By: Dave Emanuel | Columnist | Gwinnett Citizen
By: Dave Emanuel | Columnist | Gwinnett Citizen
Dave Emanuel, Cut to the Chase

The classic entrepreneur-makes-good story chronicles the trials and tribulations of a company, started by an individual or small group, that started in someone’s garage and blossomed into a huge multi-national corporation. Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Hewlett-Pack-ard, and Google come to mind in that regard.

Consequently, it is entirely fitting that Josh Sweeney named his Snellville-based entrepreneur-orient-ed co-working company “Garage-Worx”. As opposed to a re-purposed garage, Snellville-based Garage-Worx is housed in an attractive office building and provides a number of amenities not provided by four walls and an oil-stained concrete floor.

Although co-working facilities designed specifically to meet the needs of entrepreneurs have existed for some time, they are relatively new to suburban areas. With companies like the GarageWorx opening their doors in Gwinnett and other suburban counties, budding entrepreneurs, as well as seasoned business veterans now have a close-to-home alternative.

The concept of a business incubator or co-working space seems somewhat nebulous at first blush. In fact, it’s well-defined. Companies like GarageWorx provide low-cost office space tailored to individual needs. One option, generally known as a “Hot Desk”, is available to clients on an as-needed basis, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Along with a desk, high-speed internet service and conference room access are available. When a client is finished for the day, he or she packs up all belongings and leaves the space ready for the next client. Typically, there are several “Hot Desks” in an office.

Other options included dedicated workspace (used exclusively by a single client) with an adjustable desk, 24” monitor, an adjustable monitor stand and laptop mount. Private lockable offices, equipped with a monitor and adjustable desk, are the third option.

One advantage of this arrangement is that as an entrepreneur’s business grows, additional facilities are available at the same location, thereby eliminating the expense and inconvenience of relocating. Another benefit is that a business owner doesn’t have to work in a vacuum. When it’s time to take a break, a common area/reception office provides the ideal place for conversation and refreshments (which are provided at no charge).

Ultimately, the most important benefit of renting a desk or office at a co-working space is the ability to build relationships with other entrepreneurs and business owners. Even though the people at adjacent desks or offices may be in completely different businesses, they are probably facing some of the same business challenges. Consequently, a casual conversation can easily lead to valuable time- or money-saving information. Co-working facilities may also offer seminars and informal get-togethers designed to help entrepreneurs achieve success.

As the business landscape in metro Atlanta continues to evolve, co-working facilities in suburban locations will become more common and will help Georgia maintain its position as the number one state for business.