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In most cases, you can’t run a business all by yourself. You collaborate with colleagues, customers, managers, salespeople, lawyers, insurance agents and more. And all these relationships will inevitably lead to one-on-one meetings, so you can work together more efficiently.
There’s only one problem: You work at home, which means you’re not quite sure where you’d even host such a get-together. Fortunately, there are plenty of locations where you can meet — you just have to know where to find them.
In This Post:
1. Virtual Conference Room
Perhaps the simplest solution to your problem is to schedule a virtual meeting. All you need is a device that allows you to make video calls — that might be your cell phone or your computer. Or, you can use an application like Skype, which enables you to phone multiple people and add them all to your video conversation.
2. The Chamber of Commerce
The Chamber of Commerce’s job is to promote local businesses, whether that’s through education, advocacy or advice and support. As such, your local chamber should have no problem suggesting or even providing office space in which you can hold your meeting — it will do good for your business, after all. Start by contacting your nearest office to figure out where and when you can reserve a room.
3. Coffee Shop
Chances are, you have a go-to coffee shop near your home office. There’s also a possibility the place is pretty quiet during weekday working hours, when many other people head to their offices for a traditional nine-to-five job.
Therefore, a quiet coffee shop could be a great place to hold an informal meeting. You obviously can’t go there to discuss sensitive information, but general conversations and catch-ups can indeed take place as you tip back a mug of joe.
4. Hotel Conference Room
Hotels targeted to professionals will have all the resources you need onsite, from conference rooms to Wi-Fi access to catered food and drinks. Depending on the size of your meeting, then, a hotel could be the perfect backdrop for what you’re planning.
There are plenty of benefits to these types of offsite meetings as well. Those who have previously taken part in hotel-based gatherings note the change in scenery has boosted their creativity and built camaraderie among team members, too. Plus, if colleagues are coming from out of town to attend the event, they have a built-in place to stay.
If a rented conference room is a bit too much for what you’re thinking, check out the tables and study areas available at your local library. You can guarantee it’ll be a quiet place to collaborate — it’s a library, after all. But keep in mind the low volume you’ll be expected to maintain, too: This might not be the right place for a big group brainstorming session, for example. On the other hand, it might be worth it to whisper, since it’s probably free or very cheap to meet at the public library.
6. Nearby College or University
Even if you aren’t a student, you can still take advantage of the many resources available on campus at your local college or university. These educational institutions are built to make collaboration easy for students, whether they’re studying or working together on a project.
As such, you’ll find all the resources you need for a business meeting: extra-large tables, plugs and Internet access, as well as empty classrooms and lecture halls when you want to discuss topics that are best to debate behind closed doors.
7. Local Park
On its face, an outdoor meeting seems pointless: There are none of the amenities that have been selling points for hotels, universities or coffee shops. But for a conversation-based appointment, there may be no better option than the park, where you can conduct a walking meeting.
Walking meetings were a favorite of Apple’s Steve Jobs, and they continue to be with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. That’s because they provide participants with so many benefits, from a boost of cardio activity to an increased sense of motivation and creativity, thanks to the natural scenes that surround them. If you have a matter to discuss with any one of your contacts, pitch a walking meeting with these selling points — both of you will benefit when you say “yes.”
8. Your Office
Finally, you could start conducting your work meetings at home if you create an office space of which you’re proud. Right now, you might have a standard desk and rolling chair, and maybe a few knickknacks and papers stacked on top of your workspace. These items aren’t enough to inspire your day-to-day work, let alone a productive meeting.
So, start looking at other home office designs to drum up inspiration for your space. Once you’ve decorated a professional, personal area to run your business, you’ll have nothing but confidence when your associates come over for a meeting.
Your at-home business isn’t tethered to that one room in your home. Instead, you have the world at your feet — and you should take advantage of it when scheduling your next meeting. You never know where you’ll end up, but one thing is for sure: With thoughtful planning, you’re sure to find the perfect place to get the job done, time and time again.