Virtual meetings are a relatively new phenomenon. Several decades ago, virtual meetings were pretty much unheard of. If you needed to have a meeting with clients or employees, you conducted it in the workplace or in a mutually agreed location off-site. The notion of holding a video conference would not have been possible. But times have changed and these days video conferencing is cheap and easy to organise. Even small businesses with very little working capital can use video conferencing as often as is necessary. So what are the advantages of video conferencing and why is it a useful tool for small businesses?
Meetings are a normal part of the daily routine for businesses of all sizes. Meetings enable staff to discuss important issues, brainstorm, and deal with the day-to-day running of the business. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible for key members of staff to be present in the room for an important meeting, so small businesses need to have a Plan B in place for such an eventuality.
Telephone conferences are a useful way of including someone in a meeting who isn’t able to be there in person. Employees who work from home may not want to make the tedious journey into the office purely for the purpose of attending a meeting. Instead, they can dial into the telephone conference and participate from home. This method also works if a member of staff is working in a branch office or if you need to have a group discussion with a client in a different country.
Most small businesses are looking to save money on every front in order to preserve cash flow. Since technology is often a huge drain on the annual budget, one way to save money is to utilise as many free tools as possible.
Free video conferencing tools such as Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts are just a few of the methods you have at your disposal if you want to conduct virtual meetings. As long as you have a decent internet connection and each person has an internet enabled device, you can have a meeting up and running in minutes. Anyone can take part, even if they are in a different country, so it is a cost effective solution for small businesses who want to hold meetings with staff or clients in multiple locations.
It isn’t always appropriate to hold an important meeting over Skype. Internet connections are sometimes poor and multiple participants may find it difficult to participate over a Skype phone if the connection keeps dropping out. You may also take the view that Skype isn’t the best medium for conducting important negotiations with new clients.
An alternative to using free video conferencing tools if you don’t want to invest in expensive IT equipment and software packages is to rent a conferencing suite for a couple of hours instead. This solution is ideal for smaller businesses as the IT infrastructure is already up and running and all you need to do is turn up at the allotted time.
There will come a point where you may think it is worth investing in video conferencing equipment for your business. Often this type of equipment can pay for itself fairly quickly by reducing the amount of travel time employees have to undertake in order to be present at important meetings. However, it is important to remember that technology moves on very fast these days, so what is cutting edge now could easily be obsolete in a couple of years and your expensive equipment will need to be replaced. So take advice from a company such as Videonations before you invest.