Virtual Offices, Telecommuting and the Professional Mom
Many women are torn between having a career and the desire to stay home and raise a family. Telecommuting allows you to have the best of both worlds, because you can successfully operate a home-based business while also being available when your children need you. Even so, there are times when working from home can be unproductive, which is why a virtual office might be a better solution.
Maintain your professionalism with a virtual office
Working from home may be advantageous most of the time, but it can become problematic whenever it comes time to meet with clients. You probably don’t want them visiting your home, and meeting them at a diner, library or other public place might feel awkward. A virtual office is a great solution, because it provides you with a professional environment in which to meet clients. A wide assortment of options are available, so you can rent space with only a desk and computer or an entire conference room, depending on your needs.
Break free from distractions with a virtual office
Working with young children in the home can be distracting, since they require a great deal of attention. As a result, you may sometimes feel as though you work all day, but actually get very little accomplished. If you have a big deadline coming up or are planning an important project, being distracted by your children could be detrimental to your business. In this instance, perhaps renting a virtual office for a short period of time could help you get back on track again.
Telecommuting has its advantages, which is why many working mothers prefer it. However, it’s not suitable for every occasion, which is why renting a virtual office could sometimes be in your best interest. Whether it’s done to help you concentrate or make holding meetings easier, renting a virtual office is something every work-at-home mom should consider doing at least once.
The Benefits of Virtual Offices for Telecommuters
Although the stock market is on the mend after the Great Recession of the early 2000’s, many citizens are still struggling to find lucrative work. The wealth gap in America is at its highest level in history. Median wealth for high-income families was up 7%, while middle-class families have not seen a rise in wealth since 2010.
In particular, individuals over the age of 50 face many obstacles when attempting to re-enter the workforce. People in this demographic are too young to retire, but may be politely told they are “overqualified” when seeking employment. While this may be a nice sounding euphemism for being too old, age discrimination is extremely difficult to prove unless presented in its most blatant form.
Virtual offices and the redefined workforce
Clearly, our society needs to redefine what is valued in our workforce. Telecommuting and the realm of virtual office work is quickly becoming a viable, desirable way of earning a living. A virtual office service provides business and administrative support, helping telecommuters maintain a global presence in the marketplace. This allows workers over 50 to offer their skills and services without having to fear potential discrimination by prospective employers. Telecommuting frees workers to excel within their chosen fields, letting their quality of work speak for itself.
Everything that a virtual office has to offer you
While it’s true that working from home is a solution for many professionals on the rebound, some people need to step out of the house and away from the distractions in order to achieve optimum efficiency. Virtual office solutions once again provide support in this aspect, by supplying all of your basic office necessities and some perks like a furnished office, receptionist, conference room, all necessary utilities, and a business address with the famous 90210 zip code. Virtual offices project an image of professionalism and prestige, further adding to the efficient ethos telecommuters crave.
If you’ve been unemployed for some time and are anxious to get back in the professional game, telecommuting via virtual office solutions may be the opportunity for you! Reduce your bottom line while projecting your professional image to the world.
Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses – Virtual Offices and More
The Internet offers entrepreneurs a way to create a virtual world that can include their office needs, data storage, and business marketing. When a small business owner gets creative, they can find several ways to utilize the Internet to bring customers to their business.
Inspire Existing Customers To Spread The Word
You already have customers who are very active on the Internet and you can use those customers to bring in new clients. Offer small rewards such as a percentage off an order to customers who bring in referrals that buy products. If you never ask your existing customers for referrals, then you may never get that lucrative business.
Use Newsletters Or A Blog
A weekly newsletter or a blog where you regularly add content can give you a way to become a valuable resource to your clients and prospects. People feel much more comfortable buying from experts and companies that interact with customers through blogs and newsletters.
Get On Social Media
If you are not currently using social media to reach out to current and prospective customers, then you need to get on social media immediately and start being active. You need to add new content to your social media pages every day and interact in a positive and professional manner to grow your business.
Get A Virtual Office
An online business can add an extremely important and effective layer of legitimacy to their business by utilizing the services of a virtual office. A virtual office will give you a phone number, physical address and a professional secretarial pool that can be used to enhance your company’s image. You can also conduct business meetings in a real conference room and transcend the idea that your business only exists online.
A virtual office and a strong approach to online marketing can help increase your company’s bottom line. When you use smart marketing ideas for your small business, you will start to see your customer base grow and your company grow as well.
How to Grow Your Business With a Virtual Office
If you are interested in expanding your business in the New Year, you may wish to consider the benefits of a virtual office. Such an office can offer many of the advantages of a traditional office. However, the virtual office format may also provide you with an array of unique benefits that could yield a variety of positive results for your business.
Features to Expect from Your Virtual Office
A virtual office package may provide you with options such as:
- conference rooms
- live answering services
- and a mailing address
You might also have the name of your business listed on a lobby directory, and your clients may be welcomed in the lobby by a professional greeter. Your business could benefit from access to live chat services and a virtual receptionist feature. A virtual office package may also include local telephone numbers, toll-free phone numbers, fax numbers, electronic fax and digital voicemail.
Cost-Efficiency of a Virtual Office
One of the top benefits of a virtual office is that it may be used to efficiently meet the needs of your business. Depending on your circumstances, you can rent a virtual office hourly or monthly. If you only need a desk for a month, you may rent a cubicle accordingly. If you simply need a conference room for an hour or a prime mailing address, you can request such features as part of your virtual office package. The money you save on overhead could be used to expand your business in the New Year.
You may also benefit from having a prestigious mailing or office address associated with your business. The virtual office format enables you to schedule meetings and utilize office space in prime locations, such as Beverly Hills 90210. Your business might not have the funds available to pay for such real estate all year, but the space is affordable when leased on a monthly or hourly basis.
Expanding Your Business In the New Year
If you want your business to grow in 2015, you’ll need to maximize your budget. A virtual office format is affordable and convenient, and it offers your business versatility that conventional offices cannot provide. You can choose the features that meet your needs in an economical way, so you can spend as much of your resources as possible on growing your business in 2015.
Five Ways to Improve Your Business in 2015
As we enter 2015 it’s important to take time to reflect on 2014, set goals for the New Year, and put together a strategy about how you can reach said goals. Below are some strategies to help you and your business meet your goals for the coming year.
1. Establish a Virtual Office in a location like Beverly Hills
Do you know how much faster computers are than humans? Consider that a computer can calculate the answer to that question faster than you read these words. Any business that can base itself in cyberspace can be accessed, updated, and maintained at nearly the speed of thought. Consider, too, the wide range of presentation options a web front offers – more than the color of wallpaper, that’s for sure! Compare that to the number of man-hours required to drive to work, organize the decor of the office, replace light bulbs, file documents, show the building inspectors around, etc. You can see why establishing a virtual office in Beverly Hills certain has its advantages.
2. Lower Business Costs in 2015
There will never be a way to operate a business without undertaking some amount of cost. But chances are, your business has yet to reduce its costs to their minimum. Consider ways in which you might get the most bang for your buck – even if you have a virtual office, choosing the right host, and purchasing a power-friendly computer can whittle your bills away.
3. Market Your Business Online
Are you advertising on YouTube yet? If not, consider making a few catchy videos, and send them into cyberspace. Spread news of your channel through word of mouth (well, text) on blogs and forums, or pay YouTube to display your advertisements on other channels with an established fan-base.
Then, using those blogs and forums as examples, start some of your own. The internet can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways to make your business known.
4. Employ the Right People for Your Business
Even if you do most of the work yourself, at some point you will need backup. Whether it is to fill a role outside your forte, or to help with tasks that are simply beyond one person, hiring the right person for the job is critical. As with all of the most important facets of your business, staffing is an investment – be willing to go a bit bigger; it’ll pay off in the long run.
5. Properly Direct Your Staff
Going hand-in-hand with the above, now that you have quality staff, make sure that they are doing what they do best. One does not hire a plumber to make lunch, nor do they hire a cashier to wire circuits. Maximize the value of your employees by giving them the tasks that they are most suited for.
Considerations To Make When Starting A Business And Finding An Office
According to the Small Business Administration, more than half of all new small businesses fail in the first five years. Inexperience, not enough startup capital, and a bad location choice are the top three reasons behind most failures. In reality, unless it’s a home business and the services offered are Internet based, all three reasons are interrelated.
So how can a startup avoid the frequent mistakes that lead to failure?
Capital vs Costs
Every new business requires enough startup capital to cover day-to-day expenses as well as hidden costs if they’re to have any chance at success. Property leases, payroll expenses, equipment rentals and telecommunication costs are some of the known expenses that can be factored into an operations budget, but some expenses aren’t as straightforward and can cripple a business immediately.
One example of hidden costs can be found in the expenses associated with the initial location setup. Fitting your business space with the necessary office furniture, performing any renovations that may be required to meet building codes and obtaining relevant permits and licenses for your business can get expensive really quickly. To lower these expenses, consider a virtual office at a prime piece of real estate in order to limit the decoration expenses. As a business is just starting off, a virtual office can be nice as it offers all of the amenities at a fraction of the cost of leasing your own office space.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Location
How big it is and how much the lease costs are just two of the many things to consider when choosing a location for your business. Other location-related factors that can directly impact your business’ performance are:
How many competing businesses are located within 1 mile? If competition is high, your chances of failing are greater against your more established competitors.
As mentioned already, business taxes can be crippling to a bottom line. Choose a location with a favorable tax climate and incentives for start ups so that more of your profits can go toward reinvestment.
Depending on the services offered, are you located in an area with high customer traffic or not? Customer proximity is the best way to promote growth so don’t choose a location that’s hard to find or far away from your intended market or your suppliers.
If you’re catering to a high-end demographic, choose a high-end location that reflects the image you wish to project for your business. Perhaps access to a conference room will benefit your business when hosting potential clients, or a nice waiting room for your new customers.
Expanding Too Soon
Growth is exciting, but expanding too soon can lead to failure. By starting off in a virtual office you’ll get to know other small businesses. This often gives you the opportunity to hire them as an independent contractor when you need help rather than hiring someone when you may not always have work for them. By contracting work out to other people in your office you don’t have to worry about having office space for them either.
Project Management Tips For Those Not In A Traditional Office
A virtual office is a unique place to work. While the benefits can be immense, there are some challenges to ensuring that the virtual workplace is productive and efficient. Here are some terrific tips for managing projects and work in a non-traditional type of office.
While plenty of work can be done over email or by sending documents and other projects back and forth, there is real value in real time communication. Utilizing an instant messaging service is a great way for employees to be conversing in real time. This open communication model will create a sense of teamwork and camaraderie by allowing for real conversations that occur while employees are working on projects together, and it will also protect against the trivial mistakes that result from poor communication.
Team Meetings Online
Even the virtual workplace can benefit from having the entire team have a group conversation about independent and team projects as well as any challenges or problems. While it may not be feasible for the team to meet in person as they would in a traditional workplace, having a virtual team meeting is still a great way for employees to bond and share common concerns. Positive feelings among the team will boost happiness and productivity, and having a dedicated time for employees to raise any issues will lead to speedy and simple conflict resolution.
Use the Right Software
Having a system for online project management is critical to staying organized and task-driven in the virtual work environment. The right software or online system is therefore important to making sure the virtual office runs smoothly. Dedicated spaces for documents and work-related tasks must be a part of whatever project management system the virtual office uses.
The virtual office has many benefits, allowing for a great deal of employee flexibility. But there are also some challenges, and utilizing these tips will allow the virtual workplace to handle them appropriately. Working with an online instant messaging system, dedicating time for team meetings, and providing the right project management system, helps set any virtual office up for great success.
Take The Next Step And Attract New Clientele With A Virtual Office
In order to run a successful company, small business owners must continually explore ways to build brand clout and strengthen their reputation. In most cases, building a strong business requires years of hard work and dedication, but business owners have certain resources available to them that make an immediate impact on the legitimacy of their company. Virtual offices are a prime example of such a resource.
Exploring the Benefits of a Virtual Office
Virtual offices offer the prestige and convenience of a well-known address and location, without the hefty investment required to rent or purchase office space in the area. With a virtual office in place, any business owner can utilize a known mailing address on their business correspondence, which helps generate interest in the company’s products and services. Many business owners also take advantage of live answering services, which utilize professional receptionists to direct phone calls and take messages for clients. This can further contribute to the perceived legitimacy of a small business.
Using a Virtual Office for Expansion
Running a small business from one’s home is often a more cost efficient way to launch a company, but when expanding to international sales, business owners must think outside the box. International clientele are much more likely to interact with established brands located at a prominent location, such as Beverly Hills. Virtual offices allow anyone to establish this legitimacy in the eyes of their clients, without spending a small fortune.
Not only is a virtual office a viable solution for savvy business professionals, but this service is also convenient and affordable. This makes choosing a virtual office an option for nearly any business owner to consider. By investing in a virtual office, businesses can open the doors to expansion and look to the future today.
Necessities For Any Startup
The Bottom Line. Every start-up knows its importance, and any edge up is worth fighting for. That’s where virtual offices can make the difference. Free up your bottom line and opt for a virtual office service that includes two must haves: conference room access and live answering services. Grab a few indispensable business apps, and the transition can be painless.
Let’s face it, there are times when the local coffee house just won’t cut it. A private and well-equipped conference room can increase your client trust and rapport. Making conference calls, pitching projects and even interviewing potential employees in a state-of-the-art conference room provides your clients and employees a viable experience that a fancy address alone simply cannot.
If you find your employees need more physical face-to-face interaction, a virtual office service that offers access to a conference room can provide a comfortable, private, professional space to host luncheons, meet-and-greets or brainstorming sessions.
Live Answering Service
When it comes to phone etiquette, impression is everything. Having a live answering service ensures this impression communicates a legitimate, brick-and-mortar company with all the amenities. Most virtual offices provide a variety of live answering services with numerous options to cater to your business’ needs.
Essential Apps for the Start-Up
Transitioning to the virtual office doesn’t have to be complicated. And with the right tools to keep employees connected, your business can take full advantage of the new opportunity:
Yammer provides a free, private social network for any size team, allowing efficient collaboration throughout the company. Keep your work schedule and schedule your work with ease.
Saving phone plan minutes can be a great tool to minimize your small business expenses, and iCall provides a unique feature to do just that. Receive a call while on a wireless internet network and switch the call with this app to save your minutes.
Skype makes it easy and quick to share information of all kinds. With voice plans, video chat, messaging and the ability to share any size video, your employees will have no excuse to be “out of the loop”.
A few more must-haves: Beluga, Free Conference Call, Ideapi, iNvite and Dragon Dictation.
If You Can’t Afford A Receptionist Try Live Answering Services
Having a receptionist answer your phone when customers call promotes a positive image for your business and is the best way about handling customer phone calls. Having a telephone number on your website instills confidence in a customer so that they’ll do business with you. It shows the customer that they can get help whenever they need it. However, if the telephone is answered in a poor way the client might form a negative outlook about your business which might cost you money.
There are several different ways to answer the phone that you should avoid. First, we will discuss answering the phone yourself. This looks bad because you are running a business and shouldn’t have time to answer the phone. It also does not look very professional. You should also avoid answering your phone out in public. The noise around you can turn off the caller and give them an overall negative reaction regarding the phone call. Potential clients may also get frustrated if they are transferred to voicemail immediately. It is known that most people do not leave messages, so you are likely to lose that customer. Lastly, no one likes to navigate through a menu to reach a live person. Odds are good they’ll just become frustrated and hang up.
You can avoid all of this drama over a simple phone call with live answering services. For a small monthly payment you can have a live receptionist answer your phone calls during business hours and direct them to you. The only difference between a typical receptionist and one at a virtual office is that the one at the virtual office isn’t occupying office space you have to pay for.