By April 30, 2013 Read More →

Have you considered a virtual office?

The advantages of a virtual office for home business

Work from Home Wisdom - virtual officeToday’s guest post by W1 Office explores how the services of a virtual office can benefit the home business:

A crucial component to keeping a business successful is ensuring that overhead costs are kept as low as possible, especially when profits may be squeezed by hard financial circumstances or poor sales. This is something even major high street chains have learned to their cost, with several outlets closing or entire branches going into administration, unable to cope with increases in shop leasing costs.

It’s no news to home-grown businesses that online channels can supply a healthy trade, even without rivalling the likes of eBay or Amazon in terms of brand dominance. However some small business start-ups find it difficult to emerge out of the overall ‘noise’ of the web in order to truly reap the benefit of online customers. And when they do, some find that clients can be put off by a sales operation that is home-based in nature.

Non-residential business addresses
Step forward, the virtual office. Virtual office providers have been established in the UK for over a decade, and allow companies to deliver to their business address instead of a home residential one or PO Box.

Mail, parcels and courier deliveries are accepted at the virtual office HQ, sorted and then sent to the actual address of the company registrant. Prospective clients need never know that they are dealing with a small or home-based operation.

More advanced services include call handling. A virtual receptionist will field inbound calls and patch these through according to a pre-agreed script. Such services are usually faster than automated call menus and generally less frustrating for potential clients.

Trading from outside the UK
Virtual office addresses also allow people to trade in the UK if they live abroad – retired ex-pats for example. Reputable virtual office companies such as W1 Office will always run a series of identity and legal checks however, and work closely with Trading Standards and the police to ensure that fraudulent companies are identified and prosecuted.

If you are interested in a virtual office, it is worth finding out what security procedures your provider carries out. Lax checking means your virtual address may be associated with companies that have a poor reputation online.

Virtual office cost savings
The biggest advantage to a business is that virtual office services allow you the benefit of a registered business location without the cost of a physical lease. Call handling staff also provide a scaling of staff availability without the related salary costs.

W1 Office recently calculated that the monthly cost of a complete virtual office package was the equivalent of renting 1 square foot of office space in W1 London. If you bear in mind that an old London phone box is 3 square feet, that isn’t a lot of real estate in which to do business!

For many, the risk of having prime store front space is a gamble they are willing to take for a new business. However, with crippling rent rises and an uncertain economy, evolving an online business to ‘punch above its weight’ without the related overhead building costs is a great tactic to survive and thrive.

Posted in: Home offices

6 Comments on "Have you considered a virtual office?"

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  1. Dogsbody says:

    Any suggestions for a virtual office in other countries!?

    I’m quite happy using my address as a business address but i am doing more and more work in the USA and other countries. I’d love to be able to give them a national address in their own country.

    Thanks, Dan

  2. Steve says:

    One of the advantages of a virtual office is that you can operate in different countries without having to have a residential address there or business premises. W1 has several overseas clients that utilise the London address in order to trade in the UK – there are undoubtedly virtual office companies in the USA which will let non-US residents set up an account, subject to the required legal checks.

  3. A virtual office has definitely helped us cut costs. All of our employees work from home, and this has so many benefits for our business. Thanks for the insightful post!

  4. Eddie Gear says:

    Thats quite an interesting take on setting up a virtual office for work from home. Bloggers mostly set up separate offices and incur alot of expenses, rent, power and so on. Like the idea and I will need to test out option in my area.

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