As the frigid weather in south-central Pennsylvania continues to remind me who the boss is, I suspect other entrepreneurs in less-than-balmy winter climates are also longing for spring. I also suppose, like me, they’re daydreaming of the opportunity to once again hold client meetings at outdoor cafes and restaurant patios. While that’s a year-round luxury of business owners in more forgiving geographic regions, many of us don’t have any choice but to hold our consultations indoors. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t breathe a breath of fresh air into your meetings by choosing indoor locations that offer you a change of pace.
Best winter-friendly meeting spaces to boost the moJo of your small business meetings
- Coffee shops – For informal meetings with one or two other people, you can’t beat coffee shops. They’ve got all you need for a small, intimate meeting: cozy atmosphere, wi-fi — and caffeine. Choose a locally-owned café over a big brand’s venue to show your support of your small business community.
- Public Libraries – Many libraries allow local businesses to use publicly available meeting rooms in their facility. Some might request a fee or donation – and some rooms may require reservations in advance – but libraries offer a quiet, productivity-conducive environment where you won’t find as many distractions as some other meeting spaces.
- Coworking facilities – Coworking offices offer permenant working space and meeting rooms to startup entrepreneurs, freelancers, and other business professionals who want an innovative place to work and collaborate without being tied to a lease. Generally, you need to be a member to utilize the facilities, but don’t let that scare you. Some coworking locations offer very, very reasonable monthly rates for part-time use of their space. One near me charges just $55 monthly for a part-time membership! I’d say that’s a very fair price for having an alternate office location and a place to bring clients for meetings. If you’re wondering where to find a coworking facility near you, check out this international coworking directory.
- Chamber of Commerce facilities – If you’re a member of your local chamber of commerce, you might have free or low-cost access to occasional use of its meeting and conference rooms. Chamber offices provide a professional environment equipped with all the business necessities. While I don’t know that use of meeting space alone is a worthwhile reason to invest in membership to a chamber, it very well could make sense for you after you consider the networking and professional development opportunities that go along with it.
- Hotels – For more formal meetings and presentations with a group consisting of more than just a couple of people, you might consider reserving meeting space at a hotel. While not free or as cost effective as some of the other suggestions, hotels offer professionally-equipped meeting rooms of various sizes with the option of readily available refreshments and other meeting amenities. Prices vary depending on the size of room, date, geographic location, extras etc. In my neck of the woods, I found space for as low as $40 for a half-day rental via the Hotel Planner website.
Even if your business is located where winter still hasn’t loosened its icy grip, you still have plenty of out-of-the-office options for holding meetings. So, get out; get a change of scenery; and think spring!