Making the decision to move to a virtual office can be a big step for a small business. You may be ready to take your company out of your home office but don’t want to commit to a long-term lease just yet. This is where a virtual office is the perfect next step. However, before you jump right into choosing a virtual office it’s a good idea to figure out which one is the best fit for you and your company. Here are five tips to get your started in choosing the right virtual office for your business.
1. Membership or Lease?
Knowing the difference between a membership and a lease is an important aspect of choosing a virtual office. If you’re signing up for a lease you need to be aware that you’re agreeing to a tenant-landlord type of agreement and it may be stricter than what you need. A membership agreement is less of a commitment and can be an excellent first step for a small business owner or entrepreneur that wants to move out of their home office but is not ready to jump right into a lease agreement.
Depending on the type of business you own it’s a good idea to understand exactly how secure the virtual office is that you’ll be using. If you’re business is a start-up that needs to remain secret or if your clients need privacy such as with lawyers or therapists you’ll need to consider how confidential the office space is. Does it have secure internet access? Is your mailbox accessible to anyone else but you? Is the fax machine run by an outside party or do you have a personal fax machine? Are the meeting rooms sound proof? All of these are questions that you should ask before making the decision to move to a virtual office.
This may seem like an obvious one but it’s still an important consideration. At the end of the day this is still your business and keeping up a good appearance can be the difference between landing that new client or your business stagnating. Is the virtual office building you’re considering kept in good condition? Is everything inside professional and up-to-date? Does the neighborhood give off the correct vibe for your business’ mission? If the answer to any of these questions is “no” it may be time to consider a different virtual office.
Not all virtual offices are created equal. It’s a good idea to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before your decide on a virtual office. Some offices only have mail services while others have unlimited access to scanning, faxing, and copying. Are there any other virtual office locations associated with this office? Are conference rooms free or is it an extra fee? Make sure you know the potential virtual office inside and out before making a decision. That way you don’t have to worry about not having what you need down the road.
5. Location is Key
Even though this will be a virtual office, location is still very important. You’ll need to be sure that the location is convenient for your clients, your employees, and yourself. You’ll also need to make sure that the area is safe and consider what your client’s needs might be. Also you’ll need to know if there are any extra fees associated with your particular location. If the location is in an up-and-coming area that still has some rough patches you’ll need to consider if that’s something that will work with your employees and clients.
A lot of businesses today don’t need full-time office space and a virtual office can be the perfect middle-ground for those looking to expand without the commitment of a full-time lease. However, not all virtual offices are the same and it’s a good idea to make sure that you know exactly what your company needs to thrive before making that decision.