According to a new survey by the Meetings Mean Business coalition, face-to-face meetings are a high priority for small business owners, who in 2017, will continue to invest in travel for in-person meetings, industry conferences and trade shows.
For me, these results come as no surprise. As the founder and CEO of a rapidly growing business with 130 employees and more than 4,000 customers across the globe, investing in face-to-face meetings has been a linchpin of success. It’s helped us expand our customer base, enhance our software and ultimately grow our business. Whether we’re sitting around a table in our Washington office, traveling to attend a national conference, or actively participating in an annual skill-building event, meetings have been critical to the work we do.
Like so many small businesses, we often find ourselves competing with large corporations and brand names for new business opportunities. By meeting in-person, we establish personal connections and relationships that provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace and enhance our ability to demonstrate thought leadership. Internally, we can better engage and train team members while brainstorming new ideas. MMB’s survey results demonstrate that we are not alone.
The survey results offer a snapshot of 300 small business owners, who represent 24 industries, including technology. More than two thirds of respondents agree that in-person meetings yield a healthy return on investment. Among those who specialize in technology, that number is noticeably higher, at 95 percent. That’s quite impressive given that many of these individuals not only rely on technology and virtual communications; they create them. Which may be the reason why tech businesses are known for hosting (and participating in) some of the largest conferences and events in the U.S.
We rely on technology to make us more productive, and make communication easier. Still at the end of the day building relationships, sharing new developments, and negotiating sales opportunities is best accomplished face-to-face.