By Joanie Ogg CTC, MCC
Working from home is wonderful! However, there will be times when you simply must meet clients somewhere outside of your home or at their home, office or someplace neutral. I don’t know about you, but I am not comfortable bringing business associates into my home. I consider my home to be just that, HOME. I would not trade having my office at home for all the money in the world. The convenience factor having a home-based office is wonderful, however it may not be the ideal place to meet with clients.
Another factor to consider if you wish to have clients come to your home is the insurance factor. Heaven forbid that your client might trip upon entering your home and hurt themselves badly. If they should decide to sue (it has happened) you had better have insurance coverage. Your insurance agent should be able to assist you with coverage.
Here are some ideas for places you might not automatically think of where you could consider hooking up with clients.
Your local chamber of commerce:
Believe it or not, some chamber offices have meeting rooms that are even equipped with computers and other office equipment that might be useful for your meeting.
Hard to believe but yes, some banks can actually be an option for a meeting place. Smaller local banks are probably your best target. Many banks have conference rooms that are hardly ever used. Next time you are in your bank, ask and see if it is possible to make this type of arrangement.
The local library:
Many local libraries have small rooms that are available to use for a meeting with clients. As a community member (and a library card carrying citizen) you should be able to reserve a room and with branches in many cities, this makes a good choice to make it convenient for your clients.
A co-working facility:
This is a very cool option. Co-working has become very popular as a solution for those small business owners looking to just pay a drop-in-fee to access a professional office space. They have conference rooms, office equipment and will often rent out an office space for the day or week. I did a Google search here in San Diego and here is just one of many pages of options that showed up.
A restaurant banquet room:
Have you ever noticed those rooms off in a corner of many restaurants where there is no one sitting? Well, these are often available for free usage as long as you order some food and drinks. This is a great option for putting together a gathering of customers to promote a special cruise or leisure package.
A Virtual Office:
A virtual office can be a great tool for small businesses that want to limit their start-up costs and establish themselves with a professional image. Additionally, you might find it will enhance productivity. Essentially, a virtual office acts as an extension of the business’s physical presence, which for the purposes of this article is your home! An assistant at the “virtual” location handles incoming calls and answers them in your company name. They are set up to receive and forward email if you wish, snail mail and of course the occasional outdated fax option. You pick and choose the options you need and voila, you have a staff and a location to use for meeting clients.
A Google search for “virtual office” in San Diego brought me a long list of options.
No matter where you choose to meet with your clients, be it a Starbucks, local restaurant, library, hotel or perhaps in your home or your clients home, the important thing is to feel confident, professional and comfortable with yourself and your surroundings. Your attitude, knowledge and love of travel are sure to make the sell.
|Joanie Ogg CTC MCC|
|Joanie Ogg Marketing Group|
Joanie Ogg is a thirty-five year veteran of the travel industry and has been involved with the independent contractor evolution since 1988. She is the principal of Joanie Ogg Marketing Group, which specializes in consulting and speaking on the topic of Home-Based Travel. She also provides marketing and sales for wide variety of products under the umbrella HomeBasedTravelAgent.com.
A demonstrated industry leader, Joanie most recently served as the President of the National Association of Commissioned Travel Agents (NACTA) and TravelSellers. She and her husband Tom acquired NACTA in 1996 and sold it to The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) in 2000. Joanie’s tenure in the travel industry includes owning and operating one of the first successful host agency models. She has owned and operated several storefront travel agencies (both commercial and leisure), as well as a Hawaii wholesale tour company.
Her decades of success have garnered her numerous accolades over the years. Her accomplishments have been recognized by receipt of two Lifetime Achievement Awards from major trade groups, being named as one of the “100 Most Powerful Women in Travel” by Travel Agent magazine on several occasions, voted as “Travel Agent of the Year” by the readers of Travel Trade magazine, and has been recognized by many other industry organizations throughout her tenure in the industry. In 2008 Joanie Ogg was inducted into the CLIA Hall of Fame, an honor held by some of the most influential executives in the travel industry.
Joanie is a Master Cruise Counselor (MCC) and a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC). Joanie has co-authored two popular travel industry books for cruise specialists and home-based travel agents and has authored hundreds of travel trade articles. She has inspired tens of thousands of travel agents attending her presentations at trade events, cruise seminars, international trade gatherings and numerous local educational venues throughout the United States. With a time-honored background and forward-looking vision, she is often featured as a speaker at many of the travel industry’s major conferences and events. Joanie’s speaking talents are widely sought as a travel industry emcee by the most recognized travel organizations. She has emceed such events as Cruise-A-Thons, ASTA’s CruiseFest, The Trade Show, The Travel Institute Forum and all of NACTA’s National and International Conferences.