Think Outside the Starbucks

Sometime last year I heard about a new “fad” with entrepreneurs, specifically in the biotech industry – incubators and accelerators. At the time, I remember thinking, “Wow, what a neat investment idea.” Too bad I didn’t have the capital myself to invest in this little windfall. Turns out more than just scientists are looking for space to test out their theories. Risk-takers from all walks of life who start developing their business ideas in their apartments or at the local Starbucks need room to breathe. Or at least more wall space.
A colleague once told me about the time when she and her business partner started their consulting business. They took flipchart paper and covered the walls on one side of her three-car garage while preparing for a huge presentation. They ended up winning the bid – and securing a contract with the client. The garage served as a makeshift brainstorming-conference room for the next several months. The year was 1990, and there were no companies around like PivotDesk to help find “shared space.” Most businesses with long-term leases could fill every corner of their property with equipment/employees. The economy was booming then.

Though the 2013 economic outlook is much shakier, we’ve just lived through a period that spawned new enterprises like the world of incubators and accelerators. Check it out. The next time you’re sitting at your favorite coffee place contemplating your imminent million-dollar idea, remember, you don’t need to wallpaper your garage to be successful. With the advancement of technology and the virtual business world, the need for brick and mortar office space is not as necessary as in the old days. Still, it’s nice to know you can find it affordably, if you need it.

But an even greater benefit to sharing space with other start-ups is the people you meet. High-yield collaborations can be a definite advantage – but you won’t meet those people or make those connections sitting at home! Sure, there’s a fee to be paid, but opportunities for success come with the territory. And, I still think it’s a neat idea.