My Favorite Coworking Things: Cobot and Zapier Integrations

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Zapier and Cobot high-fiving… only via the internet… and at night while I’m asleep.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Cobot coworking management software platform. Somewhere around my third year of running a coworking space, I tore a small chunk of my hair out by the roots as I sorted through some sticky notes and google sheets trying desperately to figure out if member x paid a prorated amount back in December or if I owed them money for some reason.

I was DONE. Even with a modest 30 members, I couldn’t keep track of everything. Rather than throw in the towel (laptop), I tried a Cobot trial month and it changed my life.

I love Cobot because it makes me efficient on tasks I DON’T NEED TO BE PRESENT FOR and gives our now 62 members stability. They always know what to expect from payment and how to reserve a conference room. I’ve become a bit of a Cobot power user as of late and boosted my efficiency by integrating Cobot and Zapier to automate even more tasks in my coworking space. Cobot asked me to tell you about the zaps I like best.

By far and away, automating the new member welcome email has changed my life. I no longer have to remember if member x got the door code or if member y will know where to park on her first day. All that data is in the welcome email. Zapier “watches” my Cobot and every time there is a new member, Zapier sends my gmail template email to the new member at midnight on their first day of membership. I love the consistency in experience that each new member gets from this integration.

Zapier Task History

A couple month’s worth of automating the new member email.

My second favorite integration is automatically adding new members into our slack chat room. It’s like a little instant gratification ping for a brand new member to instantly find themselves in our digital sharing/joke world.

My third favorite integration is adding new members to a google sheet where we mainly keep track of our capacity and when peoples’ birthdays are. My goal for this quarter is to reverse this process and delete cancelled members from that same spreadsheet to save even a little more time.

When it comes to Zapier and Cobot, I’m sure you can think of at least one task you can automate that will have no impact on the strength and sense of connection in your community. Between Cohere and Cohere Bandwidth I have nine “Zaps” automating anywhere from 10-50 work tasks a week. I always feel smug when Zapier sends this out:

Zapier weekly tasks

Zapier did 49 things for me this week.

Here are some more examples or you can find them yourself at http://zapier.com and then type Cobot into the search bar.

Zapier Popular Cobot Zaps

Some of the most popular Cobot integrations with Zapier.

Unsolicited Advice for Displaced Galvanize Coworkers

So your coworking space is closing. That super sucks. You’re all entrepreneurs and self starters: problem solvers of the quickest kind. I’m hear to say to you STOP. Do not take action on a lease right now.

I’ve been working on coworking and community in Fort Collins and around the world since 2009. That’s three years before Galvanize incorporated for its first space. At the time of Galvanize’s closing, Cohere was/is on a wait list for membership. I think I’m worth listening to…at least when it comes to coworking in Fort Collins.

Please Hold

I was on hold with Comcast but I use this photo every time I want to indicate that I am exasperated.

Do not make decisions right now.

You’ve had a big crushing blow to your heads when it comes to office space. The great news is, you can office from literally anywhere these days. You could invite your employees into your living room and probably get in a solid day of work. A small gap in well-equipped office space is not a crisis. Spaceships won’t fall out of orbit. DO. NOT. MAKE. DECISIONS. RIGHT. NOW.

All the displaced coworkers need to take a collective deep breath and process what the fuck happened in your spaces and communities. Because you didn’t own the space, you might not understand why your space is closing. On paper, your space closed due to lack of money. In my mind, your space closed due to lack of community and an overzealous interpretation of the market research about how many people wanted to pay $26,000 to learn how to code. The fact that you didn’t know your space was closing until you got the announcement is proof that your space lacked one of the key values of coworking: transparency.

Do not sign a lease and especially don’t try to keep the Galvanize lease.

That Galvanize building will be one of THE most expensive buildings in Old Town. You don’t spend a few million on a renovation and thousand dollar desks to cut a great deal to the poor displaced members. That space has NOTHING to do with Galvanize’s success or failure. Okay, I’ll admit it was absurdly expensive but the space didn’t do much to foster community. At all. Don’t even get me started on the caste system of placing people on higher levels based on how much they could afford. Ugh.

If you love your current startup or business, you will hate being a Community Manager.

I bet you want to start your own coworking space. I bet that feels easy since you’ve been a member of one for a little while. Being a member of a space and running a space are really different. It took me TWO full time years to get Cohere off the ground. Even now, I have a small army of part time people to help me attend to all the details of our relatively small community. If you don’t want to abandon your other job, do NOT start a coworking space. Also, there is far less money in coworking than you might think.

Explore your existing coworking options first.

There are at least three shared spaces in Fort Collins that are not at capacity. Please give those a chance before trying to start your own. The Articulate, Digital Workshop Center, and Office Evolution. The fact that you were all in the same world (startup and tech) is actually a disservice to your companies. You’ll grow more when surrounded by people in different stages of growth including those people who have dialed in their businesses and are NOT in startup mode as well as the freelancers that are keeping everyone’s small businesses afloat.

cohere-member-wallHire me so you can have ^^ this many friends in your coworking space.

You don’t have to do this alone. I will encourage and teach you how to engage your budding community before you sign a lease so we don’t have to read about your closure in 18 months. Email me right away to get my $500 one-on-one consulting package. It even includes math worksheets and realistic member growth rates! There’s also another compelling reason to email me right now but it’s a secret until January 1.

 

 

If You Don’t Have These 7 Types of Members, Your Coworking Space Will Fail

It takes all kinds of people to make a coworking space go ’round. Does your coworking community have all SEVEN  types of critical members? If not, you better manifest them in a hurry!

  1. The Connector: Forget 7 degrees of separation. This person probably had lunch with Kevin Bacon yesterday. Your super connectors take pleasure in connecting two people together on a theme. The more bizarre or remote the connection, the greater the thrill for a connector. Question you are most likely to be asking a Connector, “do you know anyone who (jumps rope while singing, used to work at that one company that was over on Riverside?)…..??”
  2. The Attentive: This member knows a little bit about any topic. You’ll find them frequently scrolling social media platforms and reading a wide variety of headlines (they probably don’t read the actual article). That thing you mentioned about baby pigs in passing? She stored it for later use. An Attentive makes a wonderful community manager because she remembers all the small details about members (and who hates coconut on their donuts). Question you are most likely to be asking an Attentive, “Hey, do you know anything about LED bulbs/composting/SEO/best chocolate….?”2015-06-26 17.05.52-1 (1)
  3. The Sarcastic: The eyeroll and upside down face emojis are this member’s best friend. They are extra quick with the quips. Any new member who can survive a day coworking next to Mr. Sarcasm will be a member for life.
    Notable: The Sarcastic usually pairs well with a Counselor (if you’ve got one in your space).
  4. The Extrovert: You don’t need very many extroverts to make a coworking space work. In fact, I recommend a max of 3 and never in the same room at the same time unless you like to hear 3 people talking at the same time all day. Your Extroverts are perfect for social events and getting conversations started. Disclosure: I’m an extrovert and banned from our quiet coworking areas.
    Question you are most likely asking the Extrovert: invalid. They will ask YOU the questions.
  5. The Caretaker: Sometimes referred to as a “Work Spouse,” this person attends to the earthly tasks of the space. Taking out trash, changing lightbulbs and tightening door handles all come with the territory. Some Caretakers actually enjoy this (mindless) work as a way to take a break from the hardcore analysis/thinking of their day job.
    Statement the Caretaker is most often telling you, ”people aren’t washing their dishes again.”
  6. The Empath: It’s hard to find an empath that can actually function in a coworking space for long periods of time since they can be quite drained by being around a lot of people all day. If you are lucky enough to have an Empath, love them hard while they are there. The Empath will sooth nerves and validate the other members’ emotions. They’ll see your soul with merely a glance and are easy to talk to.
    Question the Empath is asking you: they will ask you about the thing you least want to talk about at that moment but you need to.
  7. The Catastrophizer: Arguably my favorite type of member, the sky is always falling. Changing a lightbulb? According to the Catastrophizer, you’ll probably drop it, it’ll shatter and we’ll all inhale some carcinogen. Launching a business? This is the member to buy a six pack for and let him run down all the ways you’ll be homeless by next Tuesday if you do anything. The Catastrophizer is great with safety checks, emergency plans and alerting someone when the toilet paper is low.

Do you have all seven types? What other types would you add?

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How to F^ck Up Your Second Coworking Location

angel gcuc speaker

I recently got invited to present FAILURE at the Global Coworking Unconference Conference in Toronto, Canada. I take spectacular pride in my ability to fail with flourish and since the GCUC crowd always likes a good train wreck among stories of 43 Billion Dollar valuations and epic expansion stories, I indulge them. Below is the narrative of the failure and here is a link to my slides.

 

falling down

https://www.flickr.com/photos/felixtsao/4909753834/

Near the end of 2013, 4 years after Cohere hit the coworking scene in Old Town Fort Collins, I had to start turning away would-be members. We were full, things were great. So naturally, I would make a series of unfortunate mistakes that would lead to the 2nd space’s death in early 2015.

To be clear, I did SOME of the things right. In fact, all early indicators would point to Cohere’s second location being a raving success.  Here’s what went right:

  • I had a wait-list of members who wanted to join Cohere.
  • Cohere was nearing auto-pilot. Systems helped manage the behind the scenes tasks, 3 members had a strong hold on the day to day in the space and I was getting bored.
  • I selected a location that was near to OG Cohere but further south in an up-and-coming neighborhood called Midtown where rents were still affordable and the housing market was blowing up in all the right ways.
  • I took many, many members through the building pre-lease and they steered me away from one suite into 3 other suites they were much more excited about.
  • The members lovingly name it Cothere. It sticks. It’s perfect.
  • Natural light, windows, trees and parking were in abundance.
  • After we got into the space, the Coherians partied to clean up the parking lot and build furniture. It was spectacular fun and had all the trapping us Veterans look for in budding communities.
  • I paint everything, repair broken door knobs and make our entrances more safe. I pour all my love into this physical thing that will allow Cothere to grow and flourish.
  • I met and offered up our space after hours to our brand new Girl Develop It chapter. We love each other so much.

Things start to take a turn for the worse:

The landlords fail to make improvements to Cothere that are in my lease: working windows, safe stairs for our private entrance (my mother-in-law almost falls 2 stories after the railing breaks away during move-in) and cleanliness issues in the common area start to clog my inbox

And A LOT worse:

  • Nearly every day, concerns about lack of health and safety in our parking lots and common area restrooms begin to flood in.
  • My repeated requests for help from the landlords are met with either silence or passive aggressive notes in the common-area bathroom saying, “PLEASE KEEP THIS RESTROOM CLEAN!!!”
  • I become mortified when new members ask where the restroom is. The members say, “this building is dicey but Cothere’s areas are NICE!”
  • I spend 3 hours cleaning bathrooms just to prove to myself that I’m right about how dirty the bathrooms are. I am right. I get pneumonia 5 days later.
  • The restrooms are dirty again. ALL. THE. TIME.  I have to explain WHY we need more toilet paper. Sarcasm floods through my veins. “We have explosive diarrhea!” “All the women are synced up this week!!” “We are STEALING it because we are terrible people!!”

Piper

The last straw:

  • The landlords tell me in an email that goes out to all the other tenants of their building, “you don’t pay enough to have the right to complain.”

I check out. I resent the space. I no longer care about it. I do the bare minimum that an office space rental agency does. Paper towels? Check. Vacuumed? Check. Coffee? Check.

I bring on a friend to help the Cothere community and she tries really hard but we are broken. Midtown is broken, the gross restrooms are broken, our parking lot is an ice skating rink in winter and a mixed-media nightmare of dead squirrels and fallen tree limbs in summer. I refuse to pay more for basic tenant rights.

I stop coworking at Cothere. I repeat. I STOPPED COWORKING AT COTHERE. <—-really important warning sign

I spend all my time at Old Town Cohere. I breathe a sigh of relief every time I cross the threshhold and see the man that takes care of our lawn. I run into the landlord and he inquires about my well-being and asks if everything is okay in the building. He compliments Cohere, the members and how proud they are to have us as tenants. They are always a text away. Quick to fix and utterly un-involved in our day-to-day ops.

I get out of my lease free and clear on their breach of contract. After an extremely polite email exchange requesting the termination of my lease and having them agree, I feel this:

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Down from a high of 20 members, the 3 remaining Cothere members join Cohere and love it. Just. Love It. “It’s so happy here!” “Everyone talks to me!” “I thought I wouldn’t like Old Town but I DO!” Several private office members at Cothere REMAIN in Cothere’s space after we leave. <—-this blows my mind.

So Really. WHAT went wrong?

As a veteran of the coworking community, I was raised up to always put the people first and see the physical space as a useful container that merely facilitates connections between people. Sure, I always made sure that Cohere’s container was lovely, cared-for and well-tended but none of my spaces until Cothere had ever existed inside a larger shell of a bigger building that I had no control over.

I began to think like a member as I approached the larger shell of Cothere’s space. Unkempt parking lot, dead bugs and leaves in the lobby, outdated decor in all the wrong ways, a soul-less, colorless hallway and then finally, the mecca of entering Cothere’s suites.

But sometimes the journey to mecca is just too far.

Post-hoc, I realize that Cohere has a really important value as a company and as a community that I had never said out loud, never consciously thought about and never wrote about. And this value includes the entirety of our physical container from the grounds around the building, to the entryways and all the way to the inner sanctum of our coworking areas.

To BElong to Cohere you must BE eager to help everyone feel proud of our space and the people in it.

Because Old Town Cohere has always had a loving landlord (we actually call him the Innkeeper) who tended to our grounds and common areas we had never truly felt the pain of a building owner who literally could not hold our container with positive regard. That, in turn, caused me to spend all of my Cothere energy trying to help the landlord learn how to hold the container that held US! He made it clear that he couldn’t hold the container. Won’t. Wouldn’t even pick it up and try.

As the community manager, I had nothing left to give the people of Cothere. My usual zest for connection and energy to give and listen was tapped out. My arms, my heart, my brain, were overwhelmed by TRYING to figure out how hold a container that didn’t actually belong to me. To us.

After asking the members what I should do about Cothere, all but one say a version of this, “we’ll follow you where ever you take Cohere (as long as it’s not in THAT building). Do what is best for you.” So I laid down the container. Permanently. After 14 months I gleefully get out of my lease and bring everyone back together at Cohere. The community is overjoyed that the saga is concluded.

As if the universe was bulging with abundance while it waited for me to sort out my shit, its fabric rips open and pours forth a rush of people who want to join Cohere. Tours are joyous again, filled with people and introductions and I don’t have to make excuses for the common areas. Each day we border on being full. Full of members, full of laughter and connectedness, donuts and lunches out together.

Cohere Social Event Hotdogs

A hot dog potluck marks the closure of Cothere and the revitalization of Frank Friday

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I immediately refine and add our values to our membership page:

BE yearning for interaction

BE willing to introduce yourself, make friends and help

BE ready to participate in impromptu and planned events

BE eager to help everyone feel proud of our space and the people in it

BE prepared for abundance (work, laughter, goodwill, and more)

Key Learnings

When considering expansion, don’t look for a building. Look for people.

  • Look for a community helper who is invested, excited and willing to put in the hours needed to bring people together.
  • Look to your existing members for feedback and talk about what expansion means for both communities.
  • Find a commercial Realtor who can add very specific language into your lease about maintenance and responsibilities.
  • Look for a landlord who is capable and willing to hold a container for you. MEET your landlord(s) in person before you sign.

Brave enough to share your epic failure? Post it in the comments or email it to me!

Shit I Never Thought I’d Have to Buy This Coworking Space

A surprise county tax form afforded me the opportunity to review every purchase I’ve made for the Cohere coworking spaces in the past 5 years. Some stuck out amid my former business plan list of what a coworking space needed (wifi, coffee, desks, chairs, power strips) In no particular order I present to you a cautionary listicle of shit you might have to buy for your coworking space:

12 Forks

A dual plug digital power cycler for Unifi Pro wifi access points

12 Forks

Unicorn pinataFullSizeRender_1

Eleventy hundred packs of Command adhesives

The world’s secretly tiniest and least useful trash/recycling bin

Moon Gels

Chia Obama Handmade Decorative Planter, Determined Pose: Priceless

Preformed coin wrappers, 100 count, quarters (of which I have used exactly 8)

1 pack multi-color star stickers

3 Tripp Lite N201-020-GY Cat6 Gigabit Gray Snagless Molded Patch Cable RJ45M/M – 20 feet

4 Forks

TV Cart / Stand for LCD, LED, Plasma, Flat Panel TVs with 3″ Wheels, mobile fits 32″ to 50″: bomb proof

200 million Tripp Lite PS2408 Power Strip 120V 5-15R 8 Outlet 15ft Cord Vertical Metal 0URM

400 ForksFullSizeRender

Lite Brites: 2

12 More Forks

Recessed Door Reinforcer 1-3/4-Inch Thick by 2-3/8-Inch Backset 2-1/8-Inch Bore, Stainless Steel

Music Note Black Poly Resin Coated Tin Cookie Cutter 3.5″ for use in making Cohere Bandwiches obv.

IMG_3512

Polaroid High Capacity Replacement Battery For The Polaroid Instant Digital Camera

Portable Foldable Universal Mini Desk Table Stand Holder For iPad: code for world’s cheapest/most effective ipad standFullSizeRender_2

Congratulations (Gold) Award Seals Stickers – 4 stickers per sheet, 8 sheets: I wanted silver. Not gonna lie.

What weird things have you bought for your coworking space?

Tiny Coworking Spaces in Washington, Colorado and New York

Cohere was a tiny coworking space for many years before we became the VC-back multi-location titan that we are now in Fort Collins, Colorado (heavy sarcastic tone). Because of that we take special pride in sussing out the lesser-known tiny and rural coworking locations that you’ve probably never heard about in the New York Times, Entrepreneur or Fast Company publications. Today we’re going from NY to WA and stopping over in Colorado. The moral of the story: ALWAYS look for a coworking space even if you’re off the beaten path.

Carnation, Washington: Tolt Hive

Why Cohere loves them: they started their community in a barn.

tolthive

Tolt Hive is in the very beginning phases of building our community in Carnation, WA. Located in the heart of a beautiful agricultural valley about 25 miles east of Seattle, Carnation is a quaint town with a walkable neighborhood and numerous trails that lead to amazing views of the Cascades, rivers, and nearby farms just a short distance outside of town.

A small group of us began gathering twice per week in September of 2014 in a barn loft (no joke) in our little town of 2,000 people to test out the idea of coworking. I founded Tolt Hive in January of 2015 and have moved our gatherings to office space in the center of town. We are in the process of negotiating with the space owners to set up a more permanent arrangement at this location.

We currently get together on Mondays and Wednesdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m at the following address: 31957 E. Commercial Street, Carnation, WA, 98014. Readers can join our mailing list and get more info at www.tolthive.com.

Paonia, Colorado: The Hive Paonia

Why Cohere loves them: a Cohere member was traveling through and couldn’t wait to come back and tell us that there’s a coworking community of “hippie rafters on the western slope!” 

paonia

When The Hive was initially conceived in the spring of 2014, the plan was a far-reaching idealist concept with the intention of bringing the community together, attracting new and amazing people from far reaches, sharing resources and ideas, and collaborating on new ways to create a better future for our local community and the world. Because of overwhelming contributions from our members and the community, we’ve already succeeded , and at a reality-questioning speed!

Beacon, New York: Beahive

Why Cohere loves them: their loquacious description below.

beahive

Beahive has been around since 2009.  Many of our Beacon members are émigrés from NYC. They’re the kind of savvy, ambitious creative class habitués you find in cities, but since they’ve escaped the city for a small Hudson Valley river town famous for both its world-class museum Dia:Beacon and Pete Seeger, and galleries and cafes nestled between a mountain and the river, they’re a touch older (average: 30s and 40s vs 20s and 30s) with an admixture of individualistic and communitarian tendencies.

Getting to Cohere: Earth Saving Techniques

laptops-outside

Going green is more than a passing trend—it’s just smart business. Cohere is committed to being as environmentally conscious as we can in our 3,000-square-feet of Earth space, and there are lots of ways that coworking can help your small business reduce its own carbon footprint as well.

However, all that saving is for naught if we drive our Unimogs to cowork every day.

There are 3 better ways to get to Cohere or Cothere.

  • Walk. Or as we say in Fort Collins, Bike.
  • Ride the MAX. The Max stops across the street from both Cohere (Mulberry Station) and Cothere (Spring Creek Station) so it’s easy peasy to take. AND you can do something else while you ride like knit or practice your improv or finish that last level of Candy Crush.
  • If you’re a fair-weather walker/biker/busser then take heart. You might only need an occasional car rather than owning your own. Our friends at RelayRides have given us some compelling data on why peer to peer car sharing is good. Or you can just call for a ride here.

Have you used a peer car sharing service in Fort Collins? How was your experience?

relayRides_Environment

 

Thanks to RelayRides.com for letting us use this graphic!

Image via zoovroo/Flickr

Happy 4th Anniversary Cohere! Let’s Play Alumni Catch-Up

happy anniversary Cohere

That’s right folks, it’s already been FOUR long, wonderful, coworking-filled years since our community officially opened! It’s hard to believe. We started with just a handful of independents working in the loft space on Jefferson Street, and now, Cohere has almost 50 members, we’re charging full steam ahead with Cohere: Bandwidth (our effort to bring shared rehearsal space to the local music scene), and (fingers crossed!) opening a new Midtown location soon.

Thinking about all that’s happened since we became Fort Collins’ first coworking space got me thinking about our alumni. Those members who were there in the early stages, but have moved on to other things or places because of life or work or both!

So I decided to play a little game of Cohere Alumni Catch-up (aka Where are they now?!) Enjoy catching up with your colleagues below, and thank you for supporting this small, woman-owned business. YOU ARE ALL MY FAVORITE!

Cohere Alumni Catch-up (aka Where are they now?!)

suzanne-for-cohere

Suzanne Akin

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Freelance graphic design and working on my clothing line, Akinz

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
I’m running my clothing line full time and opened our flagship store in Old Town last August.  

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Lots of them. Either power lunging to Kilwin’s to make up for the salted caramels we were about to eat or the very first Custom Beanie Creation Station setup :)

Member Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane Griesemer

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere? 
Freelance.

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Work- I am the Director of Product for the Global Accelerator Network, an organization of technology seed accelerators located in over 50 countries. 

Life- I married Eoin, a guy I met on OK Cupid, a dating website I tried because Alex convinced me I should during an afternoon of coworking. I am incubating our first gremlin, due June 2.

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Getting laid off from my shitty, shitty job and driving directly to Cohere to celebrate my new found freedom and bright future. And the people. I love my Coherians.

beth-knoxville-instagram

Beth Buczynski

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Freelance copywriting/environmental blogging (for WAY too little).

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Living in Longmont and coworking at the Armory Workspace in Loveland. Still copywriting and blogging about the environment (for MUCH better rates), doing a little editing, and promoting my new book about the sharing economy, “Sharing is Good: How to Save Money, Time and Resource through Collaborative Consumption“!

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Night coworking! Cupcake runs. Publishing the coworking ebooks. Hanging Holindaise decorations with Angel and Kevin U.

Lindsay

Lindsay Ogden

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
When I joined Cohere, I was working as a freelance Drupal developer. I had been in Drupal for a little over a year and was still pretty green.

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
I am working as a technical business analyst and product manager in web technologies, unfortunately no longer remote :)

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Learning from other professionals who became my friends. Getting to work with such different people, expand my network of colleagues and friends was invaluable and treasured. A particular memory that stands out is walking to the hot dog stand with friends for lunch.

beanie

Alex Chiang

1. What type of work were you doing when you joined Cohere?
Working remotely for Canonical.

2. What are you doing now-work/life?
Living in San Francisco, eating $4 toast, and paying way too much to live in a twitter-sized apartment. On the plus side, it’s always sunny and in the 60s.

3. What is your favorite memory of Cohere?
Culinary camaraderie, whether it was helping the sweet toothers find the perfect gelato or on a more personal note, discovering that Big Al’s would stack as many 60/40 bacon/burger patties on top of each other as you wanted.

Image via macrj

 

10 Must-Know Facts About Networking (And Why Coworking Does It Better)

networking and coworking

For freelancers and small business owners, networking is absolutely essential. Getting to know people–what they do and what they need–is the fastest way to build connections, and by extension your potential customer base.

The only problem traditional networking SUCKS. Business card exchanges, 5 second elevator speeches, feeling like you’re trapped at a used car salesman’s annual conference–all of this makes me want to gag.

Unfortunately, nothing is more effective at building your professional reputation and creating customers like face-to-face interaction. The good news is, thanks to a wealth of communication technologies, traditional networking events aren’t the only way to get to know someone.

The infographic below breaks down some interesting statistics about the impact of face-to-face networking, how the mobile workforce is changing the look of networking, and the types of situations that demand a handshake vs. those that can be accomplished over the phone or on a video chat.

But before you start scrolling through all that visual goodness, just remember: coworking is the ultimate networking event. Every time you come into Cohere, or visit another of the thousands of coworking spaces around the world, you’re expanding your collection of contacts, colleagues, and friends. Better yet, you’re not doing it in a contrived, forced, squint-at-their-nametag-and-pretend-to-be-interested kind of way. You’re doing it in a totally casual, genuine way.

Coworkers get to know each other as friends and office mates, with no hidden agendas. We ask about each other’s projects, clients, and experiences, and as we grow closer as community, there are often reasons to refer work or collaborate. It’s 21st century networking that’s effortless and efficient. And doesn’t make me want to gag. Wins all around.

Face to Face Networking
Source: GreatBusinessSchools.org

Image via opensourceway

Northern Colorado Small Business Development Events for Spring 2013

support small business

As entrepreneurs, we can’t afford to be stagnant. Like sharks, we must constantly be moving, bettering ourselves and our business practices so that we can retain our advantage over larger, less nimble companies. In order to do that, we have to try new things, meet new people and explore new strategies. Just coming in and working with your peers at Cohere can accomplish that, but exposure to other business development communities here in Colorado can also be helpful.

If you’re looking to attend some events that can answer your small business questions and give you new ideas for growth, here’s a round up of what’s going on in our region this Spring!

Makers & Doers Meetup
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Representing small businesses, creative industries and startups, this group is sure to introduce you to the people, resources and exposure that your small business needs to grow. Makers & Doers is produced by The Space Creators to give Denver’s creative and small business communities a place to converge and reinforce one another. The best part is….the food is on us and there’s no fee to get involved!
Location: Lucky Pie Pizza & Tap House on the 16th St. Mall
RSVP at: www.facebook.com/events/157970767696286/

I Need Financing, What Now? 
Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM
This workshop will assist you in knowing what the banks are looking for in a borrower. You will learn what issues the banks are dealing with on their side of the table and how to approach those challenges. Find out what type of loans fit your situation and how they can be used with an emphasis on Small Business Administration (SBA) lending. Discover what to provide and what to expect when you approach a financial institution to meet your company’s capital needs. Money, you need it to get started, you need it to establish yourself, and you need it to grow, so learn what’s involved with borrowing it!
Speaker: Christina Kraft, Wells Fargo
Location: Larimer SBDC, Key Bank Tower Building, Fort Collins, Colorado
Fee: $ 15.00

So You Want to Start a Business  
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM
This class is a prerequisite for start-ups to schedule a counseling session at the Larimer SBDC. Explore the basics of business ownership, including entrepreneurship, planning for a profitable business, pitfalls to avoid and how to reach your customers.
Speaker: John Murphy
Location: Larimer SBDC, Key Bank Tower Building, Fort Collins, Colorado
Fee: $ 15.00

Make it Official 
Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM
An early morning two-hour workshop that covers business registration and forms, business entity-type selection and other timely tips every prospective entrepreneur needs before starting a new business venture.
Speaker: Attorney Tom Selken and Teresa Kaufman, CPA
Location: Larimer SBDC, Key Bank Tower Building, Fort Collins, Colorado
Fee: $ 25.00

Boulder Startup Weekend
Friday, April 26, 2013 – Sunday, April 28, 2013 – All Day
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Teams will compete at the end of the weekend for fabulous cash and prizes (ok, no cash, but prizes, yes)
Location: Tech Stars, Boulder
Fee: $99

Basics of Bookkeeping: Know Thy Numbers  
Friday, April 26, 2013 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Learn the what, how and why of bookkeeping. Understand what bookkeeping can tell you about your business and how it can help you manage. Learn what data you need to keep track of, how to avoid common mistakes and when to call in a bookkeeper or accountant. Discover effective bookkeeping from chart of accounts to financial statements.
Speaker: Beth Dixon, CPA
Location: Larimer SBDC, Key Bank Tower Building, Fort Collins, Colorado
Fee: $ 40.00

TEDxFoCo
Our community and others very much like ours have been affected by profound violence. Knowledge, Love, and Freedom are essential to a peaceful society. To that end, we’ve gathered some of the best and brightest minds in our community to talk on the topic of Life Worth Living, each speaker taking on the topic in their own unique way.
Location: Avogadro’s Number, Fort Collins
Fee: $20

Image via icommstudios.com

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