We’ve seen it happen in the past year – the co-working space fever. Everyone wanted to build their co-working spaces and to be the next WeWork. It was reported that there were 36 co-working spaces in Kuala Lumpur last year alone, and it won’t surprise anyone if the number doubles this year. While everyone is fighting over whose co-working space has the most facilities or who has the most outlets, co-founder Timothy Tiah’s plan for Colony is to be the most profitable one.
1. Colony aims to change the experience of work
We aren’t talking about bean bags and pool tables, but one with warmth. Colony’s goal is to be like a home rather than the common fluorescent-lit office. Notably, warmth isn’t just generated by changing the lighting or the design of the space; it is the people that count. At Colony, it seeks to foster a familial feeling and that it will always be there for tenants. “This is what we want to replicate at Colony – to have a team of people who are looking out for your every need. That’s something you’ll never get in the traditional office,” Timothy says.
2. Colony has bigger dreams
Most co-working spaces take cue from the WeWork’s business model of building a networking community, whereas Colony does the opposite – it targets large multinational companies that need special project offices. By going after a different clientele, as opposed to freelancers and startup entrepreneurs, Colony was able to launch its second co-working space in KL Eco City six months after opening its first co-working space. “To be honest, I had expected to sit on this location for at least a year before I opened another. But it broke even quicker than expected,” Timothy shares.
3. Colony wants to be the St. Regis of co-working spaces
The co-working space industry as well as the serviced office industry is a competitive one. And Colony is not only up against the WeWorks of this world, but also big guns like the Regus and Servcorp. What is more challenging is that these companies are also on the expansion. They are very well-run companies, managed by very capable management teams and armed with huge war chests. Which is why Timothy’s approach is to ensure that each new location that he decides to set up is an event on its own.
4. Colony is sustainable
The thing about co-working spaces is the short-term lease. One thing that many aspiring business owners neglect is that the demand for co-working spaces isn’t always instantaneous like craving for a cuppa. In fact, not everyone needs a space right this second. Some may need it now, others may need it next month or some may even be in the next year. Hence the take-up rate is a gradual process, and it is naive to think the occupancy rate can reach 100 percent within a few months of launch. Some entrepreneurs look to fill up the seats by giving away free seats or at heavy discounts to attract potential tenants, before raising rentals in search of profitability. That is a temptation Timothy has resisted.
Instead, Timothy’s strategy is to make sure their product is top notch and priced to reflect that. For example, Colony is designed to impress and located in a prime location. It also places a huge focus on service and hospitality. “Every space is nice so it is not enough to have a nice co-working space,” Timothy sums it up.
Photo Credits : Colony.Work