Congratulations! If you’re thinking about availing of a virtual office, it means your business is just about to notch up a level. For you, as a business owner, this must be a very exciting time.
For many small businesses owners and entrepreneurs like you, a virtual office is a perfect solution. However, just like with a traditional office, choosing a virtual office requires due diligence; there is a lot to consider before signing on the dotted line.
But don’t worry!
In this post, we will walk you through how to choose a virtual office that ticks all the boxes for your business. But first, let’s just be clear on what a virtual office is and the benefits they offer.
What is a virtual office?
Virtual offices are a type of office solution that provides small business owners and entrepreneurs with a physical business address and a suite of remote business services.
The services offered by a virtual office typically include:
- Mail handling services
- Telephone services
- Receptionists services
- Email services
Most virtual offices also offer onsite facilities and functions such as conference rooms, private offices, and hot desks.
Benefits of a virtual office
The biggest benefit of a virtual office is that you get all of the advantages of a traditional office without the burden of expensive overheads and long-term contracts.
However, this is not the only benefit!
Other benefits include:
- You get a professional address that you can use on your website, business-related documents, and marketing materials.
- You can keep your home address private by registering your business from your virtual office.
- You can register your business and open a business bank account using a virtual office address.
- You have the flexibility to work remotely or avail of facilities like hot desks and conference rooms.
- You only have to pay for services and facilities that you need within you need them.
Ok, now let’s get to the main reason for writing this post.
3 Questions to ask when choosing a virtual office
Moving into any office, be it virtual or not, is a big decision. Therefore, it’s essential to ask the right questions when reviewing and vetting a virtual office provider to ensure you choose one that’s a good fit for your business needs.
#1 What services do I need for my business
The first step in choosing a virtual office is to list the services you need to operate your business successfully. When armed with your list, you will find it easier to find a virtual office that offers price plan packages that align with your budget and service requirements.
When making your list consider the following:
- The mail services you will need
- The phone services you require
- Receptionist services
- Storage space requirements
- Conference room needs
- Private office or hot desk requirements
- Office equipment like printers and projectors
If budget is a consideration, it’s a good idea to break your list into must-haves and like-to-have services. Then, once your business grows and you have more budget, you can add additional services.
#2 Is the location appropriate for my business
For some businesses owners, the location of a virtual office is not that important. For example, you might just want an address to register your business entity and open a bank account. However, even if this is the case, location is still something you should consider.
Location can impact your business in three ways:
Ease of Access: Do you intend to host clients or meet with employees (after all, there is only so much Zoom we can handle)? If so, your virtual office location should be easily accessible by both private and public transport.
Customer Perception: Your business address can influence client and customer perceptions for the good and the bad. Remember, your address will appear on your website, letterheads, and other documentation so clients and customers can easily Google the location.
Marketing: It might be the case that your business is targeting an audience in a specific region. If this is true for your business, having an address and local number in that region would help your marketing efforts.
#3 Is this a trusted virtual office provider
The virtual office industry is growing fast. As a result, thousands of providers are now offering virtual solutions to businesses. However, just like with any other booming industry, you will have some rotten eggs who are only out to make a quick buck at the expense of others.
With the above in mind, before you choose a virtual office, ensure the provider is trustworthy and committed to providing great services and facilities to their customers.
To do this, there are three things you should do:
1 – Make sure everything is legal: Virtual office providers require special licenses and permits in some states and countries. Check the requirement laws in your location and ask the provider to show the relevant documents, if any.
2 – Speak with current tenants: Get a list of the businesses registered in the building and reach out to the owners for feedback. Ask them about the level and quality of the services, response times when issues arise, building maintenance, and any other question you feel relevant.
3 – Do a building walk-through: If possible, go to the building and do a walk-through. Speak with the staff, check out the facilities and make sure that everything is as described.
Over to You
Now that you know the right questions to ask, you will be better equipped to review virtual offices with an objective eye and choose one that best meets your needs and requirements.
As I said at the start of the post, this is an exciting time, and I wish you all the best with your new office and your business journey.