A virtual office can be the perfect solution for entrepreneurs considering business start-ups or expansion overseas, providing an additional business location without the risks and costs of physically setting up an office in another country. Unlike a serviced office, a virtual office offers you some of the elements of an office, without physical presence. Here are eight reasons to use a virtual office.
An Overseas Office without Leaving Your Chair
In essence, with a virtual office you subscribe to business services that allow you to continue running your company from your current location, whether that be an existing office or your home, whilst giving your customers the perception that you also have offices overseas.
A virtual office provides you with a foothold in a country, or region, without the efforts, costs and risks of renting or buying office space in a new location. If you are setting up a new business, testing a new market, or expanding your current portfolio, then immediately setting up a permanent office is not advisable as the financial risks of establishing an office are high. With a virtual office, you eliminate these office costs during start-up.
An Office with no Overheads
If you need a business identity in a city or a country, but you lack the capital for a physical office, or do not need a physical space, then a virtual office provides you with a perfect base for your operations overseas without the expenditure associated with a physical office. This set up is also ideal for those undertaking a lot of business travel or those who work remotely.
Office furniture, facilities, staff and telecommunications infrastructure are all costly overheads to recoup, but a virtual office means you leap over this first hurdle to expanding or starting your business overseas.
Business Contact Details
A standard virtual office business package provides you with a business address in your desired city, usually a prestigious one, and a local telephone number. For potential clients, this enhances your reputation and credibility and makes your company seem larger and more established than it is in reality. It portrays an image of success on your business cards and company literature and is in turn your company is more attractive to bigger clients.
Business Communication Services
You can arrange for your mail to be forwarded, or held for you to collect at your virtual office. Staff in the virtual office can also sign for packages on your behalf, and deal with parcels as necessary.
Similarly, a virtual office package includes a phone answering service, so that staff members screen your calls and process your faxes, then forward them or relay messages directly to you. Depending on your level of service package, calls will be answered with your company name.
This ensures that you never miss a call, and staff absenteeism does not reduce the efficiency of your call answering service, as it would in a physical office.
Meeting Rooms and Conferences
A meeting room or conference service, which can be booked on an hourly basis, is a common feature of virtual offices. You can hold meetings with business parties in a professional, well-equipped office space, without owning the facilities yourself.
Your virtual office may also have a manned reception; adding to the positive and successful image you wish to create for your business, as well as enhancing the image of a well-established company.
Business Support Services
Administration or secretarial assistance is a popular aspect of a virtual office package. Working from a remote location, home or occasionally from your own office, a virtual Personal Assistant can take on all elements of a PA role, or provide you with support only where it is needed; travel bookings, (online) diary management, internet research or basic secretarial duties.
Some offices also offer advanced services like translation, remote IT support, database management, website creation or accounting services.
Some virtual offices have a business lounge or club that is open to you for a limited period per day, or on a continuous basis, dependent on your service package. This provides you with an area to work in when you are visiting the location, and usually includes a wireless internet connection.
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Amanda van Mulligen
Photo: Kimberly Winnington