Virtual Offices Open Doors of Opportunity

For start-up companies fighting to build a steady customer base, first impressions mean a lot. The quality and location of your office is a major consideration in that regard. That’s why many firms are taking a different approach to office space today, eschewing long-term traditional leases in favor of "virtual offices." For a fraction of the cost required to set up and maintain a full-time office, entrepreneurs can use virtual offices to create a more professional image, enhance productivity, and even expand their business into new markets.

Virtual offices combine the flexibility of working from anywhere with the credibility implied by well-appointed office space at a prestigious address. Essentially, a virtual office acts as an extension of your firm’s physical presence. To set up a virtual office, you’d work with a workplace provider to establish a mailing address and local phone number at a location of your preference. While you continue to work at your current office, an assistant at the "virtual" location answers incoming calls in your company name, and receives and forwards mail and faxes.

It’s a strategy businesses can use to meet a number of objectives:

Make a First-Class Impression: —First, a virtual office can give you a prestigious business address and local phone number, which can make a big impact with potential clients and business associates. For example, instead of listing your office at an out-of-the-way suburban locale, your website and phone directories could reflect your address at New York’s Rockefeller Center, with a Manhattan area code. It’s a combination that sends a message of credibility and security.

Get Closer to Customers: —Beyond sheer image improvement, a virtual office can also enable more direct business benefits. Businesses that have an address in the same area or city as their customers may have an advantage over cross-town or out-of-town competitors. If you’re targeting clients in San Francisco’s financial district, for example, your business card reading Montgomery Street is likely to draw more calls than if you were across the Bay Bridge in Oakland.

Grow in New Directions:—Virtual offices may also be used as a tool to enter new markets. For any company, one challenge of expansion is securing a large enough client base to justify an additional office in a new city. A virtual office solves that problem, allowing your firm to immediately establish a local address in another city with no capital expense and no long-term lease. If business pans out in the new market, you can move into a full-time office. If not, cancel the virtual office and lose nothing.

Establish a Home Away from Home: —The "virtual" elements of a virtual office are helpful in many situations, but what happens when your client asks to visit that office in Manhattan or downtown San Francisco? To answer that need, some providers offer virtual office clients the use of day offices or meeting rooms at the "virtual" location for a set number of days every month. While in the office, you have access to all of the services and amenities you need to host visitors in an elegant and professional setting.

Gain a Technology Edge: —Most small firms can’t afford state-of-the-art equipment such as videoconferencing or high-powered copiers. As a result, their deep-pocketed competitors have the advantage of serving clients more efficiently. But virtual offices can help level the playing field. Regus business centers, for example, offer all of the equipment and services you’d expect to find in a major company office: the latest copiers, scanners, fax machines, high-speed Internet access, and advanced telecommunications services, all of which is supported by an on-site technical team. Furthermore, most of the centers also offer videoconferencing studios that can be booked by hour, allowing companies on even the smallest budgets to hold face-to-face meetings with far-off clients or associates.

Ultimately, the price of the virtual office gives customers a suite of high-powered technology that even most large companies can’t purchase on their own.

The flexibility of the virtual office with the option to access real, high-quality space and amenities opens a new realm of possibilities for entrepreneurs. With no long-term contracts and few overhead expenses, a virtual office can help any company become more agile in the marketplace and more responsive to its customers’ needs. In terms of tangible, bottom-line results, there’s nothing "virtual" about it.

For more information on a Virtual Office from Regus, and how you can get two months free, click here or call 1-877-877-8719.