As a web design company owner, you do not necessarily have to have a physical location in which to meet. It’s possible for home-based business owners to have client meetings without an office. Although it’s great to have that big-city address on your website, when you get an appointment with a potential client it’s perfectly acceptable to say, “Is it alright if we meet at your business location, so I can get a better feel for what you do?” Nine times out of ten the client will think it’s a great idea, and not give it a second thought.
Many of you may be using the information contained on this site to promote an online-only business. For you, little more than a home office may be needed. But for those of you who plan to work with local clients, you will need to decide what type of office you will have.
The best, but most expensive solution, would be to have a full storefront or office in the heart of the town or city you are targeting for business. This is not always affordable; nor is it always the smartest idea in every situation. Rent can easily run $3000 a month – and that has to be paid each month out of your profits, or paid even if there are no profits or sales. I say it’s often smarter to wait until you have clients and a business model that works before committing to high rents – unless you have the money to burn.
So what are the options? Although there are many people who will work with someone who is working out of their home, most people feel a certain amount of safety and security if they feel that you have a genuine office location. An office location gives you more credibility and the illusion of stability as well. One way to satisfy their need to feel that safety and security would be to rent an apartment/office in the heart of your chosen city. These are available at reasonable rates, and can be perfect for some businesses. But of course, this is not possible in all situations.
Sharing office space with a friend, or someone in a complimentary business can be a possibility – especially if it’s a business that can refer you some business. There are office co-op situations available in many cities around the world.
Setting meetings at the client’s office, or at a coffee shop from a phone in your home, is certainly possible – especially if they think you have a genuine office location to fall back on. Believe it or not, as large enough percentage of prospects would prefer for you to go to their office to give your presentation. If you’re working from your home, just tell them you’d like to see their operation in order to get a better feel for the project.
This brings us back to my favorite solution for a local start-up: A local virtual office in the busiest part of the most populated city you can easily get to. If you haven’t seen what virtual offices offer, do a Google search and go visit one. You’ll see that you can easily start up what turns into a 6 figure business from a virtual office. The credibility of having a central big-city address on your website and business cards will more than compensate for the couple hundred dollars a month a virtual office will give you.
Don’t forget, once you do have an appointment, you are not a salesman. Position yourself as a consultant and ask a lot of questions about what THEY need. Create your proposal based on that, and you will close many more deals.
Action Tip: Decide and commit to the type of location from which you will do business, but make sure you have a business address in a busy part of town.