What Are the Benefits of a Virtual Office?
If you’re a small business owner or freelancer, is it cost effective to rent your own office space?
For many, the answer is no. Yet without an office to host clients at or list as your physical space on your website, your business risks being perceived as unprofessional by potential customers. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to the conundrum that won’t break the bank: a virtual office.
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office is a service that provides an address – and, in some cases, communication services – without requiring tenants to pay for a physical space. Having a virtual office can lend your business the status that comes with having a physical office, creating a more positive perception among potential customers.
For example, a lawyer who works out in a suburb of Chicago can purchase a virtual office in a downtown high-rise. Potential clients conducting online research on lawyers to work with will see that this lawyer has a downtown Chicago address. The address signals to potential clients that the lawyer has successfully established their career in a competitive city.
You may be wondering what happens if someone wants to meet, call, or send mail to the office.
Some virtual office providers offer services that let your virtual office function like a traditional one. Typical services include:
- Answering Services: A receptionist is available to answer the phone using your business name and direct calls as needed.
- Mailing Address: Mail sent to the virtual office address is forwarded to you.
- Conference Room Access: Conference rooms are available to you at the physical location of your virtual office.
- Secretarial Services: The virtual office’s secretary will cancel or reschedule meetings and perform other basic secretarial duties on request.
These amenities are intended to give the perception that a business is larger and more established than it may currently be. That’s the main draw of a virtual office: they help small businesses achieve the level of professionalism that consumers have come to expect.
If you find yourself considering a virtual office, here are three major benefits your small firm can expect.
Benefits of a Virtual Office
Quickly Establish Credibility. Whether you are losing customers to a larger organization or you’re just starting your business, a virtual office can immediately give you the appearance of an established company. If a potential customer doing research on the internet comes across a consultant working out of his house and a freelance worker with a downtown office, who do you think they are more likely to pick? Often, it is the latter. Having a professional appearance is critical to many industries, especially those working in professional services such as consulting, financial services or law. Those whose appear more established, experienced and professional will get the benefit of the doubt.
Have a Business Presence in Any City. Work in a suburb but would like to reach potential customers in a nearby city? Or how about a customer that is located across the country? With a virtual office, you can have “offices” in any city — or even multiple cities at once. If you’re trying to expand your small business, obtaining a virtual office in your desired new city is a good way to test if it’s worth making a bigger commitment. Trial runs can inform you if your business might succeed in other markets in a relatively risk-free manner.
No Operational Costs or Headaches. Maintaining a physical office location can sometimes be stressful. The cost of rent in major cities is often high enough to induce heartburn, and that’s before considering other bills and insurance payments. Virtual offices don’t come with those large, business-crippling costs that can prevent companies from focusing on their core competencies. Nailing those crucial aspects of the business in the early days is far more important than having a physical office space for many types of small businesses.
Ultimately, virtual offices provide your organization with an inexpensive, low commitment way to give your small business a credibility boost.
Do these virtual office benefits speak to your needs? Check out our virtual office offering at the prestigious 500 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago address here.