If you are a small business owner, remote employee or a solopreneur who has a choice where to work and meet your clients, your office tells a story about you.
1. Projecting Professionalism
What Does Your Office and Meeting Space Say About You and Your Brand?
The place you call “office”, your conference rooms and the meeting space you choose for your clients and teammates may say something about you.
The computer you use. The car you drive. The meeting space and workspace you choose. The phone you use . . . they all send a message – to varying degrees – about your self-identity and what’s important to you.
It’s the same with your choice of meeting space. When you choose to meet clients at your home instead of a professional conference room, your identity and your professional brand is factored into that decision.
Are you the type of person who likes to stand out from the crowd? If so, the place you choose to meet your clients and coworkers will reflect that.
Are you the type of person who is passionate about inspiring and helping others? If so, you’ll choose a place that reflects that.
Are you a respected expert or industry leader? If so, you’ll work in a place that reflects your tenure and success.
For certain types of businesses, being home-based can give rise to credibility issues. If you are in an industry where a strong professional image is important, finding a place that reflects your level of professionalism is key to growing your brand and business.
While there are perks and conveniences to a home office, finding a suitable meeting place for prospects, clients, vendors or employees is important. Let’s face it, the typical home is a flurry of activity, and many times you don’t have control over your environment. Do you really want your children to live in an office “quiet zone”? And what about the barking dog? These things are out of your control and can cause major distractions during work meetings.
Your private, home office can be just that – private. But where you meet your clients, teammates and employees say a good deal about what you value.
Where you choose to meet your clients reflects your brand, and you can shape it.
2. Protecting Privacy
What are the potential dangers of meeting clients or employees at your home office?
While you probably aren’t running background checks on every potential client, and most likely, it’s unnecessary. However, there is a potential risk when bringing clients into your home.
Take this real-life example: Brenda Tosso owns and operates Brenda’s Adventure Travel. She designs customized international trips for her clients, and she works from her home. A typical day begins in the wee hours of the morning making calls to hotels and adventure services around the world.
One morning, it was approaching 10:00 a.m. and Brenda found herself still working in her pajamas from her kitchen table when there was a knock at her front door. She could see an elderly gentleman holding a piece of mail. Thinking it was a neighbor returning misplaced mail, she opened the door. It turned out to be a man with one of her flyers looking to book a cruise.
While this new visitor turned out to be harmless (and turned into a great client), Brenda decided it might turn out differently in the future. That’s when she found a virtual membership that included a business address and meeting space.
What about meeting your employees at your home? Well, most of the time, it may be just fine. However, we’ve all read about the mailman going postal. There is a risk of an irate employee or past employee showing up at your home.
Furthermore, there is safety in numbers, and this applies to meeting with clients and employees. The National Crime Prevention Council offers several home office safety tips.
Have you considered the implications if a client or employee injures themselves in your home, or gets bitten by the neighbor’s dog? Check your insurance to see if it covers incidents like these. It’s an important factor to consider when hosting business meetings from your home office.
Legalities will vary from one state to the next, and it’s a smart move to consult with an attorney regarding the laws where you live.
3. Eliminating Distractions.
You are building a business. What do you want to focus on?
An entrepreneur recently posted on Facebook, “Being an entrepreneur is one of the hardest, ugliest, most stressful pleasures in life that one can choose . . .”
Building a business – whether you are an entrepreneur or a corporate professional – takes focused work. Choosing where to invest your energy and your time is key to your success. Offloading what is secondary to success is important to growing your business.
Common Stress – Doing it All
A common stress of business owners is that you feel you must “do it all.” Depending on your version of “doing it all”, 24 hours a day is likely not enough to get everything you want done. Consider what you can delegate so you can focus on the main thing.
One business banker coaches her small business clients to find a coworking and flexible office space for their office needs. These types of office spaces can expand and contract as needed for the business owner. It also enables her clients to focus on growing their business – not investing in a building.
Common Stress – Work/Life Balance
Many business owners suffer from a lack of work/life balance. How do you keep what’s important – important? If you home office, how do you keep your work at work and personal/family time at home? Often, when you home office, all of life oozes together without the needed division. However, the balance between the two is vital for ensuring that you maintain your priorities and sanity.
Common Stress – Cash Flow
Another common problem that occurs in a small growing business is measuring and maintaining cash flow. Your business is moving one of two directions – growth or decline. Cash flow is key and adding overhead for office space is a big decision.
The good news is that in today’s shared economy, you do have choices for office space and meeting space that are affordable and flexible. Instead, long-term contracts are no longer necessary. Consider a coworking office for your meetings. Many have conference rooms equipped with whiteboards and Smart TVs.
There are many meeting and workplace options available outside your home where you can project professionalism, protect your privacy and align your priorities. Which one is best for you?
This is the most cost-effective, but do you really keep your home meeting-ready at any moment? And are you willing to trade your privacy for a few dollars?
This is a great option if your business makes enough money for you to justify club fees.
Local Coffee Shop or Restaurant
This option is affordable, but it is also unpredictable. Coffee shops can be crowded, and sometimes finding a chair is in question. It can also be noisy and a poor atmosphere for conversations.
Hotels can be an expensive option. And many require food and beverage minimums and charge for parking. Meeting clients in a hotel room is unadvisable…take it from this journalist who had a narrow (and funny) escape when conducting an interview in a hotel room.
Coworking/Flexible Office Conference Rooms
Shared Office/Coworking space is built for business-centric professionals. Many have conference rooms you can rent by the hour that are affordable, equipped for business, and easy to access. And while many coworking spaces will help you coordinate food options; they do not require food and beverage minimums, and most allow outside catering.
Are you planning a meeting in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area? It’s Easy. The LIFT Office has 4 Professional Conference Rooms.
Through September 15th, hit the It’s Easy and use code EASY25 for a 25% discount on conference room bookings. It’s super EASY. Or call our Community Managers at 817-416-7170 and we’ll talk through your options and get you scheduled for the conference room of your choice.
The LIFTing is Easy at LIFT Office.
- Easy Access.
- Easy Scheduling.
- Easy Parking.
About the Author
Catherine Miller is the founder and co-owner of LIFT Office, a membership-based shared office, Coworking, and Meeting Space in the center of DFW in Grapevine, Texas just 3 miles from the DFW Airport.
The LIFT Office is designed with a variety of meeting rooms to meet your needs to grow your business and build your brand. Take advantage of these spaces for client meetings, presentations, team meeting and more. Community Managers are on-site to greet you and your clients.
The LIFT Office is a dynamic community of influencers, entrepreneurs, independent professionals, consultants, and freelancers. Learn more at www.theLIFToffice.com