Why you shouldn't host business meetings at Starbucks
and when you should
We have nothing against Starbucks. Their coffee is pretty good, the ambiance is fine, everything looks stunning - it’s the perfect place to take a date or have a business lunch.
But coffeeshops are the last place you want to hold a business meeting. I’m sure you can name a couple of reasons yourself, but humor me and read on… (or skip to our negotiation guide: Negotiate your way to a better Deal )
Privacy? What’s that?
If it’s your first business meeting, a coffee shop might just be the place to go. It borders the informal, thus promoting a more relaxed mood. Considering the available space, you won’t be able to bring your whole team with you - and neither will your future business partner. That’s a good thing. You’ll find it easier to relate to each other and build the basis of a relationship - not between companies, but between people. That’s nice.
However, anything beyond that is inadvisable. You can’t discuss mergers and contract clauses in a coffeeshop - not if you’re under an NDA or would like to keep things private.
Resources vs Effort
If you’ve ever worked with an Intranet, you know how complicated it can be to pull a document from the network… when you’re not at the office. But maybe you don’t need a document. Maybe it’s a colleague who has more info, or could be a better match for your client. Unless you plan in advance and bring them along, you can’t really bring other people to the discussion if it takes place in a coffee shop.
To commit or not to commit?
No sense in beating around the bush. You hold business meetings in your building because it looks and feels more official. It demands commitment and action - not only because this is the norm - hosting a discussion on your premises gives you a bit of a psychological advantage. But we’ve covered this in previous blog posts.
If coffee shops are great for first meetings, keep important encounters closer to your own office. Unless it’s… aesthetically challenged. Because, in the end...
It’s all about status
It all boils down to the message you want to send - are you a big player, with concrete results in mind and a rigorous approach to business? Or are you the laid-back type who focuses more on the relationship between the business partners and less on the deals themselves?
Both signals have their benefits and downsides, so it is really up to you to decide what’s best in your case. Just try to be consistent about it. If experience is what you’re aiming for, than offer that to most of your clients. Word gets out fast and you’ll be attracting people who appreciate this kind of approach.
Over to you
Where do you usually hold your meetings? We'd love to hear (ok, read) why.