New research shows that, despite an abundance of co-working space and government-backed business clusters, SMEs are choosing convenience over the benefits gained from working in a collaborative environment. Now, we’re on a mission to make sure Birmingham’s SME community doesn’t fall into the same trap. 

Opus Energy’s recent research into how SMEs use co-working space has provided some interesting – and startling – insights into how owners perceive co-working space. Of those surveyed, only 7% have opted to start their business in so-called ‘business clusters’, whilst just 14% chose the location due to networking or skill-sharing opportunities. Meanwhile, 40% said the location was chosen for convenience, whilst 51% made the decision because it was where they lived.

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The conclusions we can draw from this are twofold: SME owners are choosing convenience over business success, and an inherent fear of competition is keeping them away from co-working spaces. That’s where iHub come in. As providers of high quality co-working space in Birmingham, we think it’s only right that we fly the flag for the humble co-working space, and introduce you to the benefits of working in such an environment.

Hotbed of Innovation

First and foremost, it bears mentioning the melting pot of ideas business owners could find themselves working in. Rather than setting up from the kitchen table, or sequestering themselves away to an expensive, tiny office, owners have the opportunity to be immediately surrounded by individuals who they might not normally have come across.

When exposed to this community every day, co-working space users tend to find themselves being inspired by different industries, sharing new ways of doing things, and offering up their own ideas for discussion. Throw in the supportive relationships you’ll find in a collaborative work space, and it’s much like having your very own diverse support network in the office.

Buy, Sell and Employ

Of course, being surrounded by individuals from different industries isn’t just good for morale and cooking up innovative ideas. Much like any networking event, there’s a room of people on offer to try and sell services to – an immediate well of prospects.

Likewise, other individuals in the co-working space may serve as great suppliers, or bring new and unexpected products and services to the table. In addition, working a collaborative space where similar individuals congregate also opens the business up to a new pool of potential talent, when the time comes to hire. Being open minded to the people who come with the co-working space is, therefore, essential.

Lower Costs

In Opus Energy’s survey, two-fifths stated convenience over every other factor in their location decision-making. In reality, convenience rarely equals affordability, so 40% of respondents are potentially choosing to break the bank for office space, rather than opt for co-working space.

When choosing Birmingham co-working space, there are options available which are both affordable and convenient. Take iHub’s Colmore Gate co-working space in Birmingham’s prestigious Colmore Row area. Improved public transport connectivity and access to the city’s business community has made the area highly convenient to work in, whilst iHub’s reasonable rates have made it affordable too.

Great for Growth

Something that most SMEs have in common is the desire to eventually grow, and co-working space in Birmingham allows that to happen at whatever rate the business needs. That’s thanks to the flexible nature of such a workplace, and the low costs involved, easily allowing for a small team to be nurtured within such an environment.

What’s more, iHub offers office space in addition to co-working space, so when SMEs are ready to grow beyond a collaborative space, they can do so without even leaving the building.

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The team here at iHub feel passionately about Birmingham’s ever-evolving business community, and we want to ensure that SMEs are aware of all the options available to them – and the benefits that come with those options.

For small businesses just starting out, looking to work in a professional, maintained environment without huge start-up costs, we highly recommend co-working space in Birmingham – for all the reasons above, and many more.

If you’re interested in giving Birmingham co-working space a go, but want to find out more first, don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction for your business.

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