When entrepreneur Aalap Shah needed a venue for his daughter’s first birthday party last July, not any old space would do. After all, he had more than 70 guests and 200 balloons to accommodate.
Looking no further than his own work desk, Shaw realized Enerspace Chicago might be the ticket. He and his team at SoMe Connect had been full-time members of the Chicago coworking office since May, and Shah knew the wide open layout, attractive space and spectacular city views would provide a great backdrop.
Despite a minor balloon snafu, the party went on without a hitch.
“That’s one of the greatest things about Enerspace–it’s flexibility,” Shah said. “It’s not just about networking or cocktails. It’s a dynamic venue. You can have really beautiful events there, too.”
Shah and his partner, Madhavi Rao, started digital marketing firm SoMe Connect to help businesses translate digital technology into more business. Like many successful startups, growth came quickly, and Starbucks as an office space just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
Early in the business Shah had been using single-day passes at Enersapce (which cost $20 a pop and include coworking tables, cafe seats and kitchen facilities). Just as SoMe was ready to grow, the stars aligned: Enerspace was expanding. In May of 2013, Shah and his team moved into a five-person private office. (Enerspace has eight private offices ranging from one to five people.)
Now eight team members strong, SoMe has since moved on, but Shaw fondly recalls the time he spent at Enerspace as a milestone for his startup. The Chicago coworking facility offered exactly what he and Rao wanted: flexibility (including various membership levels and the ability to rent single dedicated desks as well as private offices), and proximity to other like-minded businesses.
Coworking spaces may not be all about networking, but that’s certainly a draw for many entrepreneurs. “One of the biggest and best outcomes of working at Enerspace was getting to meet another marketing agency that we now do a lot of work for,” Shah said. “We really value the relationships we were able to create”.
Shah says a private, professional office really helped him and his team members to “grow up” as a company.
“There’s a sense of legitimacy when you walk into an office and shut the door behind you,” Shah said. “It gave us more room to grow not just physically but professionally. We had to learn how to think about the company and develop business relationships. Suddenly we weren’t just another marketing firm based out of Starbucks.”
Providing a professional setting for his team also offered a number of small but impactful benefits; bonding improved through shared lunches in the kitchen, morale improved with personal desks ready for decorating, and professional conference rooms boosted company pride and confidence.
The secured bike storage, individual showers, free craft coffee and private phone booths certainly didn’t hurt, either.
“They’re small details, but they’re very tangible benefits,” Shaw said. “Those benefits are a good reason why we chose Enerspace.”