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Home based business

How do can I hold client meetings when running a home-based business?

While running a business from home allows you to keep costs down and increase your personal flexibility, trying to impress a client when you’re working out of a dingy back shed or a cluttered home office isn’t always easy – particularly if you have trouble keeping things neat and tidy.

 

 

There are a number of solutions:

  • Keeping a special, clear area in your house that is only used for meetings will ensure you can meet with clients in comfort, and keep the clutter of the home office behind closed doors.
  • Using a serviced office or meeting space for client meetings does cost money, but it will show to your clients that you are a serious and substantial business.
  • Pick a quiet local cafe or restaurant that you can make your regular meeting place. If you can find one with wireless internet, all the better.
  • Hold meetings at your clients’ workplace. They’ll love the fact you’re coming to them.

Finally, don’t be afraid to just hold meetings at home, even if the home office looks a bit messy. Your clients will always appreciate that the money saved on serviced offices and special meeting rooms is helping to keep your prices down.
 

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profitclinic
As a 28-year veteran of running home-based businesses, I've found that these factors tend to make a huge difference in this area:

1. It depends on the type of business you run — in my case, specialist consulting services in profit-related aspects of SMEs and direct sales companies.

2. It depends on the services you offer — in my case, marketing, branding, sales, advertising, productivity and personal development, backed by professional support services, training and publishing to help clients implement my unique, proprietary intellectual property.

3. It also depends a great deal on who your clients are: what types of businesses do THEY run?

All of my clients become personal friends — but business is NOT transacted on the basis of friendship. It's based on integrity and trust. (The friendships actually arise from their experience of these characteristics over time, not the other way around.)

So I have a client who will fly regularly from Sydney to Melbourne, then drive two hours down the coast and meet with me in a bistro, deli or bakery, or on a beach, for several hours because he finds it not only enjoyable, but regenerative and therapeutic — the beautiful drives (coast, hills, farmlands, wineries, etc), the lifestyle, the relaxed pace, the invigorating discussions, the spectacular food, etc.

Another client would call around during Wimbledon at 3 am for an after-game meeting because he was super-charged from the tennis, mentally and physically, and found my dining room — with me in my pyjamas — a refreshing and stimulating venue for problem-solving and planning sessions for his business when he was best equipped to handle the intensity he needed.

Another client would fly me weekly to Adelaide for an all-day meeting each Monday for personal tuition and coaching in the morning, then lunch followed by brainstorming and masterminding in the afternoon.

It helps that no-one combines the unusual experience, skill sets, industry knowledge, resources, etc that I do, so I'm seen by them as a "secret weapon" in the success of their businesses, and they prize the low-key, out-of-the-usual venues and environments we enjoy for our meetings. In turn, most of my clients stay with me for at least a decade or more, and finding new clients is never a challenge: all have been referred to me by existing or former clients, or attracted by my online presence and reputation.

It should go without saying that none of this happened overnight. Consistency, safety, value, reliability and exclusivity have been critical factors as well.
profitclinic , February 28, 2011
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