Do you see clients in person to provide your services? Some people are comfortable meeting clients in their home. Others find this awkward or inappropriate for a variety of reasons:
- Children at home
- Pets at home
- Stress of housekeeping perfection
- Decorating needs updating
- Noisy neighborhood
- Not the right space
- Not professional looking
- Invades your privacy
- Inconvenient location
- Parking issues
So where can you meet your clients if you aren’t ready to officially rent space or use your home? There are several alternatives worth investigating.
Free Public Options
- Many public libraries have small rooms with doors where you can meet clients
- Starbucks and other coffee shops are great public spaces depending on the service you provide
- Some Barnes and Noble bookstores have coffee shops too (usually a version of Starbucks)
- Panera Bread shops are also great meeting places and there are other more upscale fast food places where you can conduct meetings
- If you are a Chamber of Commerce member, sometimes they have rooms available – for free (or a fee)
- People you know may have conference rooms that are often empty. They might allow you to use the space on an “as-needed” basis when available at no charge. These could be within corporations or small businesses like law offices, accountants, etc.
- Think of the professionals you know who might have unused office space they would be willing to offer you on a temporary basis until you build up a clientele.
Part Time Office Options
- Depending on your business, you may know other professionals who have extra space in their office. For example, if you are a health-related practitioner, you might ask your chiropractor, acupuncturist, nutritionist, even day spas, if they have a space you could use temporarily. Often you can pay by the hour or share a portion of your fee with them.
- Office co-ops are springing up all over as they become more popular. They provide office space and conference rooms on a part time basis. You can usually get space whenever you need it or pay a regular but small fee to have a space always available.
Switch to “Phone-Only” Service
In addition to all of these options, you can also just decide to begin doing your sessions completely over the phone. There was a point I was doing everything in-person and had a big fear that switching over to the phone would make my clients not want to work with me. I did not find that to be the case at all. This is especially true for new clients who didn’t know that I’d ever offered in-person sessions.
Your Client Attraction Assignment
Are you looking for office space on a tight or non-existent budget? If so, think about all the professionals you know who might have a conference room or extra office space not currently being used who you can approach.
In addition, this is a great request for your BNI group. Be sure to leverage your networking to find a solution. You will likely be very surprised at how many options you turn up when you reach out to people.