Though running an online business is still an oddity to many people in the public, it’s fast becoming the most popular career option worldwide. Anyone can fire up a simple or complex business such as freelance writing or design, or an ecommerce store supported by social media marketing. In the case of a business run solely online, it’s important to establish a virtual headquarters to run your business from.
If the idea of having a “headquarters” for your online business seems pointless, this article will serve to open your eyes. When it comes to selling to and serving customers, perception is everything. A P.O. box or residential address isn’t likely to impress prospective customers. Not to mention, it takes a village to raise a child (your business), and that village (your team) needs a place to meet.
Makes it possible to run a business from anywhere
If you’re happy running your online business from a single home base location, there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you have a family tying you to one location for the majority of the year. Then again, maybe travel just isn’t a priority. For the rest of you, being location independent and responsible for your own destiny is likely one of the reasons you started an online business in the first place.
Having a virtual headquarters gives you not just a virtual meeting ground, with virtual tools and services to run your business, the majority of service providers offer multiple national and international office spaces you can use to hold meetings and get work done while you’re on the road. All the amenities you’d expect in a physical office are usually provided including WiFi, fax/printer, office supplies, reception, virtual staffers, and are typically located close to restaurants and recreational facilities.
Increases customer perception of your business
Many online entrepreneurs assume one of the best benefits of running an online business is that you don’t have to be physically present everywhere business is taking place. You make sales to customers all over the world, answer their email queries and phone calls, and thus have no need to rent an expensive office to run your business from.
Running an online business from home or while traveling is exciting and freeing, but anyone can Google “1235 Arbor Lane” and find out it’s a residential address. This can be a huge turnoff to customers thinking about buying one of your products or services, particularly savvy customers with big pockets that will close big game-changing deals with you. Having an actual office in a swanky, professional area of the city tells the whole world you’ve arrived.
A virtual office levels the playing field and puts you in the game. Virtual offices are available in literally all worldwide locations, in actual professional offices complete with reception teams, mail forwarding, office supplies and amenities, etc. You can register your business to the address for tax purposes (Ie., write off!) Customers can even visit your “virtual” office, drop off packages, and meet with you when you’re in the area.
Richer talent pool to scout staff from
This is an obvious benefit of running an online business in general. However, providing employees with a virtual space to meet and congregate allows you to attract top-level talent from all over the world, instead of one city, state, or province as most offline businesses have to do. Top talent will want a place to meet with their virtual team, and exchange ideas and pleasantries.
The best virtual offices will offer collaboration software and virtual support staff such as reception and virtual assistants with a variety of skills to offer you and your team. Reception is particularly valuable when you choose to route your international sales through a single toll-free number or multiple area-specific phone numbers, and need those calls routed to yourself or another specific team member.
Unlimited growth potential
One of the burdens of renting/buying and maintaining a physical office is that expansion into a bigger office, renting warehouse space, and other increases in overhead almost always hold back a company’s growth potential. Then there’s transportation costs such as commuting and the need to have physical staff present to run an office or warehouse space to contend with.
A virtual office gives you the professional presence you need to brand your online business and make it a real player on the world stage, with a comparatively low and predictable monthly and yearly cost your small or medium size online empire can afford. This means more money for expansion efforts such as buying more online properties, hiring more virtual staff, and purchasing products and raw materials in bulk to increase output and sales.
Limited commitment needed
If for whatever reason you decide to move your virtual office location, it’s very easy compared to an offline office lease. Many commercial spaces require first/last month, a substantial security deposit, maintenance expenses, and at least a half-year (usually a year minimum) lease in order to secure a space and move your staff and equipment in.
Virtual office spaces are almost always available on a month-to-month basis, unless you opt to save more money on the space by paying your virtual rent a year or two in advance. With that said, many of the larger virtual office providers will allow you to change your address for a reasonable fee, unless you decide for some reason that you want to switch providers altogether.
A virtual headquarters will give you the cost savings and flexibility that all online entrepreneurs need to thrive. If you’re currently spending money on a physical office space you don’t really need, or never took the time to think about how a legitimate office address can elevate your business, don’t hesitate to shop around and find yourself a virtual headquarters today.