We're On the Move!

The word's getting out!

Click Workspace is planning a move to new home on Market Street in downtown Northampton in January 2016.  Our larger, more flexible space will allow us to grow the size of our membership, add programming, and increase community partnership opportunities.  We envision a clean, bright space filled with awesome people and ideas! Stay tuned for even more images and info about touring the new space this fall.  In the meantime, here's some information about the key partnerships that are making this move possible (and a sneak peek at the construction):

The Market Street building was purchased in 2015 by Market 9.5 LLC, a Northampton development company, and is being renovated thanks to partnership with local financing organizations Common Capital and Easthampton Savings Bank.

The business loan from Common Capital’s Community First Fund, which was finalized on July 31st, will contribute to construction efforts to bring the 1927 building to 21st century standards.  The fund is used to invest in local businesses, neighborhood rejuvenation and environmental sustainability. “We are delighted to partner with Market9.5 as we continue to support their efforts to incubate small businesses.” says Roberto Nieves, Common Capital’s Business Development Director.

Mary Yun, Manager of Market9.5 LLC notes that, “Market9.5 is committed to having a strong community presence.  With the renovation of the building and addition of tenants like Click Workspace to the neighborhood, our building will provide space and networking opportunities for many small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Tenants of the Market9.5 building will include three Northampton-based professional offices and Click Workspace, a non-profit coworking organization. Click’s space will be designed to offer shared offices, as well as open office space. Members not only share a working environment, supplies, and equipment, they also contribute to a collaborative community to share ideas and knowledge. Conference spaces will be available and events will be open to both Click members and the community at large.

The renovations are expected to be complete in January 2016.  They include making the entire building handicap accessible, upgrades to windows, heating and cooling systems, lighting, fire protection, and providing high-speed internet access.

Interested in a membership in Click's new space?  Contact us!

Coworking for a better you

We were excited to read “Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces” by a group of PhDs from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in the Harvard Business Review.  They confirmed what we here at Click know anecdotally with some real data and then they dug in to identify the reasons behind the numbers.

Here’s the gist:  People who work in coworking spaces are happier and more effective than workers in conventional office settings or those working on their own.

"There seems to be something special about coworking spaces. As researchers who have, for years, studied how employees thrive, we were surprised to discover that people who belong to them report levels of thriving that approach an average of 6 on a 7-point scale. This is at least a point higher than the average for employees who do their jobs in regular offices, and something so unheard of that we had to look at the data again."

The primary reasons they lay out are:
1. People who use coworking spaces see their work as meaningful.  
Many coworkers are freelancers and are able to choose the work they take on.  They opt in to projects and partnerships that suit them.  In a coworking space, people are coming from many different disciplines and job types, meaning that there is less direct competition for acceptance.  And in many coworking spaces, there’s a culture of collaboration, meaning that you’re likely to find answers to your questions by reaching out to your coworking colleagues.

2.  They have more job control. 
We all know that entrepreneurs and sole practitioners work long hours, but coworkers can choose when they work.  Not only that, consultants and freelancers have made themselves the boss.  But, as noted in the article, some structure can be a good thing.  Coming to work in a professional space can help to motivate progress.

3.  They feel part of a community. 
Here at Click, and in many other coworking organizations, we are a community.  We know each other’s names and are willing to share ideas and a laugh now and then.  From day-to-day interactions to our monthly happy hour and lunch hour programming, we offer optional opportunities to network and engage.

Start-Up Strategies That Will Always Work by Helga Moreno

Shocking news: it takes guts to start a company. More than guts, actually.  To be honest, if you’re not running just shy of arrogant, you’re liable to be pretty anxious. Entrepreneurship is hard. The startup business is complex, difficult, and terribly inconsistent. That’s why most marketers are looking for surefire solutions: strategies that never fail.

These are the heaters. The undeniable, irresistible, and indefatigable forces you deploy when a venture absolutely must succeed. Obviously, these are the strategies you implement in every venture you undergo. Following them all but assures a measure of success.

Of course, if they were 100% successful, then every entrepreneur would be a billionaire. Since that’s obviously not the case, where does that leave us? At the stage of implementation. Even the most intricate battle plan won’t survive first contact with the enemy. Success is driven by your ability to improvise within the confines of your strategies. To execute an idea despite resistance. This requires tactical prowess as well as strategic intelligence.

Still, field commanders look to the general for orders, and the initial strategy has to be as fool-proof as possible. And there are indeed some proven effective strategies for start-up success. Since I started working with Template Monster, the company that has transformed from a small start-up into a huge design outfit, I had a lot of opportunities to understand the thinking behind that process.

Compiled here for your consideration are 5 of the most potent principles of start-up strategy. 

1.      Feedback and User Generated Content

No start-up can be successful without customers. The way business is conducted these days requires quite a bit of interactivity between business and consumer. You’ve got to reach out to your target audience, learn about their interests, examine their opinions about your products, and invite them to engage with your content.

Plainly speaking, you need to solicit and record user interactions with your brand. Figuring in customer feedback will:

  • Inform future marketing decisions
  • Discern opportunities for improvement in your services
  • And engender good will among your audience.

A good way to accomplish this is by posting positive user reviews on your website. It gives your customers a voice, shows them that they’re appreciated, and stocks your website with fresh content.

2.      Agents of Influence

Not only will interacting with your audience increase your company’s credibility, but it will get you plenty of attention. In some cases, you’ll get attention from influential members of niche communities. Word of mouth has always been a powerful form of advertising, but a word from the right mouth in social media will put your exposureefforts on steroids.

Reach out to prominent voices within your industry for a review—not hastily mind you. You’ve got to romance an influencer. Go through a business style courtship ritual, if you follow my meaning. Comment on their blog posts, follow them on Twitter, get into some exchanges, and bring the idea of endorsement up slowly. Pay them if you’ve got the money and the inclination, but it can often be unnecessary to go that far.

3.      Fixed Cost Frugality

Notice how everything I mentioned in the first point was pretty cheap? Low overhead is going to be essential to any start-up until it begins to turn a profit. You need to keep your break even as low as possible until you’re not worried about breaking even. That means cutting corners where you can; so long as you don’t sacrifice the quality of your product.

Can your employees work from home? If so, there’s no reason to rent office space. Offer your new hires stock options instead of higher salaries, maximize your marketing budget with social marketing and/or organic search. Store inventory in your garage if you have to. Just make sure you’re stretching the dollar as far as it can go.

4.      Step by Step Advertising

There is literally zero excuse to gamble with your advertising budget. There has never been more in the way of cheap or free advertising, and simultaneously it’s never been easier to track the results of your advertising spend through the use of analytic tools.

So how do you approach the marketing budget in your new start-up?

  • SEO

Begin small. Get the organic search traffic going with SEO. That’s ad hoc advice at this point, but here’s the important part: don’t pay for consulting. It’s a big cost with a low return. Instead, make sure your site is built with a paginated, interlinked structure that’s consistently refreshed with quality content.

Target a couple of keywords per page, but don’t oversaturate at the cost of clarity or flow. And don’t go nuts on link building strategies, they’re getting less effective by the day. Useful links from authoritative sites will come naturally so long as your content is solid.

  • Paid Search

Once you’ve got your site handled, move to paid search ads. Pay close attention to your metrics, and experiment. Paid search is a fickle mistress. Put in the work or she won’t put out. Set relevant keywords, maximum bids, and examine the results. Rinse and repeat weekly, noting the changes you make and the effects the changes have. Straight up scientific method.

  • Affiliates, Email, Etc.

After you’ve found effective strategies for organic and paid search, move on to affiliate marketing. Apply the scientific method again, experiment for successful strategies minimizing cost per customer and maximizing their lifetime value as you go. Next move to email and newsletters. Examine metrics, see what works,and abandon what doesn’t.

Then you move to more expensive and less trackable ads, things like radio or TV.

If you work at one avenue of advertising until you’ve mastered it, you can move to the next higher scaled marketing endeavor with greater confidence and no fear of over extending your resources.

5.      Preparation + Opportunity = ?

If you answered success, congratulations. You are officially familiar with oft-quoted execu-speak. Please, tell me your thoughts on synergy.

Seriously though, all we’re talking about here is planning. Nothing more than exhaustive, extensive, and painstaking planning is the most infallible of all start-up strategies. Start broad with qualitative company goals, and break it down into quantifiable specifics. Estimate the time required to meet these goals and put them on a timetable, and check your progress weekly. Divvy up goals and projects to your employees so that no one has too much on their plate at once (including you).

Base your timetable on an editorial calendar likea content creator might use to organize their blogging with. It’s probably best to keep this calendar on a collaborative web application such as Google Calendar/Docs/Drive or Evernote. During your weekly meetings refer to the specific analytics measuring each goal on your agenda. Evaluate the numbers and come up with new goals, strategies, and what have you as needed.

Simple organization in vision and workflow will be a primary concern for any start-up far into its evolution into a full-fledged corporate entity.

Approaching the strategic planning phase of your start-up is indeed an intimidating proposition. There’s plenty on your plate that you may never have considered before. If, however, you approach the process with an open mind, a heart for adventure, and an elbow willing to apply grease you’ll find it can be fun figuring out the specifics of applying effective business strategies.

The fun really starts when you see the revenue stream thicken up.


This post originated at