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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Online Meetings, The Board Room Alternative
As business owners, there are many, many times when we really need to be two places at once. Especially when it comes to trying to find time to meet with clients all over the country, and still keep an eye on business operations.
Fortunately there is a much simpler alternative to making a clone of ourselves: an online meeting.
I know it may sound a bit intimidating, especially for the not so tech savvy. And it certainly doesn’t have the same professional and comforting feel a client gets when meeting with you face-to-face, so it’s not something you want to replace all of your personal meetings with.
Consider the fact that an online meeting could include all the clients (or even investors) you intended to meet with individually regarding a new product/service at the same time, which would significantly reduce the time required of you to get the word out.
Or you could reach all the staff at your multiple business locations about a new policy, without having to travel to each location. And let’s not forget that pulling off such a technological marvel would probably significantly impress your clientele/investors.
So, what does it take to pull off an online meeting? First and foremost, it takes a high-speed internet connect, both on your end and the recipient’s end. Otherwise the video conference will not stream as nicely, there will be delays, and the overall presentation just won’t have the pizazz you intend. Fortunately, these days, most businesses and home computers have a high-speed internet, as dial-up is now the stone age.
There are many companies to look into when searching for an online meeting host site. When googling to shop for a provider, be sure to search both online meeting and web conferencing businesses. Prices range, but you can expect to pay at least $100 for five to ten people to tune into your online meeting. That definitely beats flying, even to see one client a state or two away.
Of course, what would an online meeting be without video? Not a very good meeting, so you will need to have a webcam (which typically run around $50) connected to your computer. It shouldn’t be necessary for your clients/investors/staff to have streaming video of themselves, but they are going to want to see you during the conference.
And, in order to answer questions and further communicate with your meeting participants, you will need to have either a chat or instant messaging system enabled through the online meeting, or connect everyone via telephone conference call as well.
If you’re still a bit intimidated by the whole idea, most online meeting service providers offer a free trial period. Use this time to try out different providers to find one that fits your needs and capabilities, familiarize yourself with the system, and produce mock meetings with your staff to iron our the bumps.
When it comes to owning a business, anything that can save you time is always a benefit, and online meetings are no exception.
• Entrepreneur.com: Getting On Board With Online Meetings
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