Over the past few years, the office industry has evolved, making strides in providing new and improved products for small businesses. Of these products, virtual offices have conceived a new era of improved remote work, with all of the amenities and features of traditional office space without the overhead and expense. Each provider will differ slightly in their offerings of virtual offices, but generally, they will give you the foundational elements needed to run a professional business; a professional business address, mail services, professional meeting space, and access to other amenities and facilities. Virtual offices can provide businesses a professional and budget-conscious solution to the evolving workforce. Here are the top 9 reasons your business should utilize a virtual office:
- Foundational Business Systems
A virtual office is not just a mailbox. Many services that are foundational to any business are typically included with a virtual office to save you time and effort:
- Phone Systems – Many virtual offices come with phone services that will allow your clients and vendors to call a business number, not your personal number. This provides room for growth when you finally decide to hire a second employee, salesperson, or operations manager.
- Copy Center– Having your own printer may have its benefits for small printing jobs, but having access to a professional copy center will win in the long run. No need to worry about buying ink or trying to solve printer drive issues all by yourself. Some virtual office offerings might even give you free printing.
- Conference Rooms-Access to conference rooms is essential if you have a business that holds weekly or monthly meetings. Conference room access also opens up the ability to do sales meetings, trainings, interviews, and classes, all while you still run your business out of your home. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop or rushing to find a space to hold your last-minute meeting, conference room access with a virtual office will bring peace of mind.
- Flexible Working-At Home or the Office
One of the many perks of owning a business is a flexible schedule. Recent trends in coworking and virtual offices have made it more and more efficient to work where you want when you want. Using a virtual office will give you access to office facilities where you can go and get away from barking dogs for a while and focus on your work. Many facilities will have access to the coworking or cubicle areas.
Many businesses make a significant mistake when choosing a business address, such as using their home address, a P.O. box, or a retail storefront mailbox. Those options lack the professionalism and credibility of the business address provided by a virtual office in case your clients or vendors decide to look you up. When someone Googles your business address, you want them to see a commercial office building, not your personal residence. Business cards, your website, and business directories will all display your business address, so you want to make it a professional business address.
When you choose to use your home address for your business, you may run into legal and contractual restrictions.
- Does your city’s code prohibit or restrict you from running a business from your home?
- Does your HOA have a restriction preventing you from doing business out of your home?
- Would it be a material breach of your lease if you use your residence to conduct commercial operations?
Using a virtual office address will reassure you that you are complying with all of the legal and regulatory requirements that go into owning a business.
An excellent first impression with a client is essential. The main thing that makes your business appear to outsiders as being real is separating the business from your personal life. This is extremely hard for solopreneurs or companies just starting out. If your business address is separate from your personal address, it signifies your business is professional. If your meetings are in a different location than your local coffee shop, where everybody knows your name because it is a mile from your house, that is professional. If your business’s phone number is separate from your mobile number, it signifies your business’s professionalism. It is essential that the business appears to be more than just the owner that is starting it. The company is its own entity with its own resources and a separate identity.
Credibility is your client’s, partner’s, and vendor’s perception of you. Does having no address on your business card communicate to a potential partner a lack of commitment to the business? Does a P.O. Box or a retail mailbox communicate to a potential customer you are not a fly by night operation? Does asking a potential employee to do the interview at the coffee shop signal your business is fully funded and can afford payroll? If your operation is run professionally, then it will be more likely to be perceived as credible.
What if your business isn’t ready for the expenses and overhead of a private office? What if your business plan is designed in such a way it might never need a private office? A virtual office gives you most of the benefits of a private office without the expense. Undoubtedly, businesses need to be as profitable as possible to grow effectively and intelligently. This means that budgeting, accounting, and profitability are among the most important factors to consider when operating a business. Many virtual office providers will be a one-stop-shop for business services, which can save you a big chunk of change in the long run.
- Rightsize your Business
Your business is thriving, revenue is growing, you are hiring more employees, and it is time for a new office suite. Most business centers will have resources available when you decide to grow into an office suite, and many centers have multiple locations from which to choose. You can start with a virtual office, but then you can then conveniently move into an office. The flexibility and futureproofing of your business address are crucial to seamlessly expand or contract to your business needs while keeping costs in mind.
Your business is powerful no matter where you work, where you meet, and what business address you use. However, business owners often need all the help they can get. Increased privacy, savings, credibility, and professionalism will only boost your confidence, which will help your business thrive. The belief that your business has its business infrastructure needs covered will free up your mind to focus on growing your business. In conclusion, virtual offices provide your business with a competitive advantage. Imagine you are at a business networking event, and a potential customer is roaming the crowd. Your competitor hands that potential customer a business card with no business address and asks for a meeting with that customer next week at the nearest coffee shop. Then you hand the customer your business card with a professional business address and ask for a meeting next week at “your office.” Who is most likely to win that business?