possible and not interrupting their day. By asking them to make a serial Co-Worker feel welcome was a huge interruption. The amazing energy and high vibe welcome needs to be saved for the new members who are committed to giving their business everything it needs to be successful and a bloody good Co-Working space is part of the recipe for success.