Great Business Ideas: Being spaces

Great Small Business Ideas to Start: Being spaces

Creating places where people want to be—whether to socialize, relax, or simply carry out everyday activities such as reading or working—can become a profitable product.

The idea

At first glance, this concept appears similar to “brand spaces.” However, there is a crucial difference: “being spaces” make the idea of a desirable social setting the chief selling point and core product—a fundamental aspect of the business.

Being spaces are particularly popular in cities where cramped apartments, claustrophobic offices, and sometimes unsafe public areas prompt people to seek a more relaxing change of scene. Trend Watching, an organization documenting consumer trends, described the concept of being spaces as “. . . urban dwellers trading their lonely, cramped living rooms for the real-life buzz of commercial living-room-like settings, where catering and entertainment aren’t just the main attraction, but are there to facilitate small office/living room activities like watching a movie, reading a book, meeting friends and colleagues, or doing your admin.”

While many successful businesses, such as coffee house franchise Starbucks and book retailers Borders, blend the idea of a being space with other products, there is an increasing number of businesses devoted to providing customers with nothing other than simply a place to be. Paragraph NY is one such company. With monthly memberships from $100, it provides a 2,500 square foot loft space near Union Square divided into a writing room and a lounge area.

Members can work in library-style cubicles or relax and socialize with other members—a modern home from home.

In practice

  • Design the space carefully and functionally—emphasize style and comfort, and use soft furnishings and room dividers to absorb sound, ensuring your being space remains convivial and relaxed.
  • Provide opportunities for both socializing and relative privacy within the space.
  • Consider raising revenue by selling advertising in the being space. While you should not allow advertising to compromise the aesthetic feeling, sophisticated, cutting-edge, and carefully placed adverts can enhance customers’ perceptions and be useful.
  • Even if you do not wish to have a being space as your primary business venture, you can incorporate some of the principles into your business to entice potential customers.