Why start-ups need a virtual office solution
An estimated 500,000 start-ups enter the market each year, armed with big ideas and an understandably paltry budget. Of the 500,000, only around 20% make it past their three fiscal years. For this reason, getting ahead of the competition in the earliest stages is second only to making sure budgets aren't overrun in terms of importance.
The potential for home-based businesses to thrive has increased dramatically in recent years, with the advent of Cloud technology and online communication capabilities at an all-time high. This makes not leasing a dedicated office space in the formative stages a very real possibility for those with a lower budget.
Virtual office space is an often-neglected solution that can make all the difference in the maintenance of a professional business front.
A new approach to affordable professionalism.
Think of it as employing a secretary with their own prestigious address that really sells your brand. It provides all the benefits of a prestigious business address without the capital expenditure usually associated with physical occupancy. You can find a virtual office in Mayfair, a virtual office in New York, and a virtual offices in Bangkok. There are no geographical constraints to where a virtual office can be set up, which is especially useful for start-ups looking to establish themselves in a market that may not be close to their home base.
Virtual offices are manned by specialist secretarial teams that will answer phone calls on behalf of your business as an associate of your business, which helps maintain a thoroughly professional front-of-house feel. Mail collection and forwarding of all items sent to your virtual address is organised, and even technical email support may be covered.
Some providers offer a hot-desking package for virtual office clients. This allows business owners to make use of professional space within Business Centres on a flexible, commitment-free basis. Regus have been a notable advocate for hot desking, or co-working, spaces, offering executive business lounges and high-spec conference rooms at many of their Centres, allowing virtual office clients to find meeting rooms, workstations, and collaborative spaces, at short notice.
Making it work for you.
Finally, given the tactile nature of the modern start-up, it's important to note how flexible a virtual office solution is. Predicting growth - both in terms of capital and roster - is almost impossible. A virtual office solution is like a chauffeur service that will act as a vehicle for your business and provide a professional front, but won't be burdensome when you outgrow it. Contractually, a virtual office space is as adjustable as they come, and can be as long or short term as is required.
[caption id="attachment_16214" align="alignright" width="200"] James Caan, an early advocate for virtual space[/caption]
Millionaire investor and small business adviser highlighted the importance of a prestigious business address before the virtual office solution was established: "To get the trust of clients, I knew my business would have to appear smart and established, so I came up with the name Alexander Mann, and looked for an office in Mayfair to give my new company a grand address. The only space I could afford was a former broom cupboard in Pall Mall, with no window, but I was thrilled."
So, whilst you're working on a world-beating product, service, or non-profit, maintain a professional image with a similar, but broom cupboard-free, fix.