A virtual office is an online facility that gives you a physical office address and office services without bearing the overhead expenses or maintaining an actual physical office. As the word goes, it is an online service where your employees can work remotely and when you need it, you can use the office services and equipment physically as well. It is more of a shared compound, the office and services are not dedicated solely for you. You and many like you pay a monthly subscription and use these services as per your schedule.
The best thing about a virtual office is that it gives you a hassle-free workspace. You can use the copier or meeting rooms or phone lines when you need without having to worry about utility bills or maintenance staff. It is all covered in your subscription charges and that is all you have to pay. You also get a registered business address to get all your mail. Another great feature is that you get mail forwarding and call handling services. All your correspondence will be handled by a receptionist. Anyone calling on your official number will never know the difference that you are using a virtual office.
Using a virtual office is good for startups or businesses with restricted funds. For a new startup, time is of the essence. All your energy should be used in establishing a startup and decision-making rather than worrying about administrative or management tasks. But to have a seamless business flow, choosing the right virtual office is of utmost importance.
- Choosing the right virtual office:
There are a few factors that you should consider making the right choice. This good virtual office service plays a pivotal role in the success of your business. Just as a strong foundation is important for the strength of a pillar, similarly your virtual office will determine how efficient your business will run.
- Business / Company requirements:
Virtual offices offer several services. Some are typically common while others are offered by only a handful of the providers. Typically a business address, call handling, mail forwarding, and office services are provided in almost all the virtual offices.
If your company needs special facilities then you need to identify them first. As they say, knowing what you need is the first step forward. Another important thing you need to understand is that a virtual office is a flexible and supportive plan. You can cherry-pick the features that are useful for your business. Don’t worry, you can easily add on more features as the need arises.
Once you have identified the goals of your business, figuring out the tools you need comes next. For example, if a good customer relationship is crucial for you, then you need a receptionist and call handling service. Similarly, if you have to arrange a lot of meetings with prospective clients or run presentations and host conferences, an assistant and meeting room facilities would be perfect for you.
The bottom line is that you can easily choose and pick services you need and pay for them accordingly. Flexibility and cost-effectiveness are the best features of any good virtual office.
- Evaluate different providers:
There are many renowned and well-reputed virtual office providers available online. They provide all the facilities required by businesses in the current times. But they all have their strengths and weaknesses. It is up to you to evaluate them and decide which one suits your business model the most.
Check the features they offer as well as the amenities they have. Sometimes, companies charge more for them. Look for the companies that charge less for added services or offer them for free. Having said that, you also need to be careful not to be lured in by companies that offer cheaper rates. Some companies offer fewer signup amounts but have many hidden charges making it almost the same as expensive ones that you were avoiding. In a way, evaluating the virtual office provider is like walking on a double-sided sword. You need to be precise and you need it to be right for your business model to work smoothly.
- Cost-effectiveness in proportion to services provided:
As we have discussed above, the cost of the services is important in making the right choice when it comes to picking the virtual office. First of all, you should decide on a budget for your office. Then evaluate the cost different virtual office services charge for the features you need. Choose the ones that seem adequately charged.
A good way to judge that is by shortlisting the candidates and comparing their rates and services. If you are still confused, go for a company with moderate rates. Avoid the ones that are too expensive or too cheap. Keep in mind, the cost will increase as you add features to your bespoke package.
- Does it fulfill your customer support needs?
Many businesses need better customer support than others. Each business model has its requirements. Make sure your virtual office gives you the kind of customer support your business needs.
For example, the companies that operate around the clock need a 24/7 front desk or receptionist service. For such cases, you might find the general receptionist service inadequate. There is no point in getting a virtual office service that doesn’t cater to the most important aspect of your business, your customers.
- Select the right location:
You might think, what is the point of the location of a virtual office. But you will be surprised that much of your success depends on the location of your office. The business address you get is not just a label on your mail but your main office. So the location and the address you get should be relevant to your industry and your customer base.
Similarly, if you are expanding your business to another city, you should get a virtual address for that city. The same goes if you are targeting a certain audience. The reason for this is very simple if you look closely, your customers will relate to the address and will trust you easily, and reaching out to them will be easier for you as well.
- Make the right decision:
Keeping all the pointers in mind, make sure you take your time and make the right decision. Don’t get excited about cheaper rates and avoid looking for expensive ones, to look savvy. Focus on the important part, your business requirements and you are good to go.