Have you finally decided to take the plunge and start your own business? Congratulations! And because your company is still small, and you want to minimize your overhead cost, you may have decided to look for a virtual office to start with.
The question remains: who will give you the best value for your money? The answer is: it depends on what exactly you are looking for. The following top 10 list is by no means exhaustive, and what may be very important to you, may not be that important to other people. So you need to prioritize your needs and select your ideal virtual office provider based on your requirements.
The main reason why you are contemplating the use of a virtual office is to take advantage of their address and have a prestigious office location on your business card and marketing material. Hence you may prefer an address like: Level 14, Rockefeller Plaza to something like: No 7, Lorong Manis, off Jalan Teh Tarik.
- Telephone answering service
A great address on your business card without a land-line sounds suspect. While clients usually may reach you on your mobile phone, your contact details should always include a general office line. And a general office line is usually answered by a receptionist. That is exactly the strength of a virtual office, so choose a virtual office that provides that service.
- Receptionist answering your phone calls
Before you commit to a virtual office provider, call them. The person answering your call will most probably be also the person who will answer incoming calls for your company. You may want someone whose english speaking skills is up to your expectations, as this will form the first impression for people calling your company.
Some virtual office providers give you a fax number, where incoming faxes are automatically forwarded to your e-mail. While you may not online casino receive many faxes, having the option to do so is useful. And it complements your office look on your marketing material and business cards.
- Lounge facilities
Some virtual office providers have facilities for you to use when you are in the vicinity. This may include a working space, a meeting space, or simply WIFI connection and coffee / tea. If you live in Malaysia, and look for a virtual office in Korea for local clients to reach you, this may not be important. However, if you work from home it may make sense to have a virtual office in your vicinity that provides such facilities.
- Meeting rooms
If a virtual office provider has meeting rooms, this can be very useful. In such instances you can invite clients to come and see you at “your office”; all you need to do is book the meeting room for the time and date you need it, and you’re good to go. Make sure you take a look at the meeting rooms before you commit to the virtual office to ensure they are up to your expectations.
- Desk / Offices
Some virtual office providers have desks and office space that you can rent on an hourly or daily basis. This allows you go to an actual office if and when you need. Working from home has its advantages, but it is good to sometimes have a place to “escape” to and be in a conducive work environment to plan the next step for your growing company.
- Possibility to upgrade
Ideally your virtual office provider also has serviced offices. This allows you to seamlessly upgrade your office solutions in line with your company growth, without having to change phone numbers or your business address (which can be a costly exercise). If possible, choose a virtual office that allows you to upgrade to a physical office later on, so that you don’t have to move once you have the first employees.
Once you have found a couple of virtual office providers that have the services that you need, compare the prices, and pay attention to what is included, and which services come at an extra charge.
Lastly, if you are planning to grow your business you may want a virtual office that allows you to later upgrade to a serviced office. In that case you may want to consider looking for a virtual office close to where you live, so that you don’t end up with a long commute to your office. After all, being able to decide where your office is is one of the perks of being your own boss.
### Special Thanks for Article Contribution by Harald Weinbrecht, Founder of Incube8 ###
Harald Weinbrecht is a serial entrepreneur who made Malaysia his home 15 years ago. His first venture was ISS Consulting, a regional SAP consulting firm he co-founded in 1997 that went public on MESDAQ 10 years later. He currently runs Incube8 (www.incube-8.com), a serviced office center cum incubator with the mission to help growing companies succeed. He is also actively involved in OpenPath (www.openpath.edu.my), and TrickleStar (www.tricklestar.com), and is an advisor / mentor for a number of start-ups in various industries. Harald is a 3-times Ironman finisher and runs a 3:45 marathon, when he’s not busy helping other entrepreneurs. He can be contacted at [email protected].
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