For small and newly created businesses, entertaining clients and customers is an excellent way to develop relationships and discover new business opportunities. However, tough economic times have made it harder for some companies to professionally and affordably entertain their clients. For some, entertainment is just no longer in the budget.
So is the business lunch dead? Not if you think creatively. Consider these tips, and maybe you can still afford to show your clients just how successful and appreciative your company is.
It’s very fashionable to meet for tea or coffee these days. Take advantage of trends like this to save not only money but time as well. If adult drinks are in order, take advantage of “happy hour.”
Everyone needs business these days. So if you like a particular restaurant, negotiate with the owner or manager for discounted pricing in return for your regular business. Sign up for restaurant emails and watch for special dining promotions. Join their loyalty program for special offers. Many restaurant owners like to get to know their loyal customers and are known for their generosity. After all, they are small business owners also.
Make sure that you select the restaurant location or offer a few choices which you have checked out in advance. Make sure they have a menu with items priced in line with your budget. Also, check out the location, the closer to your client the better.
Don’t pick the cool, new hot spot. Not only are these venues usually expensive, but they are also typically noisy, which makes a productive conversation difficult. Nothing is more annoying to a lot of folks than having to yell to speak or having to ask others to repeat everything that is said. These type of places can be avoided with a little bit of pre-planning and even pre-scouting.
Inviting clients to your home, even preparing a business picnic lunch outside, can be a great idea under the right circumstances. Other, more creative ways to entertain are only bound by your imagination and willingness to plan ahead.
It is more work to entertain on a budget, but it can still be effective, useful to your business and a pleasurable facet of your business life.