GCUC Canada Roundtable Takeaways

By Stormy McBride On November 5, 2020 In GCUC CanadaCOVID-19GCUC Mastermind

Photo of Canadian flags

Our first virtual GCUC Canada roundtable was a success. If you missed it, along with our friends and guest moderator Christine Andrews, we gathered a group of owners and operators alike to discuss “top of the mind” topics. After the roundtable, we broke into small groups where we met our peers to discuss further our businesses and what is keeping us up at night. Attendance was high and we learned a lot.

Here are some juicy highlights from GCUC Mastermind – GCUC Canada Roundtable

We are optimistic about our industry. We are optimistic about our economy. Optimistic about our country. -Christine Andrews, Founder at Acme Workspace & Partner at Deco Group

People want to be together. We will eventually go back to normal because people just want to assemble. –Nancy Fornasiero, Founder & Community Director at Ace Coworking

You got to go down to the individual level and see what they need and want and try to bridge that gap. It’s on going, it’s all about relationships between you and your members, members and each other. So if you can help them grow their business, support their business and bring in the expertise or supporting services that are going to help them that’s always a good thing. -Kevin Whelan. Marketing Consultant at Everspaces

That’s why people are in coworking in the first place. They’re here for flexibility, they’re here for community. Leaning into some of those core values of coworking is something we really tried to do especially when March hit. We helped members on a case by case basis but we also offered blanket discounts for everyone off the bat. Just that can build a general sense of community. We helped them out when they needed it and that’s something you don’t get in a traditional lease environment. –Derreck Martin, Co-Founder & President at East Room

The virus has hit the core of our business. We cannot replace our business with virtual meetings. We tried that and failed especially for those members who need frequent interactions. But we have learned a great deal about people and how they react to certain situations. –Maher Arar, Founder & CEO at Coworkly

We can all agree that 2020 has been a year of reckoning for all of us in so many different ways. One of the ways it’s been most painful and overdue is in the area of diversity and inclusivity. As an industry we have a long way to go before we reflect the diversity of our country and reconcile our history of colonial racism. –Christine Andrews, Founder at Acme Workspace & Partner at Deco Group

Since events are currently off the table we have nurtured our members one on one. It is more work but it accomplished the goal of community. We kept their needs in mind as business owners so remaining as flexible as we could and understanding of cash flow issues has kept members loyal to us even if they haven’t been in the space since March. –Nancy Fornasiero, Founder & Community Director at Ace Coworking

You can’t convince somebody to join coworking and you really shouldn’t even try. Just have the message of we are here when you’re ready and we’re taking extraordinary measures to keep the place clean. We’re here, we’re open, we’re clean, we’re safe, and we have a lot of value adds. –Kevin Whelan. Marketing Consultant at Everspaces

My marketing campaign launched at the same time as a spike in cases and my outreach immediately dropped. There is a direct correlation in marketing and cases. –Christine Andrews, Founder at Acme Workspace & Partner at Deco Group

It’s all about the individual community and building something that your community is going to want. The ones that I’ve seen successfully building community are doing things like introducing people, having a place online to communicate, allowing people to have some sort form of networking. Members can meet people who have opportunities or a place where they can share their challenges and see if they can help one another. –Kevin Whelan. Marketing Consultant at Everspaces

We know human beings long for social connections so eventually this market will rebound. I expect 5 – 10x and the nature of coworking is going to be mostly suburban because people will want to work closer to home. –Maher Arar, Founder & CEO at Coworkly

Fundamentally you have to have rules and it is zero tolerance when it comes to anything like discrimination in any space. We have always tried to be as diverse as possible in our programming. In our membership, we have opportunities for people that aren’t able to get into the space we will comp their membership to give them an opportunity and a safe space to work. –Derreck Martin, Co-Founder & President at East Room

All members are unique. Some join for the community aspect and some members join for a quiet space to be productive. If we knew a member could benefit from being introduced to another member then we do networking on a case by case basis. –Maher Arar, Founder & CEO at Coworkly

We have to admit an important fact; our members are human beings. Obviously, what is dominating their emotions right now is their fear of infection so the old marketing message won’t work because they’re not tuned in right now. There has to be a more direct message about the unhealthy aspect of working from home. –Maher Arar, Founder & CEO at Coworkly

We are lucky to be in an area with diverse people, so we have members with diverse backgrounds. It is part of our fabric. But we are human beings so we make sure to emphasize diversity in our member agreement so that everyone who joins understands this aspect of the space. –Maher Arar, Founder & CEO at Coworkly

Join forces with your fellow coworkers in a specific market and form a collective. Find a way to amplify your voices and your message because we know in the end we don’t compete with each other. Let’s support each other. –Christine Andrews, Founder at Acme Workspace & Partner at Deco Group

You have to shift your strategy of who you’re speaking to when you’re marketing. A lot of people are being driven by fear and in the coworking industry we need to kind of just disregard that fear. If somebody is afraid they’re not going to be coworking. –Nancy Fornasiero, Founder & Community Director at Ace Coworking

Coworking is getting a lot more visibility. The more we can remove risk and give what the current market wants. It’s important to be flexible, be agile, keep evolving with the market. –Kevin Whelan. Marketing Consultant at Everspaces

As always, we want to give a big shout out to our partner who helped make GCUC Mastermind happen. GCUC Mastermind was brought to you in partnership with essensys. A BIG thank you to our sponsors at essensys, CoworkingConvos, allwork, Notadesk, and deskmag – GCUC would not be as juicy without you.

*Some quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

If you missed it, the replay is available on GCUC membership. GCUC Mastermind is a wrap but don’t miss GCUC Online – Cash Flow & Resource Allocation with Jerome Chang of Blankspaces. If you do not already have your ticket, you can snag one here.