Finding a free meeting place to conduct business is only a phone call away for most businesspeople. Depending on the resources required for the meeting, and the date and time the room is needed, there are several options available for a resourceful professional seeking an economical solution. Calling on a business ally with available office space is a good place to start when looking for a favor.
The local public library in most cities will allow small businesses to meet in one of their meeting rooms. Some libraries have rules about the use of their rooms. For instance, the library administrators typically frown on overt peddling, but are alright with business cards being handed out. To gain access to many library meeting rooms, a business may have to convince the person in charge that they are providing a public service by meeting in the room. For instance, a CPA could use a room to meet prospective clients and provide some free tax advice to justify use of the room.
Solicit the Business CPA or Attorney for a Favor
Many professionals have conference rooms or office space that is available after hours, or by reservation. As a paying client, the first place to go to ask for a favor is the CPA or attorney used by the company.
Nonprofit Companies, Churches and Community Centers
Most churches and nonprofit agencies have meeting rooms they will let the public use. It makes sense to inquire about meeting space in a church connected to a company representative. Other nonprofit associations also have access to free rooms they will allow the public to use. Churches and nonprofit agencies are always interested in cultivating new members and donors, and thanking the people who support them.
Alma Mater Options
Schools and colleges are another possible source of meeting space. Alumni are granted special privileges by most schools. For sorority and fraternity members, checking out meeting space with the local branch of your sorority or fraternity is also a smart idea.
Bartering is a common practice that allows small businesspeople to benefit from a cash-free exchange. If a business offers a product or service that would be attractive to exchange for the use of office space, then bartering for meeting space is a practical solution. There are also bartering clubs that cater to businesses. Some bartering clubs charge a fee to join. The advantage of using a barter club over seeking out your own bartering partners is that a barter business allows an organization more flexibility and opportunity to trade with many different businesses.
Coffee Shops and Restaurants
Many coffee shops and restaurants welcome small business meetings. The meeting space is often offered for free, with the expectation that the group will be purchasing food and drinks. Technically, use of the space is free, but the business owner should realize what the expectation is and then decide how to proceed.