If you’re a solo home-based entrepreneur or are just starting out in business, holding meetings with clients can be a bit awkward. It may be that your ‘home office’ comprises simply of a clear space at the kitchen table, your pets rule the roost and/or may cause your clients to feel uncomfortable or set off allergies (for example: dogs, cats, amphibians, arachnids etc. etc.), or your home doesn’t accurately portray the company image you wish to convey.
- If you’re a coach or therapist
- You’d rather your clients didn’t know where you live (for data protection, your own protection etc.)
- If you want to keep home and work totally separate
Coffee bars can therefore seem to be perfect alternative. So, if you’re using a coffee bar to meet clients, what should you look for? Here are five questions you need to ask yourself!
Question 1: Does it match your image?
You need to pick a coffee bar that accurately portrays your company image. This isn’t limited to general appearances – it also means pricing, ethics and morals generally.
Question 2: What type of meeting?
The next thing you need to know is does it actually match the type of meeting you’re having? For example, you may be a coach that deals with relationship issues or past trauma, meeting a client for the first time. You may not by getting too deep into their personal problems in this first meeting, but how will your clients feel and how willing will they be to open up, if they’re worried about being overheard? This also applies to meetings where you’re discussing private and sensitive information generally – even if it’s a new line of products or services that are being introduced. Remember, confidentially is crucial – and clients may worry about walls having ears!
Think practicalities for this question. How good is the lighting? How clean is everything – including the decor and furniture? What about the noise levels – are they playing loud music or are the acoustics in the building just wrong, due to high ceilings etc.? Do mothers and young children frequent it and is there the potential for shouting, crying and children running around distracting you?
Question 4: How considerate are you being to others?
When you meet in a coffee bar you have to consider those around you too. Think about the noise levels you’re producing. Will you want to show your client a video or audio? Will there be several of you at one table? If so, you may want to consider asking the coffee shop if they have a separate room or booth that’s set back from the others that you could use.
Question 5: Are you being a good patron?
If you find a coffee bar that fits your criteria, become a REALLY good patron of it – whether you have clients with you or not. Get to know the staff individually by name, leave tips and ensure you ALWAYS order something.
Finally, it goes without saying that you should let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting – especially if you’re a female meeting a male client. Not only is there the safety aspect, but you also don’t want anyone to get the wrong impression… especially if you live in a ‘close-knit’ community!
How successful do you find using coffee bars as meeting places? What requirements do you use to select the one that’s most suitable for you? Do you go on price, location or do you use some other criteria to select the best coffee bar for you? Why not share your experiences and advice in the comments box below!
Images courtesy of Chaloemphan & punsayaporn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net