Running a physical office creates considerable expenditure in the budget of novice entrepreneurs.
Sometimes, it is even an unnecessary luxury to entrepreneurs who have spent years in the market. However, just because you may be an employee or owner of an SME, it doesn’t necessarily require you to have a physical space to run and manage your business from.
The advances in technology and communication channels have enabled hundreds of people to work from home and to manage business in the comfort of their homes or other places, including parks and cafes. However, although this option can provide numerous benefits (especially in reducing costs and travel time), it also has some disadvantages. If it is not given to good use, it may result in an unprofessional image that can project the entrepreneur in a negative light to potential customers and investors.
Purchasing a virtual office gets you a personalised telephone number and professional PA to answer your customers, handling correspondence and most importantly a business mail forwarding address. It is generally believed that being an SME or entrepreneur means you cannot have a first rate office, but thanks to this system, added value is implemented onto your business and can be achieved at very affordable prices.
You can enjoy an hour of sleep and avoid morning traffic chaos and a more relaxed approach to your workplace attitude. In the past this was not possible, and you had to move every day to a fixed place to use computers, telephones and other office equipment to keep in touch with customers and employees, whereas today there are attractive alternatives to streamline your work routine.
As a measure to better control costs, some companies have chosen to engage the services of a virtual office. The UK has not lagged behind in this trend, which is driven by the rapid development of the service sector and the dynamic growth of the economy.
Here are some advantages of having a virtual office:
- Save up to 50 percent of the initial capital of consuming the rent of an office or remodelling an owned office. Therefore, it is ideal for start-ups.
- Suits all budgets and professions. With flexible monthly payment plans, the virtual option is easy to manage and control.
- It has a commercial address where you can receive mail and which can be printed on your cards or letters. It also has secretarial answering service under the name of your company which can link your calls to your phone or another phone.
- When you have a work meeting, you’ll find all the necessary elements to provide a professional image as a boardroom, internet, projectors, coffee service and other amenities will be provided for.
- It reduces operating costs because a secretary and cleaning staff, for example, are already included in the cost.
- It will often have a beneficial location because regular virtual offices are located in the most important and strategic points of the city.
- It gives you the ability to interact with other entrepreneurs and there will also be plenty of chances for you to form a strategic alliance with your virtual neighbours.
But like everything, there are also disadvantages:
Communication: While the tools of today are safe to make smooth communication, there is nothing faster than the conversation of person to person.
Absolute dependence on internet: If the internet becomes disconnected for whatever reason, then it is practically impossible to work.
Lack of meeting space: Sometimes it is necessary to have a place to meet with clients. This helps to improve the image of the company, at least in the eyes of the more traditional companies.
These are some of the issues that come to mind broadly, however today’s climate means we must all adjust our financial belts and so a virtual office represents a major cost-cutting solution.
Obviously not all projects can run through a virtual office, such as a mandatory video blog in need of a fixed place of work, at least for the recordings.
In conclusion, the virtual office is a good choice, although there is a third possibility which is a hybrid between the two possibilities. Here you gain the best of both models, i.e. have a physical office with a small workgroup and secondly, a distributed group. A computer model that comes to mind is to have all those responsible for areas installed in an office, so that each manages their team virtually. In that way, the corporation would be closely related and would be able to make decisions more quickly on the virtual model. As well as the commercial sector, you would be able to take steps in physical space, such as arranging meetings, organising actions, etc.