Question: I don't feel comfortable meeting clients in my home. Where can I meet with them but still look professional without spending a lot of money?
Answer: For occasional one-on-one meetings, restaurants represent neutral ground and a chance to capitalize on the social ritual of sharing a meal. But if you're meeting with groups, need more privacy or need to make a PowerPoint presentation, consider professional suites. These are located in virtually every city, large or small, and provide meeting rooms that you can rent on an hourly basis. The cost of renting a room from a suite company varies by community, but expect to spend less than $100 for a three-hour meeting.
The Regus Group operates four brands--Regus, HQ Global Workplaces, Stratis and Business Meeting Places--that have 3,700 meeting rooms in 60 countries. Their meeting room facilities come in different configurations, such as boardrooms, conference rooms, interview rooms, training rooms, data rooms and rooms suitable for audio, video or web conferencing. Other companies, such as Office Suites Plus, operate in Eastern states. There are many locally owned suite facilities as well. One place to look for these suites is in the Open Directory Project, which lists rooms available for rent worldwide under "Business Services".
If you need to hold meetings frequently, you may also be able to make arrangements with a small law or accounting firm to use its conference room. If you can afford it, joining a private social club and using its restaurant or private meeting rooms may offer a measure of prestige along with convenience.
Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' new book is The Best Home Businesses for People 50+.