August 7, 2011 –
Your home business needs a place to meet with clients, customers, vendors, and partners at times. A home office or the dining room table is not always the most practical or professional place for meetings. In the list below, several alternate locations are suggested that provide meeting locations either free of charge or for a low price.
In addition to the list – depending on the location – local coffee shops, restaurants, and community colleges are options.
7 Places to Hold a Meeting When You Run Your Business From Home
Working from home is increasingly popular among small business owners looking to cut overhead. But for all the convenience it provides, it may not be the ideal place for client meetings.
Here are seven places to hold a meeting when you work from home:
1. Your local chamber of commerce:
Wende Gray, owner of Gray Marketing in Bethel, Maine, says her chamber often has a meeting room available along with necessary office equipment, such as a copy machine and computers. “[Using your chamber] shows that you’re already business-oriented and at least large enough to afford membership,” she says.
2. Your bank:
Frank Morosky, owner of Flat-D Innovations Inc., an odor control products company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says his bank lets him use its conference room free of charge, as long as he reserves it ahead of time.
3. The local library:
“It’s free, there’s convenient parking, and it’s open to the community,” says Cheryl Pope, owner of Royalty Industries, a children’s “princess party” planning company based in Detroit. “Plus there are several branches, which is convenient, and you can set up the room any way you want to.”
4. A restaurant banquet room:
One drawback to a library meeting room, says Pope, is that you might not be able to bring in food or drinks. When she coordinates a client meeting with a meal, Pope reserves a banquet room and picks up the food tab. Food plus the larger space usually makes for a great brainstorming session, she says.
5. A hotel conference room:
Carole Bartholomeaux, owner of Bartholomeaux Public Relations in Phoenix, recommends the hotel option for its professional polish. “The nice thing about a hotel is that they already have the linen tablecloths and warm staff to check to make sure that the coffee and tea is still warm, ” she says. Bartholomeaux uses her local Embassy Suites. For around $200 per day, you can reserve the room, have food catered and have access to supplies, such as notepads, pens and a TV/DVD player, she says.
6. A co-working facility:
A popular solution for freelancers, small business owners can also utilize co-working facilities for a monthly or drop-in fee. “Co-working has been great for [us] because not only can we use conference rooms by paying a day rate, but we can use all of their office equipment and even rent out an office space for a day or week,” says Lauren Fairbanks, co-owner of digital marketing firm Stunt & Gimmicks based in New York City. Rates start around $20 to $30 per day, which Fairbanks considers a good and affordable investment. There are many city-specific co-working facilities, such as DurangoSpace, in Durango, Co., RawkSpace in Rockford, Ill., and Coworking Rochester in Rochester, N.Y., among others.
7. A virtual office:
Like co-working facilities, virtual offices offer subscriptions or drop-ins, but Baltimore-based Katie Gutierrez, president of Assistant Match, a virtual assistant matching company, says they’re usually better equipped and offer more privacy than a co-working facility. She prefers those that allow her to pick and choose the services she needs for that day, such as Officense, based in Baltimore, which features settings from boardroom to roundtable. Check to see if your city has a virtual office company available. Like co-working facilities, some are city specific, like Officense and Roam in Atlanta, but some have international offices, such as Regus Business Centers.