The future of small business may not be that they continue to emerge and grow, but that their success is based on their connectivity – not through social media or with their customers, but with each other in person, through the places where they hang out and do their work.
That’s the view I’m increasingly coming to, especially after I shared a link on twitter recently to the benefits that coworking creates not for the individual entrepreneur, but for their local communities – with it being ‘retweeted’ by various other people, well over 5,000 people have now become aware of these benefits, so it’s obviously something that people are finding of increasing interest and importance.
(And just to clarify, coworking is where small businesses share a common physical workplace and are looking out for opportunities to not only work together on larger contracts than they’d be able to manage on their own, but also for leads for each others’ business.)
There are some good examples of coworking here in the UK– and they seem to work best when the workspace they share is structured as some form of co-operative. But don’t just take my word for it, check out OpenSpace in Manchester.
As small and ‘micro’ enterprises, we seem to be constantly bombarded with messages about the benefits of being more connected on-line, but I wonder if sometimes we forget just how beneficial it can be for our small businesses to be connected with each other in the ‘real world’…