Depending on Your Business, the Virtual Office Offers Almost Complete Flexibility

A virtual office may be right for you if you are in the habit of visiting your clients or customers at their place of business. In that case, you may never need a physical office to go to. But when you do need to get together with a client or prospect for a meeting or presentation at your office, the company that furnishes you with the virtual office can rent you an office or meeting room space by the hour or day to service your prospects and clients.

There is no long-term commitment either for the virtual office or the real office. This is one of the most effective ways we have seen to go into business. As the business grows and you find yourself in the city and away from your home office visiting more and more clients, you can rent a real, physical office on a daily, weekly, monthly or longer basis at the business center.

Further, as you get more clients and need to hire people, you can get more space at the location--but no long-term commitment to an office lease. If the business should shrink in the future, you can cut off that extra space rather quickly. Try doing that with a landlord for which you have signed a five-year lease.

Some small business owners have told us that their virtual office becomes a real office at least a few times a month because they feel isolated in the home office by themselves. Having the ability to go to an office at least a few days a month becomes a stimulating and happy experience.

In looking at various business centers in major metropolitan areas, there seems to be a growing number of them that will compete for your business with great pricing and enhanced services. We have also discovered in the economic downturn that some building owners have set up office business centers to attract the small but potentially growing company to the building. We like the professional business center better because they are more in tune with all of the business owner’s needs.

For the small company that does not need to have an office in the big city, there are office business centers springing up in office and industrial complexes in suburban locations. The growth of the virtual office is not a U.S. trend alone but a worldwide trend. This form of office is very popular in the UK, particularly London and in Ireland with Dublin being a hub. But the trend is also very popular in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Some office business centers in New York, for example, can also furnish you with space on your trip to Dallas or California.

How To Find a Virtual Office in Your Area

An effective and quick way to find an office business center in your area is to Google it. You can also look in the Yellow Pages for listings. There is a group called Office Business Center Association International, a business association of office business centers. Click on its website OBCAI to find office business center members in your area or in the area where you need to establish an office. If you cannot find one exactly in your neighborhood, broaden your search. Find and compare two or three business centers in your area and pick the best one.

When you consider using the services of a virtual office, take that step as though you were moving into that location, because in effect you are. First, chances are that you will actually need to use the offices at some point so you have to be satisfied with the physical location. Even if you have no intention of ever darkening its door, you need to be satisfied "virtually" that it is an operation that you want to be associated with. Although you can make quick changes when you need to and although you have considerable flexibility, you are in a sense committing to somewhat of a long term relationship by getting business cards printed up and stationery, probably with that location’s address.

  • Don’t simply stop by a business center to pick up information, call first. Why? What is your first impression of the receptionist answering the phone at the business center? Is it a voice, manner and attitude that you would like to represent your company? We all deal with companies everyday where that first person answering the phone is single-handedly destroying the company with negative attitude and negative vibes. Give the person a score on a 1-10 basis with 10 points being the highest score.
  • Go to the business center. If it is in a large city and you are arriving by taxi or on foot, what is your first impression of the building and its address? Give it a score of from 1 to 10.
  • Is it a location you would come to at night?
  • As you enter the office itself, what is your first impression? What hits you positively? What hits you negatively? Is it clean? Is it polished? Is it positive? Give it a score
  • How is building security? Give it a score
  • What about hours of operation including weekends? Give is a score
  • What about internet service? What type of service is it? Is it state of the art?
  • What about back-up systems in case of power or technology failure? What happens if there is a major event and phone lines are knocked out? What is the back-up plan?
  • What about pricing?
  • What about pricing on extras
  • What kind of commitment do you have to make?
  • What is the cost of upsizing or downsizing space?
  • Is there any formal program to get clients within the office together? (You never know where you will meet exciting new clients!)

  • What type of advanced notice must you give to get an office or board room
  • What is the cost of cancellation of an office or board room?
  • If you travel heavily, what arrangements does this office business center have with others around the country to accommodate you on a trip?
  • The same goes if you travel abroad, what arrangements does the business center have to set you up in another country?
  • What about when you are at an airport and have a delay. Does the business center have any arrangements made so that you can go to a lounge to work or rest?

See: Finding an Office Part 1

See: Finding an Office Part 2

See: Finding an Office Part 3

See: The Virtual Office Part 1

See: The Virtual Office Part 2

See: The Virtual Office Part 3

See: Sublease Office Space

See: Incubator Office Space

See: Buying Office Space

See: How to Evaluate a Commercial Lease? Carefully!

See: Key Commercial Real Estate Terms

Commercial Lease Terms

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