A few months ago I read Arik Hanson’s post - 7 tips for working out of coffee shops. I commented on Arik’s post…
Given the increasing popularity of coffee shop workers.. I have always thought it would be a good idea to create a “private” or “urban country club” type of coffee shop. Something in-between a public coffee shop (with no outlets), and a co-working space.
To which Arik Responded:
Great idea. Even if shops just offered a private room, I think that would be a big win (and I know some do).
As a work-at-homer myself, I find myself going to work at a coffee shop at least once a week to get some work done. In Chicago, most coffee shops are packed with telecommuters. Good luck getting a seat, let alone a power outlet! Receiving phone calls and using the bathroom also pose a problem. Do I pack up my computer to leave my seat? Ask the person next to me to watch it? In other words, the current coffee shop environment is not ideal for telecommuters.
Another option for telecommuters that want to work outside of home is co-working spaces. These spaces have become increasing popular over the last couple of years. Here are some Chicago co-working spaces:
I gave this whole co-working thing a try. My biggest problem with it… It feels like work! It’s an office. It’s exactly what I wanted to escape from. I also feel like I need to socialize with people in the work space, and it takes away from my work. I know that a lot of people enjoy the co-working thing, but I have a feeling that I’m not alone here.
As I mentioned in my comment on Arik’s post, I think it would be ideal to have something in between a public coffee shop (like Starbucks), and a co-working space. Call it a “private coffee shop.” I’m not sure exactly how it would work. Maybe a small monthly fee like a 24 hour fitness. Or maybe members actually buy into equity like a private country club. However it would work, it would still feel like a coffee shop, but would be better suited for the telecommuters.
Recently, two “coffee shops” have opened with a business model very similar to what I’m proposing:
The fact that these companies are starting to pop up supports my hypothesis that there is a need in the marketplace for this type of business.
There is also plenty of room for growth in this market. A recent study - The State of Telework in the U.S. found that more than 16 million people already work remotely at least once a month. Based on the historical growth rate reported by WorldatWork (roughly 12% per year), without any acceleration, that number will reach the theoretical maximum of 50 million people by 2018.
Finally.. I have a thought about how somebody could continue to prove the idea before actually jumping in. Create a landing page for the idea, print out some business cards, and start handing them out at busy coffee shops. See how much traction and emails the landing page gets. If you get thousands of emails interested in the concept, we might have something worth pursuing.
So what do you think. Good idea?