9 BIGGEST BLUNDERS
Maybe among all lists, this one is the most instructive! It’s so good to see how many of you resonated with the lessons we learned during these nine years. We’re glad to share our knowledge with you all!
The story of the 3D printer in the cellar: the opportunity came from one of our members, that they could place a German, industrial size 3D printer to KAPTÁR to use. It seemed like a great plan that designers can just print their designs in house, but it turned out that 3D printing requires so much preparation, test printing, settings and cost that we dropped the idea in the end.
After opening KAPTÁR, we also tried to use the coworking space both for coworking and for events in turns, but back then, it quickly turned out to be a bad idea. That’s why we were very happy when we could finally open our 1st floor space for events and even happier when we could move in to our event space on the other side of the street. What we have not considered though, was that if we are not using the event space also for coworking, then there will be days over a week when it will be totally empty. So, as our coworking business grew further, we decided to change the event space solely into coworking in 2019. By now, it proved to have been a good decision.
Full occupancy instead of cost saving! There is nothing more expensive than an empty space. We just cant save on expenses if we are empty. We did not do much marketing after opening KAPTÁR, we only spent around HUF 600k in our first three years on marketing. We mostly invited people through our existing networks to our events whom we have not followed up with, we did not do much of a follow-up planning back then.
Risk mitigation instead of cost saving! After finding the current premises we managed to agree on quite a reasonable rent, but unfortunately agreed to cover all renovation and fit out costs by ourselves that added to the value of the real estate quite much by now. Takeaway: it’s better to choose a well calculated and predictable structure than to immediately go for lower costs.
Good ideas that finally failed: we planned and entered into a good deal by an exclusive gym close by, that our members could use at a discount price. Than it turned out that most people already had their favourite place or just simply don’t do sports on a regular basis. So, preliminary assessment is always important!
KAPTÁR Shuttle Bus: the same enthusiasm carried us away when we wanted to make commute simpler for our members so that they can avoid public transportation. But before we launched the project with full speed, we did the necessary preliminary survey and assessment that showed that such an internal, private shuttle was too expensive for those who were up for such an option.
We also paid the price of not having any system for the chasing of outstanding payments. Having such ancient skeletons falling out of the closet after 3-4 years made us learn to build up such systems to make our lives easier.
One of our favourite lessons learned was from our member Ákos Tolnai. While we were preparing a new, dedicated offer to a client, he asked, how many of our clients ask us for a dedicated, custom tailored offer. We thought about it and it turned out: very few. So we realized that if you have something that works than it’s better to stick with it and try to find the people who look for the same. Ever since, we find that people mostly look for those service packages that we have listed on our homepage.
And last but not least, the concept that all businesses have to grow fast seems untrue. For years we tried to expand our spaces, looked for and planned new locations near and far. And one thing seems to be true, any separate office where people work together creates its own community. We even see this regarding our two locations across Révay köz. In the end, one community focused coworking office should rather build one strong community than many week ones.