How Do You Find a Virtual Office in Your Area?
Although you can literally open a virtual office anywhere, you will probably want to open one near where you live or work. That is because there will be times when you need to turn your virtual space into a real space to meet with prospects and clients.
An effective and quick way to find a virtual office in your area is to contact an office business center near you that likely will offer such a program. You can Google office business centers in your area or look in the Yellow Pages. 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 that offer virtual offices and real offices and pick the best one.
When you consider using 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.
Consider these tips to find the right virtual office for you:
- Don’t simply stop by a business center to pick up information on it, 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 because that voice in effect is representing your business? We have all called companies where that first voice that answers the phone is a turn off. That first voice 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 well as in the day?
- 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? Is it professional? Is is a place you want to locate your business, even as a virual office most of the time? Give it a score
- How is building security? Give it a score
- What about hours of operation including weekends? Give it 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 (weather event, terrorist attack, major power outage) 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 if you need to take real space as well as the virtual office package?
- Is there any formal program to get clients within the office center together at holidays or other times? (You never know where and how 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 reservation?
- 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 and running 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 to 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
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