Confused about virtual offices? Learn what it is and how entrepreneurs are using a Flagler Beach virtual office to its full potential.
Businesses struggling to stay relevant have been seeking different ways to create efficiencies. One such way is to drastically reduce a firm’s office footprint, or eliminate it altogether by working virtually.
But virtual offices aren’t new phenomena. In fact, it’s been around in various forms, and called by different names, for decades before “the cloud” was anything other than a meteorological term for something that may require an umbrella.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the past and present of virtual offices, and learn about some entrepreneurs who are already taking full advantage of a Flagler Beach virtual office for their business.
What is a Virtual Office?
A Virtual Office (VO) is an unbundled office rental arrangement where businesses get the presence of a traditional office and have access to its resources. Including an address to receive mail, a physical location to meet clients, conference rooms, receptionist and admin services, and temporary office space.
The key difference in a virtual office is that entrepreneurs only pay for the services when they need them. Virtual offices are often sold in “packages” with higher priced packages including more services. Business owners using virtual offices work primarily from another location, which can be their home office or a traditional bricks-and-mortar office in another location.
Improved office technology accelerates entrepreneurs’ detachment from bricks-and-mortar
During the 1980’s, the office technology started to shape and improve how business was done. Word processors, personal computers, voicemail, auto-attendants and fax machines began to change how many people worked. But in most cases, business owners still had to be connected to a bricks-and-mortar office in order to get work done.
It wasn’t until the mid-90’s when office technology could support a business’s full extrication from a bricks-and-mortar office. Using the Internet, entrepreneurs that weren’t afraid of technology could run a totally virtual business, however and wherever they wanted.
The economic turmoil of 2008
The economic collapse of 2008 accelerated the number of people working virtually. At this time, the internet bandwidth needed to run a business virtually was readily available, making virtual offices an affordable option.
Like many young entrepreneurs starting businesses, business owners decided initially to rent a virtual office from an executive suite operator. This gave them a convenient bricks-and-mortar presence and a place to meet with clients, but at a very low cost.
The challenges of the modern day virtual office
Working from a virtual office is not without its challenges.
The two most common complaints by work-from-home entrepreneurs are that it’s difficult to stay motivated and it can be very isolating.
By not working from an office space every day, virtual entrepreneurs miss out on easy opportunities to collaborate with others or exchange referrals. As a result, virtual office entrepreneurs can be at risk of experiencing lower efficiency and less revenue.
This conclusion is supported by several studies that found that people who work from traditional office space with other professionals earn at least 30% more than their virtual office peers.
To be successful, virtual entrepreneurs have to be more diligent than their office rental peers about getting out of their office and staying connected to the community.
What types of entrepreneurs are making virtual office’s work for them?
This being said, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who successfully operate virtual offices. For example, attorneys who spend most of their day in court seem to do well with a virtual office.
This is the case for Cassie, an attorney who is frequently in court on family law matters. A traditional office didn’t make financial sense because she was rarely there to take advantage of it. Baudean instead chose a virtual office rental.
Also, we have noticed that in our space, graphic designers are making great use of virtual offices. Sara is a graphic designer who recently started her own business. She didn’t want to use her home as her business address on Google but had no other option. She now has a professional address in Flagler Beach, boosting her online image and a clean and professional space to meet with clients. Fulfilling her dream of doing graphic design work for other businesses…all on her own terms.
Tom is the owner and operator of a fencing company in Volusia County. While he’s based in Volusia County but covers Flagler county residents and businesses as well. Tom’s prices are great and so is his work. But he knows he’s losing out on a ton of business in Flagler County. With a virtual office in Flagler County, Tom gets phone reception services so he never misses a call from a lead and a local Web presence so Flagler residents can find Tom’s business when they need a fence job done.
These are just a few of the countless solo and small business that are growing and outshining their competition thanks to a virtual office.
By merely renting a virtual office and including a professional office address (that isn’t your home address) you instantly boost credibility and professionalism. Not to mention the other great perks such as conference room time, accesses to deskspace and much more.