COVID Creativity - Coworking House
Owner: Kristin Hardwick
Business Name: Coworking House
Business Website: www.cohonh.com
Location: Milford, NH
SBDC Advisor's Name: Hollis McGuire
First, what is your business? What do you do?
I run the Souhegan Valley's only co-working space, with dedicated desks, shared workspace, private offices, and meeting rooms available on a month-to-month basis. We also foster a community for remote workers and entrepreneurs in the area, with workshops and socialization opportunities.
When the shutdown began, what was the immediate impact on your business?
Our staff (myself) worked remotely, and most of our members also were moved to remote and working from home. We closed to the public but remained open for a few members who were considered essential employees and needed a space with strong wifi for their work.
How were you able to adapt (or not) during the first few months of the pandemic?
We moved to a more “self-directed” model, asking members to handle their own bookings, cleanings, and tech set-up. We did bring on some new members who needed consistent wifi and a quiet workspace when they were forced out of their employers’ buildings. We upped our virtual offerings, including having the SBDC advisors on several workshops, helping our members navigate EIDL, PPP, and other options. We brought in experts to help members craft their marketing messages during the crisis and think of ways they could pivot to survive during this time.
Once businesses were able to open in NH, how did you adapt your business, services, products, and/or physical space?
We re-arranged our building! We moved desks, and we set up more individual seating areas for members to socially distance themselves. We changed some of our private offices from month-to-month rentals to day-to-day offices and hired a cleaning professional to help with the increased janitorial needs. We've also rolled out new membership options: a 10-visit punch pass option, a student coworking membership, and family membership options.
Will you continue the changes and adaptations you have made once concerns over COVID-19 are behind us? Are you planning to institute more changes in the near future?
Yes, we've seen a great need for more flexible day options (like the punch pass), as well as the student memberships. We are looking to find a way to bring small-scale events back and deliver more virtual services to our members.
Are you collaborating with other businesses, municipalities, organizations, etc. for the first time or differently than in the past? If so, in what ways?
We have always collaborated with and appreciated the SBDC, and we're bringing in experts for different topics as members ask for them. Examples would be workshops on Facebook Ads, SEO, etc.
How are you communicating with customers now? Are you marketing in the same ways you were prior to COVID-19?
We are still strongly using social media marketing and email marketing, which has always worked well for us. We lost one of our biggest marketing funnels, which was our active, in-person events calendar.
How has SBDC helped you and your business, especially in the last year?
Oh, how has Hollis McGuire not helped? From offering her time to coach our members through this pandemic, to assist us in filing for EIDL grants, helping brainstorm ways that the community might need to use CoHo now that the world looks very different. We appreciate the SBDC's programs always, but especially during this time.
This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.