May 12, 2014 | Jennifer Goodwyn
Many small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to keep their overhead down, while maintaining productivity and financial growth. One way to keep costs down is to use a virtual office, which provide businesses with the opportunity to work remotely, while still enabling them to meet clients in a professional setting. How you use utilize a virtual office depends on the demands of your business, and what works for one company may not work for you. Below are some things to take into consideration before deciding whether or not a virtual office is the right choice for your home-based business.
P.O Box vs. Business Address
Many business owners who work from home use a P.O Box instead of their home address in order to protect the privacy of their personal life. Though a P.O Box is better than using a home address, it's not the best way to enhance your company's image. By utilizing the services of a virtual office, you'll have an address that's more professional than a P.O Box, without the risks associated with using your home address. For companies who work strictly through mail and may not wish to use any other services offered by a virtual office, many virtual offices services provide address-only packages for a reduced fee.
Opportunities for In-Person Meetings
By utilizing a virtual office service, you'll have more opportunities for face-to-face meetings. While meeting in a coffee shop is suitable for casual meetings among co-workers, it's not ideal for meetings with clients and prospects. By utilizing a virtual office service, you'll have the ability to schedule meetings in a professional meeting room and have your visitor greeted in your company's name by a professional receptionist. Many virtual office services also provide access to boardrooms and private offices in their individual packages.
Live Receptionist vs. Voicemail
While it's true that a simple and low-cost answering machine can take messages for you, research shows people are more likely to respond to a live, human voice. Studies show that some people simply hang up when confronted by an answering machine; this ‘lost' business can be saved by utilizing reception services offered by many virtual office providers. The idea of using a live receptionist in lieu of an answering machine is more than just avoiding lost business, it's about maintaining a professional image – having a human voice reassures customers that your business is legitimate and accessible.
Less Risk, More Freedom
Most virtual office services don't require security deposits or leases. Ideal for businesses that are just starting out or companies that enjoy the freedom of moving from city to city or state to state whenever they'd like, a virtual office puts the freedom back in the hands of business owners and entrepreneurs. With a virtual office, you'll have the freedom to come and go as you please, giving you the opportunity to conduct business in other areas and save money for a time when a traditional office may be needed.
If the thought of paying for rent, receptionists, and employees is daunting, and the idea of having to deal with signing and possibly breaking the terms of a lease seems like a headache, a virtual office may be the best solution for the sanity of you and your employees and the longevity of your company.