I have been a full-time business person for 28 out of my 35 years in service. One thing that has differentiated my company from the tons of others is a professional office meeting space. For years I have enjoyed a great first impression opportunity when meeting prospective clients. And also a great followup space for discussing final event details.
Back in the day I recall constantly using my office and meeting face to face with most all of my clients. Personal interaction was crucial in earning the trust and ultimately the business of customers. People wanted to physically meet and speak with the person performing at their event. In many cases they also wanted to see the gear, the lighting, the photo booth etc….
In the recent years with the millennial generation filling the 25-35 year old prime wedding age category I have noticed a precipitous decline in the amount of phone calls and face to face interactions. Things are becoming much more routine with e-mail, text and Skype style dialog being the prominent means of communication. Quite simply, this generation has grown up with smart phones, amazon and instant gratification. As a whole they have less patience and are not willing to invest excess time in the investigatory process. They are also notoriously frugal and simplistic.
Ok, so now let’s throw in a global pandemic and national financial economic collapse and things are changing and changing fast. So now we will explore the featured question of this blog article. Is a office still necessary?
Well, the answer is simply….. “It Depends.” It totally depends on several factors including your regional location, your business model, your customer base and your previous numbers. Look at the numbers. If you have a office ask yourself, how often are you using it? How many clients are asking for Skype, FaceTime our phone meetings?
To offer a answer to this question I am going to use my personal situation as a model for this discussion. I have seen a big decline over the past 3 years as to how much I use my office. I spend a good deal of time doing paperwork and files but I’m meeting with less clients there. Many more would rather meet locally or don’t require the personal face to face option. Let’s explore the best options for you…..
- Meeting clients at a Starbucks or similar public option: This might be one of the most popular for DJs to meet with clients. It can be convenient but I find 2 significant flaws. It’s not private and can be a disruptive atmosphere. Also it’s not a professional first impression. Even if this is where your clients suggest to meet it still is not a great way to show you are a serious business provider.
- Skype / FaceTime or similar online option: This was already a popular option for millennials but now with the virus shutdowns a entire culture of online communication is about to explode in popularity. Children are learning online, people are working from home, NASCAR just had the first ever I-Racing event and Mobile Beat even just held their conference online due to cancellation. Many people are going to acclimate to this option. Look for it to grow fast in popularity and be able to adapt accordingly.
- Phone interview option: A old fashioned option but still effective. This can really test your salesmanship as you are selling the invisible in many ways. A great way to enhance a phone conversation is to email your clients video and photo examples and then walk them through the visuals as you interview.
- Looking for a lower priced office space: With this economic mess will certainly come lower rent opportunities. If you want to maintain a office space simply shop around and see if you can get into a different space and save some money in the process. Also, be willing to downsize. To the current 25-35 y/o subset “LESS IS MORE.”
- Pay per use office space: This is a great option and one that I am currently exploring for myself. There are offices that will lease you a professional office space which you can rent for 5 days a month, 10 days a month and so on. There is a receptionist, a series of offices and conference rooms. Your clients walk into a professional atmosphere and meet you in a nice space. Downfalls are that you can’t customize the space and usually the office is not very large. Some groups actually have multiple office locations and allow you to switch locations to make local meetings more of a viable possibility. This can be tremendously convenient for a couple who may not be willing to drive 45 minutes to your home base. Question is, are you willing to drive out to them?
So, if you have an office space or would like to get into one this economic downturn will present some options and openings. Not every downturn is a negative. Sometimes these situations bear great opportunity for those open-minded and willing to search. You never know what you will find as long as you look.