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Beyond Starbucks: Unique Collaborative Workspaces for Entrepreneurs

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John Meyer
John Meyer (@johnameyer) is Head of Strategic Partnerships/Marketing at The Company Corporation (www.incorporate.com). He is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and connecting them to resources that help them thrive. He is also a political strategist and art collector in his free time.

The_Main_Building,_Philadelphia_Museum_of_ArtOver the past decade, the traditional concept of “on-site” has morphed into “any site” with the advent of technology such as telecommuting. Now, an additional variable is gradually making its way into the workplace equation … off-site collaborative workspaces. Though finding traction is a primary consideration among like-minded entrepreneurs, the concept of working together in a mutually stimulating “non-corporate” environment is an intriguing one. The possibilities are virtually endless for such collaborative endeavors, but to narrow down the choices, here’s a trio of the most obvious, and most attractive, locations for shared workspaces.

Museums

From New York to Philadelphia to Washington DC, every major metropolis has at least one signature museum, and each of those museums seeks revenue through donations, memberships, and pledge drives. Not only do museums provide tranquility and inspiration for visitors, but they also have potential as business partners by providing convenient locations for collaborative workplaces in exchange for commerce. Many of the largest museums have cafes and food courts to compliment their respective exhibition halls, providing wireless access and ample space for business dealings. If a perfect location existed for collaborative efforts, it would be a major city’s museum.

Libraries

Much like museums, exquisite public libraries can be found in every major city, as well as in some smaller locales. Libraries make for ideal collaborative workspaces primarily due to their infinite electronic resources for research, etc. Most libraries feature state-of-the-art computers and related services, so a wide array of business tasks could be conducted easily and effectively. As libraries are publicly funded, the need for economic support is an ongoing challenge, something that hosting collaborative workspaces could address. And think about it … who wouldn’t opt for working together in a quiet library over generic office cubicles?

Designated Co-working Spaces

Though not as aesthetically or culturally appealing as museums and libraries, designated co-working spaces fill a niche. Think of them as business timeshares, where entrepreneurs can congregate, work together, and network in their own element. Practically speaking, designated co-working spaces are purpose-specific fishbowls with captive audiences, all with the potential to learn from, and profit from, each other. Depending on area size and location, co-working spaces also offer financial efficiency by absorbing many proprietary operational costs normally associated with owning/leasing/renting one’s own business location.

Worth Considering

How many times have you been told to get away from your desk or out of the office, as you’re there entirely too much on a given workday? If you’re shaking your head with a knowing smile, then the idea of unique collaborative workspaces merits further investigation and consideration. Not only could a non-traditional location provide renewed inspiration for the participants, but it might also be ideal for crossing paths with like-minded entrepreneurs and future business partners. As always, look at your surroundings and think outside the box … even beyond museums and libraries … then brainstorm locations that would be conducive to collaborative efforts, as well as those offering a fresh alternative to your regular place of business. You might be surprised at what you come up with.

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