Insights from Jason Anderson on Future Trends and Franchise Success

Insights from Jason Anderson's AMA on Future Trends and Franchise Success

Key Takeaways from AMA with Jason Anderson

Last week, we had the pleasure of having Jason Anderson, a seasoned expert in the flexible office space industry join us as our guest on GWA’s Ask Me Anything. Jason’s trajectory from managing 10 Venture X locations in 2019 to overseeing more than 190 locations across three brands in eight countries within just five years, even amidst a global pandemic, is nothing short of remarkable. Read on for key takeaways from our discussion covering a wide range of topics, from the nuances of franchising in the coworking space to future growth strategies and operational insights.

Fun fact: Jason shared that at the GWA Conference in 2019, he forged a partnership that led to the opening of Venture X locations in Costa Rica, Honduras, and Spain.

Understanding the Franchise Model in Coworking Spaces

Jason provided a comprehensive overview of how three major brands under his leadership—Intelligent Office, Office Evolution, and Venture X—differentiate from each other, drawing an analogy to Marriott’s diverse range of hotel brands. Each brand caters to specific market needs, from Intelligent Office’s small footprint and virtual assistant services to Venture X’s large-scale spaces designed for bigger teams and events. This segmentation strategy mirrors the hospitality industry’s approach, offering tailored experiences to different customer demographics.

The Evolution and Future of Coworking Spaces

Reflecting on the industry’s growth, Jason shared insights into the evolution of coworking spaces from niche to mainstream. He emphasized the importance of e-commerce and instant booking capabilities to meet the modern consumer’s expectations for convenience and flexibility. Moreover, Jason highlighted the significant role of franchising in consolidating the coworking space industry stating “the only way [Vast Coworking] could grow would be through concepts that are not franchised…”  drawing parallels with successful models in other sectors.

Operational Strategies for Success

A critical aspect of our discussion focused on the operational strategies that have propelled the expansion of Jason’s brands. He stressed the importance of aligning with software platforms that integrate seamlessly with the coworking business model, enabling efficient management and a better member experience. Jason also touched on the challenges and solutions around merchant services for transaction processing, advising operators to stick with proven systems that ensure reliability and accountability.

Advice for New and Existing Operators

Jason candidly shared his advice for anyone considering entering the coworking space industry or looking to expand their existing operations. “I would not start a new brand in today’s industry. I would find somebody that’s already doing it and partner/invest with them… Don’t wipe out your 401K and open up a brand new mom and pop coworking space in today’s industry.” He strongly advised against starting a new brand from scratch, given the complexities and high stakes involved. Instead, he recommended partnering with or investing in existing operators to leverage their experience and established presence in the market.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Coworking

The AMA session concluded with Jason’s optimistic outlook on the future of coworking spaces. He envisions a more interconnected and technologically advanced ecosystem where coworking becomes an integral part of the global business infrastructure, akin to the hospitality industry. This future is characterized by a blend of innovation, consolidation, and enhanced member experiences that cater to an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce. “I’m not saying everybody has to sell their brand or become a franchise but you got to have a band of brothers to come together and row the boats in the same direction if you’re really going to scale and grow.”

Our session with Jason offered invaluable insights into the strategic, operational, and visionary aspects of the coworking space industry. His expertise and forward-thinking approach provided a roadmap for current and future operators to navigate the evolving landscape of flexible office spaces.

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