Doing (virtual) business in 2011

Today I don’t want to talk about online marketing; I’d like to talk about new ways of doing business in 2011, in particular through virtual meetings.

We are all too familiar with the hassle and limitations of face-to-face business meetings. You spend hours travelling and stuck in traffic, the rising cost of petrol, running late, the stress of it all can get you down. There are also many limitations of face to face meetings on top of this, you are generally limited to a small service area to do face-to-face business, you can only include people in the one location at the one time and meetings often have to be scheduled days in advance.

What many people don’t know is that for some time there has been an alternative. Online meetings provide all the same benefits of a face-to-face meeting but without the hassle. Businesses all over the world are turning to online meetings to save them time and money.

The meetings tend to work like this. There is a host and at least one guest. The host invites the guests with a link by email. The guest launches the meeting by clicking on the link and it begins. The meetings include sound, one-way or two-way webcam and the ability to share computer screens (see screen shot).

Two popular platforms are Webex ( and Go ToMeeeting ( and both are available on monthly subscription fees of under $100.

Preston Smith, the owner of School Caliber ( estimated virtual meetings decreased their travel expenses by about 90% in 2009. US Corporation, Cisco is a big advocate of virtual meetings also (possibly because they own Webex). In 2008 they avoided travel to 17,500 meetings at an estimated saving to their business of $90 million. This also equates to about 8,700 cars off the road, a huge saving to the environment. (

After conducting many virtual meetings myself over the past 12 months, many with clients over the other side of Australia I am a huge fan of the virtual meeting and advise you not to be afraid of it, to give it a go and find out for yourself how simple to use and superior it is to the old face-to-face.