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How to cater for specific sectors as a flexspace operator

Mission Kitchen Covent Garden

We’ve become accustomed to the idea that a workspace means an office space, but not everybody wants or needs the same things from their workspace.

Businesses from varying sectors have entirely different boxes to tick when it comes to the place they work, with implications on everything from their ideal workspace’s amenities to its brand identity.

While businesses in knowledge-first sectors, like finance or marketing, will generally have their needs met by high-quality office space, other companies, like many from the industrial or scientific sectors, need more.

The flexspace market acknowledges this fact, which is why there are a huge range of specialised operators targeting specific segments of the overall market with a tailored space as a service model.

We’re here to talk about why targeting an individual sector with your workspace brand could be a good idea, and how you can go about doing it. But first, here are some examples of other brands doing it well.

Examples of sector-specific flexspace operators

The following operators have all tailored their brand, facilities, and offering to varying degrees to suit a specific sector:

Mission Kitchen is part coworking space, part shared-use commercial kitchen. It’s built from the ground up to support independent food and drink businesses, providing them with both office and kitchen spaces to tackle both the practical and administrative sides of their operations.

The benefits of a membership at Mission Kitchen are also perfectly-suited to the operator’s target market, with flexible access to professional kitchen equipment and a schedule of events and workshops that help the community of food businesses grow closer and collaborate.

Until has sector-specific positioning based on a similar strategy to Mission Kitchen, but targeting professionals in the health and wellness sector instead of food and drink. Membership provides access to a range of facilities including gyms, treatment rooms, and medical settings.

This enables Until members to get flexible access to all of the facilities they need to grow their business without excessive, rigid costs. The operator also promotes community collaboration, which helps each member business grow quicker.

London BioScience Innovation Centre (LBIC) offers a mix of laboratory and office space, both available on highly flexible terms. Their offering is tailored to address the science and biotech sectors, providing a flexible solution to help them get access to the full range of workspaces they need on a day-to-day basis.

And all of the facilities are clustered together in London’s Knowledge Quarter, one of the largest hubs for life science and biotech companies in the UK. This means LBIC is perfectly positioned to address their target sector from the perspective of both their offering and their location.

Centre d’Affaires des Avocats de Paris (CDAAP) is a French workspace operator based in the heart of Paris, with an offering designed to address the legal market and membership available exclusively to qualified lawyers. 

Their provision is tailored to suit their chosen target sector, with soundproof offices to guarantee confidentiality, legal secretarial services available on site, and access to a legal database available as part of the membership.

Techspace have a network of workspaces targeting tech businesses across London and Berlin. Their workspaces are strategically clustered around the key tech business hotspots in these cities, such as Shoreditch in London, perfectly positioning them for their target market.

And their offering at each workspace is also well-tailored, with flexibility, community, and learning at the centre of their ethos. They run a constant programme of events and talks focused around key topics and issues in the tech sector, for example, adding value and keeping their members engaged.

Impact Hub is a workspace operator designed to provide the perfect ecosystem for impact-focused businesses to grow and thrive in. Alongside a global network of collaborative workspaces, they also run a variety of business incubation and acceleration programmes designed to support startups.

This combination makes Impact Hub a compelling choice for businesses with ambitious missions, offering access to support schemes that can help them grow faster. And their focused positioning strategy has itself helped Impact Hub to grow quicker, creating a positive feedback loop.

The Building Society is a coworking operator focused on serving the built environment sector, offering a variety of flexible membership options across two design-led workspaces. However, these workspaces aren’t specialised in terms of facilities, unlike Mission Kitchen’s.

Instead, the operator’s sector focus is represented through their mission to build a like-minded community made up of specialists across the built environment industry. This community is what makes The Building Society attractive in-sector, offering collaboration opportunities and more.

AllBright is, in part, a network of coworking spaces for women in business. But the brand also has a larger purpose – providing a collection of tools and schedule of events designed to empower women to realise their ambitions and achieve business success.

Although this positioning and ethos is gender-specific rather than sector-specific, it’s a great example of how niching down can help you stand out in the workspace market. AllBright has built a strong brand by providing a setting where women can build a network of female business connections.

The argument for targeting a sector

Targeting a specific sector involves building a business around a highly-specific target market and aligning your operations to match their needs. It’s a popular approach in practically all competitive sectors, including flexspace.

Targeting a specific, niche sector as a flexspace operator means that you can tailor your offering, workspace environment, marketing strategy, and more to suit your target market’s needs and preferences.

In other words, you can offer a unique value proposition that sets your brand apart from others. This method of differentiation makes your workspace brand more relevant to the people you’re targeting than other brands that target a broader segment of the market.

As a result, you’re likely to out-compete the less-specialised brands in attracting and retaining customers from your target market. This gives you a unique opportunity to grow fast and provide a great member experience, without having to compete head-to-head with the entire market.

How to target a specific sector with your workspace brand

Competition is already high in the flexible workspace sector, and it’s still increasing. A 2023 market report by Mintel predicts that the number of UK serviced office operators is set to grow at a rate of between 6% and 11% every year, reaching over 5,000 by 2026.

In a sector as competitive as this, niching down to target a specific industry can be instrumental in building long-term success. It allows you to create a highly-specialised offering that acts as a competitive moat, setting your workspaces apart from others.

And there are some simple ways to approach the task of targeting a specific sector, including:

  • Building a focused brand: Your brand helps convey your specialism to your target market, influencing your approach to marketing and more. As you develop your brand strategy, focus on tailoring it around your specific target customers’ preferences.

  • Tailoring features and amenities: Considering the most important features and amenities to customers in your target sector and integrating them in your workspaces helps make sure that you’re meeting their needs, adding to your brand’s unique value proposition.

  • Fostering community growth: Your placemaking strategy should revolve around creating a suitable atmosphere to fuel community growth in your workspaces. Consider methods to foster collaboration and connection, like running a calendar of events or workshops.

If you’re building a sector-specific flexspace or coworking brand and need support as you develop or implement your strategy, Spaces to Places can help. Get in touch with us for a free consultation call to get started!

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