Coffee Shops, Coworking, or Open Plan: Your Office Space and You
Like many startups, Gyrosity was forged in the fires of Nashville coffee shops. In the years since, we moved through coworking spaces and into our own office. We found pros and cons for each, and we’d like to share them with you now. To all the fledgeling businesses out there trying to find their perfect fit: this one’s for you.
Gyrosity got its start in cafés around Nashville. Our crew bounced from Portland Brew to Frothy Monkey, occasionally setting up shop in Pinewood Social. Any spot with an electrical outlet and caffeine on tap was fair game for this scrappy group of post-college kids.
Obviously the coffee shop life comes with its difficulties. You feel guilty about taking up space for too much of the day, which compels you to move around town. You also don’t have guaranteed access to the resources that fuel a tech startup: electrical outlets, wifi, and a shared meeting space. On the other hand, your rent costs are $0 (unless you count that $5 whipped mocha frappe)… which is pretty tough to argue with.
Eventually we upgraded to E|SPACES: an affordable coworking office nestled above a local Publix. Picture three employees and three interns huddled together around a high-top table. Our team sat out on the balcony in the summer sun and squinted our way through the workday. We were easily the youngest and most casual group there.
Coworking spaces are a great option for getting your startup off the ground. They vary in the breadth and depth of amenities offered. E|SPACES was a small, quiet location that gave us meeting rooms and a variety of seating options, but we didn’t have a reserved office and the space wasn’t very easy for clients to access. As we took more and more sales-related meetings, we realized it was time to go somewhere with a little more pizzaz.
We made the move to Industrious in the summer of 2016. A larger coworking space, this was truly the big time: glass-walled offices full of our Expo’d plans and scribbles, unlimited snacks, and bagel day. The ladies who ran the office facilitated group activities that encouraged people on the floor to network and bond. These ranged from pumpkin carving to weekly happy hours, and were a welcome break from the hustle and grind of day-to-day startup life. We met countless other entrepreneurs in all stages of business and learned a ton from those relationships.
Those invaluable connections were our biggest gain from the shared office life. We could test the mettle of ideas, create business partnerships, and get advice about everything from finance to hiring — all without leaving our floor.
Open Floor Plan
Eventually we outgrew coworking altogether. Now we’re in the first floor of a historic building on 3rd Avenue, surrounded by exposed brick, wood floors, and high end furnishings. It’s a bit of an adjustment from the two years we spent in Industrious (plot twist: turns out adults have to take out their own trash and also snacks cost money). But we’ve got a couple hundred square feet to call our own and to really focus on growing together as a company. It’s day one in the new office and things are looking bright.
We’ll keep you posted.