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Share and Share Alike: How Shared Spaces and Electronics Help Startups

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By Townes Haas   |    September 10, 2014   |    9:35 AM

In the business startup world, sharing really is caring

Making it in the business world has traditionally been perceived as a mostly autonomous undertaking. Sure, successful entrepreneurs often have a team that helps them make it to the top, but “making it” can be a lonely, and extremely expensive, endeavor.

Having a dream and the motivation to go after it isn’t always enough. The success of a new business (especially technology-dependent businesses) are often held back by the sheer cost of starting up. From basic office space to expensive technology, getting commerce flowing can be pricy.

Thankfully, that’s all changing.

Shared spaces are making business more affordable than ever

Coworking spaces and virtual offices are becoming increasingly common. Many cities, small and large, boast excellent communal working areas, where numerous small businesses can essentially split the costs of working space and office technology.

It might be prohibitively expensive for a small business owner to stock his own office with computers, printers, conference call equipment, executive meeting space, and everything else that comes with running a business. Virtual offices can provide a much more cost-effective solution to these business essentials. If an entrepreneur needs an assistant, they’ll have to consider added costs of hiring an employee. Benefits, training time, and equipment can add up fast. Sharing the costs of a virtual assistant with other companies makes having extra help feasible… and only when it’s actually needed.

This trend isn’t limited to basic office space, though. Makerspaces are popping up all over the country, and they’re making high-end technology more affordable for smaller startups.

What is a “makerspace”?

Many business owners and entrepreneurs are already familiar with the idea of coworking spaces and virtual offices. They’ve been around for a while and they’re growing in popularity, but makerspaces aren’t quite as common yet.

These technology-rich spots are filled with the hardware and software tools that startups need to make their products. According to NPR, these workshops can bring costs down from $100,000 or more, to a much more reasonable $2,000 - $4,000. This is excellent news for inventors and startups, and the idea is completely revamping how advanced technology can be used and created.

Makerspaces benefit the community, too

There are myriad benefits of shared spaces like technology workshops, and they extend to the community at large, too. For example, some spaces extend benefits to their communities, giving students access to the same tools and resources that startups have access to. Many schools don’t possess the knowledge or means to teach students about the technology trends that are constantly changing, and these makerspaces help bring STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects to a younger audience.

On the opposite end of the age spectrum, these tech workshops are also a great way to educate the workforce about new technology in an ever-changing work environment. By helping to foster an educated population, they’re an excellent addition to a local economy.

Sharing office space and technology is a smart business move

There’s no doubt that splitting the costs of resources is making entrepreneurship more accessible than ever. From sharing office space to sharing the latest innovations in hardware and software, virtual offices and makerspaces are helping to take the sting out of initial startup costs for business owners and inventors. It’s a trend that will likely continue for years to come. 

Tell us about your experiences with coworking or with makerspaces in the comments!

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