How to project the right professional image, without paying for expensive office space.
It’s one of the classic business archetypes – the entrepreneur who starts a business in a spare room, and ends up a global player. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, for example, famously began Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in a garage.
Such stories sound great with hindsight, but not every spare-room business does so well. First impressions count, and these include your business address, if and how your phone is answered, and where you meet potential customers and investors.
Small business owners know all that, of course; the dilemma is what to do about it. An impressive office costs money. How can you ensure those vital first impressions are positive, without saddling yourself with too many overheads? For many companies, the answer is to go virtual. You assume the presence of a more established company, at a fraction of the price of leasing prestigious office space.
The many reasons to go virtual
Virtual offices allow home-based, start-up and small businesses to project a great image, without paying for expensive physical office space. For a set price a month, you gain a professional office address, a dedicated business phone number which is answered by a local receptionist, and post and call management.
Another option is to use serviced offices. These provide fully-equipped workspace for 1 to 100+ people with options to suit different budgets and needs. Depending on the provider, you can rent serviced physical space by the hour, the day or for longer periods of time.
In our experience, people use our virtual and serviced offices for a variety of reasons. Why they use them governs how they use them, so it’s a good idea to consider which features would best suit your business.
Many SMEs want a prestigious address
For example, our most popular virtual office locations globally are New York City’s Chrysler Building, London’s Berkeley Square and Sydney’s Citigroup Centre. Such an address on your letterhead can work wonders for your image, and is an impressive place to meet clients and investors.
Some want a more professional image
For home-based companies, the nightmare scenario of a call from a major potential investor being answered by your three-year-old son is all too common. With a virtual office, you can have calls answered by a trained receptionist.
Some use virtual offices for the flexibility
You can travel around the country, meeting clients or marketing your ideas, secure that the phone is being answered professionally.
Others want to lose the distractions
As well as being costly, running an office consumes time. You have to manage support staff; equip and maintain the office; sign for mail deliveries... the list goes on. Using a virtual office means someone else does those tasks for you, freeing you to focus on core activities.
It’s a way to expand into new markets
Many SMEs use a virtual office to establish a presence in another city. It is a great way to project a presence before you are ready to physically set up shop there.
Some use a virtual office as a permanent arrangement; others use it as a staging post
They may then upgrade to a campus office (a private work area in an open-plan environment) or a serviced office. If you base your virtual office at a location that offers campus or serviced offices, you can grow without having to change your business address or find new premises.
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