Ryan Chatterton
November 1, 2016
5 min read

How Much Is Too Much: Events, Communication, Systems, and Sacred Cows

More is often better, especially if it means more time, more fun, or more money. But sometimes more becomes too much. That’s when we, as well as our members,and our members become overwhelmed and confused.

Too Many Events

Events are at the core of every coworking space’s marketing plan. If done correctly they can bring in the exact audience you’re trying to target to check out your space in person. It creates an opportunity to present your highly-relevant pitch to a captive audience. It doesn’t get much better than that.

But in many cases, events are disruptive to working community members. Though they may not voice it at the moment, the resentment that comes from being the victim of TME (too many events) builds up quickly, especially for your members that work long or alternative hours.

Are you hosting more than two large evening events per week? Unless you have a dedicated event space, you’re probably committing an act of TME.

Too Much Communication

Especially as a coworking operator, think about how much email you get each day. Email that you feel you hardly have time to read, let alone reply to. It’s the same for your members. They are busy dealing with customers, partners, and investors, as well as their personal lives. The more consolidated and consistent your communication is, the more likely it is to be read.

The information you’re sending out at any given time is only going to be relevant to some of your members. Therefore, every time you send a new communication piece about only one thing you devalue all your other communications.

Did you change another policy regarding the use of the space? Did a cool, last-minute event drop pop onto your radar? Think about adding these to your regular weekly member updates emails or newsletter instead of sending them out as one-off communication pieces. In other words, keep your member announcements, space updates, policy changes, and other communications in one email that is sent out regularly and consistently.

What’s more, don’t fill your emails with information that isn’t highly actionable and relevant. In other words, don’t invent things to put in your newsletter/member email just to fill space. Just as each additional communication diminishes the effectiveness of your overall communication efforts, every other piece of content in an email diminishes the overall value of the email, so drop the fluff.

There's that saying that goes, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I'd alter this to say "if you don't have anything relevant to email, don't email at all." It's entirely okay to skip a week if you have nothing valuable to inform your community about.

Too Many Systems

In the past, spaces were managed with a broad range of disjointed software platforms and human processes to keep everything synced up. Google Calendar, Google Docs, recurring payment processors, paper contracts, email, and a few team members were required just to keep it all going. Some spaces still work this way, much to my dismay.

Not only does this result in much more admin time, but it’s also confusing for members, and it results in a low member adoption rate for each additional tool or system. Nobody wants yet another tool.

This is why we made Habu (shameless plug). Habu manages many of these processes under one lightweight and elegantly designed system. In the future it will handle even more critical tasks for coworking administrators, further consolidating the various systems you’re using to manage your coworking space and community.

But even if you don’t choose Habu as your platform, we implore you to use some form of coworking management software. It’s well worth the initial time and ongoing financial investment, resulting in much lower administrative time and much happier and “stickier” members.

Yes, It's Time to Kill the Sacred Cows

Changing the way you're doing things can be hard, especially when it comes to doing less. We feel like we have to do something all the time. We have to have those events, we have to send those emails, we have to keep our systems the way they are. Wrong. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall." The things you do consistently for their own vain purposes are getting in the way of the truly great work you're capable of pulling off.

So kill some of those sacred cows. It's the only way to make room for the simpler and more effective things in your business.

© 2017, Habu Spaces Ltd.