Owning a business without an office can be difficult, especially when scheduling meetings.
- When you don't have a physical office, you need to get creative when setting up meetings. Save on expenses by choosing low-cost meeting space options.
- Physical locations for a meeting include cafes, restaurants, libraries and conference rooms. The number of attendants at your meeting will dictate the best spot to hold the conference.
- Virtual meetings are a popular option and allow team members to come together no matter where they are physically located. Virtual meeting programs are free or have a low monthly cost.
Believe it or not, many modern companies do not have offices. With remote work on the rise, some entrepreneurs and business owners opt to save money by running their business from home, hiring remote employees and using tech to communicate.
Owning a business without an office can be difficult at times. For instance, if you're trying to schedule a meeting with your team, you can't just book a conference room in your building. It takes more time and effort, but it's not impossible.
Here are some of the best places and ways to host your meetings.
If most of your workers are in your area, consider hosting an in-person meeting. Though it might not be as easy as herding everyone down the hall into Conference Room B, there are many convenient places to choose from.
First, ask yourself how many people need to be involved in this meeting. If you've narrowed it down to just a few associates, then a casual location like Starbucks is typically a safe bet. However, if your group would easily crowd the cafe or you're looking for a more formal atmosphere, think bigger. Often, cafes are located within bookstores, which can also be a good place to meet offsite. Bookstores often provide perks like free wireless connectivity. Any type of restaurant with free Wi-Fi can also be considered when you need to meet remotely.
Starbucks isn't the only option when searching for a cafe. You could also visit cafes located in public spaces, such as museums and art galleries. These attractions will often include free wireless access too. Just confirm that you’re able to access the cafe without requiring your clients to pay an admission fee.
Libraries are often forgotten when selecting a place to meet with clients. Libraries have multiple meeting rooms available and usually come in all shapes and sizes. Each library follows its own set of meeting rules. The rooms may be available on a first-come basis, or you may need to make an advanced reservation to save the space. Check with the library ahead of time to see what type of meeting space is available. You'll want to make sure the room has enough tables and chairs. Multimedia devices may be available, too, like projectors. Wireless access is available at public libraries free of charge.
"As you grow in size and go after larger customers/clients, you'll want to project a more established brand image," said Kurt Birkenhagen, vice president of sales and marketing at Vast Conference. "That's when it's a good idea to look for a more formal environment."
These alternatives can range from business centers to hotels, where you can rent or share a meeting room for your conference. Familiarize yourself with locations in the area so you can plan accordingly.
"Shared or rented meeting spaces give you more control, for times when you are giving a formal presentation or meeting on a sensitive topic," said Birkenhagen. "You'll have access to multimedia equipment, you'll be able to control who comes in and out of the room, and can control the noise level and lighting."
Shared offices follow different pricing models. You may be able to use the space on an hourly basis or pay a daily rate. Shared offices do require an advanced reservation and may require a contract for limited use.
Hotel conference rooms
Birkenhagen added that hotels offer the same amenities as business centers but also include snacks and refreshments, accommodating a larger gathering. If employees are traveling to the area specifically for your conference, a hotel would likely be the best choice. That way, attendees can book a room to stay overnight or for the weekend. Reserve the conference room in advance before asking any of your guests to book their rooms. Also, confirm if the hotel has any other spaces for meetings like restaurants or lounges.
When all else fails, or if you're just planning a quick catch-up with remote workers, you can set up a virtual meeting and connect with workers without ever leaving your room.
Virtual meetings are convenient and cost-effective, so long as you have the right service – but there are many to choose from. For advice on which one to choose, check out our best video conferencing services.
"Contrary to what some people think, all virtual meeting/conferencing companies are not the same," said Birkenhagen. "Just like with most things, you get what you pay for. No matter how dynamic your presentation or how inspirational your message is, it won't matter if connections drop or if audio is garbled."
Editor's note: Looking for the right video conferencing service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.