Hello from our new Cheltenham Coworking business developer

I have just started working full-time for George Traning & Development, taking responsibility for developing Cheltenham Coworking CIC, a social enterprise sponsored by George T&D.
I’m very familiar with Cheltenham Coworking CIC, as I have been working on a university placement since January. The placement was a business development role to help improve the membership service. It was in its first year of membership, so it was time to start working on something that could be sustainable and bring in even more members. We came up with the Coworking Passport: a membership card that would allow members to ‘travel’ around town to different coworking friendly venues and receive discounts and benefits, such as a free half day meeting room hire or free refills on coffee.
There was lots of planning that went into this which involved meeting up with venue owners, explaining what we wanted to do and seeing how they’d like to be involved. There was also some market research involved to find out what our members wanted to see offered on the service so we could tailor it to fit their needs in the best way. After this, we managed to get four venues, in addition to Create On The Square, offering their support to Cheltenham Coworking and generously giving our members exclusive benefits. We were really happy with the way the cards came out. They looked really smart and were able to act as an extra piece of promotion, with the hope that other people would see members using these cards and ask what they’re all about. We launched the cards at the Gloucestershire Business Show and were very enthusiastic about the response.
After this success, my placement was over, but I was asked to stay and work full time to continue with everything I was working on and keep improving the service even further. Originally, I had plans for more events and workshops that would get the members more involved with us and one another and so this was something that I was really keen to get started on right away. I wanted to encourage more engagement from the members as this is something I found slightly difficult to get before the business show, so I wanted to show the new members that we are actively working on projects to help them in even more ways.
We decided that it would be good to have an entire day dedicated to our members and to coworking, as this would hopefully be convenient for members especially for those who work from home so they could get out for the whole day. We have come up with Coworking Wednesdays, which we can hopefully implement in the coming weeks, which will allow for different opportunities throughout the day. Our plan is to start the day with a social brunch that we can also incorporate our surplus food project into, where members can come along, eat and drink, and chat with us and other members. After this, the afternoon will be free for members to work in whichever way they please; either on their own, with one another, or with us. Finally, the day will end with Wednesday Workshops: a training session that teaches the basics of business planning and growth. The workshops offer a different topic each week and allow visitors to learn new skills. Not only are they good for the members, but while I’m still learning my job it’s really good for me to get new perspectives on ways of thinking and improving everything I’m doing.
As part of the service we offer the option for members to use Create on the Square as a registered office address as well as getting their mail delivered here for collection. I feel this is something that is not being utilised as much as I’d like it to be and so have begun devising a policy for this so members have a clearer understanding on exactly what this involves. We’d also like to expand our mail service to include mail forwarding, and so I am looking into the logistics of these type of services and how we can best run this. I feel this is a good extra option to offer our members and adds another point to our ever-growing list of benefits. Registering a business allows the owner to have their company name and logo displayed at Create. I’d really like to promote this service because I feel having a range of different company details displayed at Create shows a sense of community and collaboration and that’s what we’re all about.
Looking forward to the future, my aims for the year are to have around 100 members from all walks of life and business sectors, as well as having around 10-15 venues on our passport who offer a range of different facilities to suit all needs. I’d like to target newer venues as I feel it’s good to get involved with these places from the start, helping both us and our members, as well as helping them with extra promotion and growth in their early days. Finally, I’d like to see different events happening every week, with a variety of choice, from networking workshops to social evenings, and would in particular like to see members hosting their own sessions on a regular basis. There are new opportunities popping up every day and we’re always coming up with new ideas, and so I am excited to see what the future of Cheltenham Coworking brings!