We live in a wonderful time for startup businesses. Whereas there was a time not so long ago when starting your own business meant needing cash on hand for rent, furniture, servers and office staff, today, just an idea will do.
Technology has made it possible for any business to have a professional website, including e-commerce, for very little up-front cost. Even if you require more than just a website, cloud computing lets you have the technological capacity of a large firm for, again, a very small financial investment.
In the age of social media, SEO and LOL, your business is going to need a physical presence. If your marketing does the trick, potential customers are going to call, wanting more information. Depending on the type of business and the price point of the products or services you sell, some customers may want to meet in person, and if not, partners certainly will.
Today’s virtual office providers offer a number of options that can give you all the presence your business needs. If you need a full-time office space but can’t afford a receptionist, most virtual offices can provide you an office within a shared space, use of a common receptionist both for phone contacts and visitors, and access to various boardrooms if you need space for larger meetings or presentations. Plus they can give you a physical mailing address that is not your mom’s house.
Your phone number is your own, so when somebody calls for you, reception answers with your company name. When customers or partners arrive for a meeting, they are greeted by a professional receptionist. If you rented your own office and hired a receptionist, it would cost you at least $3,000 a month, probably more. Through a virtual office, you can get all this in some cases for less than $1,000 a month.
But that’s not even the best part. If $1,000 a month is more than you feel you can spend, most virtual office providers will offer you their services individually. Don’t need a physical place to work? They can answer your calls and forward them to your cellphone. Even if you DO work in your basement, you can have your mail go to a professional-sounding address. You can even rent offices or meeting rooms by the hour depending on your needs. In most cases, there is a $150-200 monthly fee, but everything else can be paid for as you need it.
So when you’re starting out, your costs can be very low, and as your business grows and you have more meetings etc., the added costs should be more manageable.
Even if you can afford your own office, virtual offices provide a number of other benefits:
- Never worry about your receptionist calling in sick.
- If you’re on the road or even on vacation, your customers don’t need to know. Simply have reception forward calls to you.
- Common office services like printing, faxing, photocopying etc. are available at a low cost.
It’s a great time to start up, and thanks to virtual offices, your initial costs will start as small as your business.
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