There are plenty of advantages to starting a business from home. But in the longer term, entrepreneurs who plan to grow their business usually look for an alternative workplace as soon as possible -- or as soon as their budget allows.
Why? Because although working at home may be convenient, it’s not the most professional environment and it’s easy to lose focus when you’re surrounded by all the paraphernalia of your home life. How many times have you been on an important call with a client, only to be interrupted by a postal delivery, the kids, your dog barking, or a visit from a friend or neighbor?
Add to that, working from home quickly becomes isolating. The last thing you need when you’re facing the daily pressures and challenges of starting a business is to feel lonely and isolated.
So what’s the alternative?
A Solution that Won’t Cost the Earth
Rather than blowing your startup budget on costly office space, a much cheaper option is a commercial business address from a virtual office supplier.
Before we get to that, let’s take a quick look at what a virtual office actually is.
A virtual office is a combination of services that give you nearly all the facilities you’ll get from a regular HQ, minus the physical office space. It typically includes some, or all, of the following:
As you can see, some of these services require a physical location. That’s the great thing about a virtual office; your address is actually a recognized office building complete with on-site staff and workspace, and you can rent those facilities or services anytime you need them. It’s flexible, low cost, and perfect for growing businesses.
How Do I find the right Virtual Office and Business Address?
Through a virtual office provider, you can choose a business address from hundreds of locations across the US and globally.
Major cities like New York, Los Angeles and Miami have a high proportion of business addresses, but you will also find them in smaller towns and suburban locations, too.
Simply choose the address you want and add any specific services -- such as mail forwarding, a business number, or a Live receptionist service. In most cases, your virtual office will be processed immediately and you can have your new address up and running in just a couple of working days.
One thing to note. Before choosing your new address, make sure your virtual office provider abides by current postal regulations. The virtual office sector is part of a recognized industry and operators must know who is using their building address -- this means you will be asked to fill out documentation including a notarized CMRA form. It’s quick and easy to do this, but be warned -- if a virtual office doesn’t ask you to do this before you sign-up, be wary -- they might not be following legal procedures which may put your business at risk.
Benefits of using a Virtual Office
So, now you know how to get your very own head office address at a fraction of the cost of a regular head office, here’s a little insider knowledge about what you can do with it.
Boost Your Image: When you start a business, you want it to have a professional image -- and that often starts with a prestigious business address and phone number of your choosing. Use your new address on your marketing material, such as your website and business cards, which will instantly give your company a more professional appearance.
Hold Meetings: A virtual office isn’t just a business address. You also have the option to hire physical meeting spaces within the building. The great thing about these meeting rooms is that they are fully furnished and staffed, often providing facilities such as audio or video conferencing equipment, a whiteboard, refreshments, catering options, and support from on-site receptionists. As long as you book in advance, you can use these meeting spaces by the hour or by the day, whenever you need them.
Apply for Credit: To get business credit, whether it’s a loan or a business credit card, you will often have to provide a business address and phone number -- not your home address -- to show that your company is its own legal entity. This creates a clear distinction between your own personal credit and that of your business, which greatly improves your chances of obtaining business funding. It also helps prevent any third parties from attempting to ‘pierce the corporate veil’.
Improve Your Customer Service: Good partner relations is a cornerstone of any successful enterprise. This relies on clear, consistent communication and a high standard of customer service, but if you’re a sole proprietor of a business, you may not have the time nor the appropriate skillset to handle every call in the correct manner. Rather than hiring a full-time customer service professional, most virtual office companies can provide a dedicated live receptionist team to deal with your incoming calls.
So, the only question is, where do you want to base your business? New York, Miami, or Washington D.C.? Or maybe Sydney in Australia, London in the UK, or the iconic French capital, Paris? With so many locations to choose from, you have the world at your feet.