A recent Meetings Mean Business survey finds that small-business owners find face-to-face meetings to be good for their bottom lines.
Nine out of 10 said they plan to spend at least as much in 2017 on travel for meetings as they did this year. Why? More than three-quarters of the survey’s total 300 small-business owner respondents said in-person meetings result in a healthy return on investment.
In-person meetings are especially good for facilitating partnerships, said 82 percent of respondents. Other key actions best done face-to-face include negotiating agreements (75 percent); finding potential new hires (71 percent); networking (68 percent); exploring new business opportunities (60 percent); and training new employees (59 percent). Other activities that make meetings worth their while are connecting with current and prospective customers and their communities, and attending and presenting at educational events.
The ROI for small tech companies is even higher—a full 100 percent said in-person meetings yield a return on their investment. Ninety-one percent said meeting customers and presenting at conferences improves their ability to run their businesses. On average, tech business respondents estimated they allocated 21 percent of their operating budget toward travel and attendance at in-person meetings and events in 2016. Fifty-five percent indicated they will likely spend more on travel next year, while 39 percent reported that they will spend about the same on travel for meetings in 2017 as they did this year.
“As the founder and CEO of a small business, I can vouch for the fact that investing in face-to-face meetings provides a return on investment and helps grow the bottom line,” says Dan Berger, CEO of Social Tables, a Washington, D.C.–based small event technology company. “Meetings have helped Social Tables expand our customer base, enhance our software, and ultimately grow our business. It’s a competitive advantage we have used to build relationships with new clients, motivate employees, and demonstrate thought leadership. Meetings are simply part of the fabric of our company.”