Everyone can agree that first impressions are crucial in the business world. The first impression can involve many variables: attire, conversation, occasion, or setting for example. Whether you're having a recurring meeting with a client or pitching your business to a new contact, the space you're in plays a small but critical role in the success of the interaction.
From Coffee Shop to One Stop Shop (Scenarios)
The startup world and tech scene have glamorized coffee shops as workspaces. But if you have ever personally worked out of a coffee shop or met with a client in a coffee shop, the reality strikes that this space is less than ideal. Public spaces are best for quick, informal catch ups with existing contacts whom you already have a good rapport with.
Let's say you don't have an office or meeting space and the coffee shop won't do it… how about chain X coworking spot? This space will be great, right? You can rent a room by the hour and you might have to kick out some squatters drinking beer in your meeting room at 3pm - good thing you arrived early! Your guest signs in at the front desk and shows ID and meets you on at the elevator to walk to your meeting room with you. This scenario is a bit better. You have a private space to discuss business in without the barista frothing foam for a cappuccino 5 feet away from your printed proposal.
Shared Office Space
Final scenario... You are a member of a shared office space in a well-established building. There is a friendly community associate to greet you in the morning and is there to help your meeting run smoothly. The community associate knows the name of your guest and what time he/she will be arriving. Your guest arrives on time, checks in with building security, and heads up for the meeting. Your guest is then greeted and offered tea or coffee while they wait in a comfortable lobby. The associate at the front desk then informs you that your guest has arrived and you meet your guest in the waiting area, shake hands, and head to your dedicated meeting room for the next two hours with video conference equipment and everything you need for your presentation already ready to go.
Depending on your company's brand, growth phase, or needs, each of the three scenarios above could be a viable option for you. Having a dedicated space to have meetings in, whether that is a meeting room you rent or a physical office of your own, is a solid foundation to set you up for success. Clients and visitors often judge the space of whom they are meeting with to scope out if he/she is an established and viable business partner.
We have all knowingly or unknowingly judged a doctor by the doctor's office. If you show up for your appointment and the waiting area is messy, in disarray, and the art is slanted on the walls, you may wonder if you're in the right place, even if it's with the best doctor in town credential wise. Whether you choose to think this way or not, it's often how the human brain naturally works. So while many would argue that image isn't everything and not an indicator of future success, one must admit that a welcoming and professional space provides for a strong first impression.
Appearances aren’t everything, however, they can’t hurt when you are building a professional brand that makes clients feel more comfortable. Spend your time and energy focusing on what you do best in your business, whether that’s sales, tech, writing, accounting, or any of the other various careers out there. When you can go into work each day knowing that the professional environment is taken care of by your shared office provider, that’s one less thing for you to think about so you can focus critical energy on meaningful work. Pick a space that represents you and utilize the space to grow your business.
Is your business ready for a shared office space?