Where Do You Actually Do Business?

In today’s world of digital offices, we can virtually do business anywhere that has power, cell service and a wi-fi connection.  Most of my initial correspondence is through e-mail, from inquiries to questions to sending files and sharing website links.  That correspondence then leads to phone conversations, which then usually lead to a face-to-face meeting.  But where do we meet?

I work mostly from my home, not from a separate brick and mortar commercial space.  I perform at venues, gardens, hotels and performing arts centers.  My business does not require a physical office in a building.  Everything I do is via an appointment; there are no “walk-in shoppers.”  Even my private students are scheduled at specific dates and times.  For students, ensemble rehearsals, recording and some personal meetings, I use my home.  I have a recording studio, teaching studio, office, control room, and waiting area with dedicated restroom for my guests.

For those times where my home office is inconvenient for a meeting, I usually meet with brides and clients at locations like Panera or Starbucks or other coffee shops.  It’s relatively quiet, no servers interrupting, they serve a variety of beverages and some snacks, and most have free wi-fi.  I use the wi-fi to send contracts that we draft immediately at the meeting, and to collect deposits via credit card through Square.  Many people wonder who actually pays $4 for a cup of coffee.  If you take the time to observe, you will usually find people using the wi-fi, having a business conversation, or enjoying some social time with friends in a quiet environment without the presence of alcohol.

Restaurants are sometimes good places to meet for business, but servers can be intrusive and are not taught when to NOT interrupt a conversation.  And when did restaurants start thinking having a DJ or loud music would help their business?!?  People go to clubs to dance and drink.  People go to a restaurant to enjoy an evening out with family and/or friends, and usually want to TALK, not shout over loud music.  It also appears that almost every restaurant has TVs everywhere with volumes so loud, you have to shout to your partner across the table.  It’s as if they don’t want people to interact, but just to watch television or listen to music at deafening levels.  I can do that at home.  I go out to socialize and interact with others.  With these interruptions and distractions, we now know why the business phrase “Let’s do lunch!” has been replaced with “Let’s meet for coffee!”  Besides, I like coffee better than beer or other alcoholic drinks, especially when I have to discuss business matters.

Where do YOU actually do business and why?