While larger companies usually find it more convenient to have most of their employees housed in one central workspace, smaller ventures can save a lot of money and still function effectively by considering alternative arrangements. One of the more popular solutions for firms that are just getting started and employ a few people who work from home is to pay for a mail and telephone answering package. In this post, I outline some of the benefits of virtual offices.
There are a number of advantages associated with such services, the most important of which are listed below.
- Presenting a solid appearance to potential customers. This is especially important if you are running a company that operates in the B2B marketplace. While large corporations may understand that smaller firms often cut costs by allowing employees to work from home or by renting premises in a less salubrious part of town, they will sometimes overlook such firms when they are searching for a reliable supplier or service provider with which to establish a long-term commercial relationship. For this reason, having a corporate address in an upmarket building in the business district could well make a big difference to the opportunities that come your company’s way.
- Avoiding the cost of hiring a full-time receptionist when you are just starting out. Experienced receptionists command decent salaries. Thus, it may be uneconomical for your firm to employ one in the early days, especially as they may spend much of their time doing very little while waiting for your clients to call. A package that includes a professional telephone answering service is a good way to ensure that callers are left with a positive impression of your organisation without having to hire somebody to answer calls on a full-time basis.
- Hosting meetings in the same location as your official company address. This is only applicable if you use a firm that also has serviced office space available in the same building from which they run their mail and telephone answering packages. However, it is one that is well worth paying a little extra for. If you are going to go to the expense of organising an executive mail and telephone service to present a successful image to prospective customers, finding a package that also enables you to meet interested parties at the address in question makes good business sense. Whether you are interested in virtual offices in Dublin, Belfast or elsewhere in the country, you should be able to find a provider that has executive suites, conference rooms and breakout areas available for rent at short notice.
- Having more flexibility. As your company attracts more clients and begins to expand its operations, the facilities mentioned above could become even more valuable. If you get to a point where you feel that it would be better for all your employees to work in one central location, you may well be able to arrange to rent a suitable space at the same address you have been using from the first day that your company started trading. Many companies do relocate if the need arises but keeping the same address can help to lend smaller companies a much needed air of permanence that reassures potential clients that they will still be around to meet their contractual obligations for many years to come.
- Receiving holiday cover. One aspect of running a small business that can add to the pressures felt by owners is the fact that they can never find the time to get away from it all for a week or two. However, with a virtual package this need not be a problem. The phones will still be answered and the mail can still be dealt with in your absence. You can choose to have important messages forwarded to your temporary address overseas or arrange for a suitable replacement to deal with them in your absence. As far as your customers are concerned, it will feel like business as usual if they should happen to contact your company while you are away.
- Getting great cost savings. This is without doubt the biggest benefit that virtual office packages have to offer small businesses. In addition to being able to rely on the services of a professional receptionist, paying for a mail and telephone answering package means that your company can project a successful image to existing and prospective clients without having to foot the bill for the high rental fees associated with executive suites in such buildings.
- Being able to take advantage of inexpensive expansion opportunities. If your company is involved in a business that relies on local custom, branching out into new areas can be difficult. The initial cost of renting a building in a different part of the country can be a disincentive. Plus, if you do not generate enough turnover to justify the expense, you will often still have to find the money to cover the rental costs until the contract expires. Standard commercial rental contracts can last for several years but if you start with a virtual office your initial costs will be minimal and the contract length considerably shorter.
About the Author: Established in 1989, Regus is an international provider of offices and workspace solutions. They provide office rental in Edinburgh, as well as a number of other major cities around the world.