I’ve been a broken record for years on the topic of the importance of “finding your members before you even start looking for space” when it comes to opening coworking spaces, but nothing illustrates how powerful it can be than this quote from Joel Bennet of Veel Hoeden in Pella, Iowa on the Google Group. Emphasis mine.
We started our space in a town of 10,000 which is located in a largely agricultural county. The key for us was finding the group of interested mobile workers before launching the space. Get them excited about the opportunity to work together first (possibly through jellies), then start looking at a space to make it official.
He follows up in another response about the tipping point:
We knew our small town was ready for a coworking space when the local coffee shop would no longer hold all the mobile workers trying to work there simultaneously. We had people sharing booth outlets while others strung extension cords across the upstairs loft. It was then that someone said, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a place of our own?” We immediately got to work on finding a space of our own, and in a few short months, opened our space 1/2 block from the coffee shop!
I’d be willing to bet that someone wasn’t Joel.