If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, you’ll know how fun running a company can be. You get to exercise your creativity daily, work flexibility on your own terms and benefit from that satisfaction that comes with building something from the ground up.
But running a business can also be challenging. According to GEM national report, more than 100 million startups are launched every year, which is about 3 startups per second. It’s a competitive playing field, and to thrive in a competitive world you need to optimize all aspects of your business.
Becoming a member of a virtual office space is a fast-track way to optimize many areas of your business, especially from a client perspective. Some people assume a virtual office is just a fancy term for a business address — but it’s so, so much more than that.
A virtual office encompasses multiple benefits, both physical and remote. Affordable and flexible, they’re the ideal solution for those who want to keep business expenses to a minimum and operate in an agile way. This is especially true now that companies are starting to utilize workplace management software to their advantage, organising their business from one virtual location.
Virtual office plans typically include the following:
- A business address and telephone number
- Mailing handling and scanning
- A Virtual Receptionist service
- Meeting room usage
- Opportunity to hot desk in the space
Depending on the virtual office you choose, you might even benefit from additional things like invitations to networking events and the chance to collaborate with other members.
Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the benefits.
Boost your brand’s image and credibility
If you run a business from home, deciding what address to use for correspondence and on your website and marketing collateral can pose a problem. You don’t necessarily want to use your residential address — it can come across as unprofessional and potential clients might start to doubt your credibility.
Even though operating a business from home is perfectly normal nowadays, it’s hard to shake that perception. Also, you probably don’t want to broadcast your private home address to the entire world for privacy reasons.
Luckily for us all, virtual offices provide the perfect solution, and unlike a traditional office, don’t cost very much at all.
When you become a virtual office member, you are free to put the address on your website, in your email signature, on your business cards — the works. Having an address in a recognized and reputable location will make you seem more credible in the eyes of your customers.
One of the great things about the virtual solution is that you can choose a location anywhere in the world. For instance, you might live in Baltimore but have an office in New York… and Toronto…and London!
Virtual offices also come in handy when cultivating relationships with clients. Instead of the usual makeshift meeting in your local cafe scenario, a virtual membership enables you to rent meeting rooms within the building on an hourly basis.
Again, this works wonders for client perception and is way more convenient: you get a guaranteed space for a set duration instead of having to fight for a table in a public space. More often than not, your meeting room will be equipped with conferencing technology and high-speed internet.
Convenience and automation benefits
Virtual offices are famous for providing flexible solutions. For example, if you’re a digital nomad or live in the middle of the countryside you might not have regular access to your virtual office to pick up your mail.
This isn’t a problem. Most virtual spaces offer a mail forwarding service that allows you to pick it up from a location of your choice or get it sent straight to your home.
Mail scanning is another typical service. When you become a VO member you might be given access to an online account where you can update your details, make payments and receive online scans of your mail.
Once you’ve received a scan, you can let the office know whether you want them to dispose of the hard copy securely, archive it or forward it on to you.
Using a Live Receptionist to capture leads
Do you ever stop to think how time seems to be flitting by so fast? Same.
In today’s world, time is of the essence. Whether it’s responding to the most recent social media trend or adopting the latest tech gadget, everything is happening so quickly. Which is why response time is so important.
According to research by Harvard Business Review, companies that contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times more likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later.
Responding to leads quickly can be difficult for solopreneurs who don’t have sales teams behind them to deal with incoming queries. And that’s where a Live Receptionist (also known as Virtual Receptionist) comes in. Live Receptions can be bundled into your virtual office membership, and you only pay for the hours you think you’ll need.
A Live Receptionist’s job is to manage calls and incoming inquiries on your behalf. They keep a record of all correspondence and always ensure you’re up-to-date with any goings on. Live Receptionists free you up to focus on other areas of your business and by responding to leads quickly, help it to grow it too.
Hopefully now you’ve got a better idea of what a virtual office space is and how it can optimize your business. Inexpensive, convenient and flexible to the core, they are an invaluable asset to any business looking to grow in a competitive market.