Is coworking space right for your small business?

Leasing a co-working space can be a powerful tool for your small business, keeping your costs down, broadening your professional network, and simplifying your taxes.

What are co-working spaces?
Co-working spaces are far more than just offices shared by several startups and small businesses.  They are powerful collaborative communities that leverage shared office facilities, private spaces, and pooled professional resources to help all co-workers achieve maximum efficiency.

What are some advantages and disadvantages of co-working spaces?
Co-working spaces provide many advantages for startups and small businesses.
1. Cost-savings: sharing office space allows you to share expenses, which minimizes costs and gives you access to superior facilities that you could not have otherwise afforded.
2. Flexibility: a co-working arrangement is much easier to get out of than is a standard lease, and this gives you the mobility to expand or relocate your business without the headache and expense of breaking a lease.
3. Simplified taxes: it is much easier to deduct co-working expenses than “home office” expenses, the relevant laws and regulations are far less complex, and the deductions are less likely to elicit an audit.
4. Enhanced professional network: perhaps the greatest advantage of a co-working space is the close proximity to other like-minded entrepreneurs. By offering advice, and by sharing insight gleaned from experience, you and your co-workers can create a dynamic, fruitful, and mutually-beneficial work environment.

Co-working spaces also have their obvious disadvantages. There can be a lack of privacy, the cultures of different startups may not be entirely compatible, and there will likely be a steady stream of unfamiliar faces appearing in the office, making security a concern. It is up to you to decide whether or not the benefits outweigh the potential disadvantages.

How can you find a co-working space?
The Internet is a great place to start. Sites like Deskwanted, ShareDesk, and SharedOfficeSpace.com are excellent resources.  But perhaps the best way to find co-working spaces is personal referrals. Leveraging the valuable insight of someone you know and trust, you can find a co-working space that can help propel your small business to the next level.

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