No matter whether you are an entrepreneur having just decided to start your own company or a newly hired representative for an overseas company with the objective to start and grow their business in this country: image matters.
Because image matters, companies choose the location of their office very carefully. The location of your office conveys an image of your company, and creates a first impression as soon as you say “hello” and hand over your business card.
And it does make a difference if your office location on your business card is a residential address or a known office block in a prestigious location.
The only problem is that a start-up has very limited funds, and no money to waste on overhead. And while a prestigious business address is important for the image of your company, the cost of renting physical space can in most places not be justified for a start-up. Working from home is (mostly) free, and meeting clients can be done in a coffee shop.
That is exactly where a virtual office comes in. A virtual office provider allows you to use their office address for your company, which in turn allows you to put a nice office address on your business card without having to physically rent the space.Usually a virtual office has three components, and depending on your requirements your may need all three:
For a better impression, using this service allows you to have a qualified receptionist answering calls to your business phone in your company’s name.
Typically the incoming call will then be forwarded to a number of your choice, and you can answer the call from there. Doing so creates the impression your office is big enough to justify a receptionist / secretary to answer your calls. Incoming faxes usually will be automatically sent to your e-mail, so you can respond anywhere.
- Mailbox. This is just the usage of the address. On your business card you can now put the address of the virtual office provider, and your handphone number for clients to reach you. Mail sent to your address on your business card will be collected by the virtual office provider. They will then inform you, and you either drop by to pick up your mail, or they will forward this to you.
- Telephone number / fax number. For a better impression, using this service allows you to have a qualified receptionist answering calls to your business phone in your company’s name. Typically the incoming call will then be forwarded to a number of your choice, and you can answer the call from there. Doing so creates the impression your office is big enough to justify a receptionist / secretary to answer your calls. Incoming faxes usually will be automatically sent to your e-mail, so you can respond anywhere.
- Workplace. Some virtual casino office providers allow you to use a desk or office, as well as a meeting room for your physical office space requirements. This will come in handy if the client wants to come to your office, or if you want to do a sales pitch outside the clients premises.
In summary, a virtual office creates an impression of a real office to your prospective clients and business partners without having to invest in renting physical office space. And because virtual offices are almost always situated in Grade A buildings, you create a significantly better impact in your first meeting as compared to having a business address in a residential location, and your handphone number as the only way to call you. First impressions matter – and you won’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
### 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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