You’ve started a business and you recognize that it doesn’t make sense to shell out big bucks for a traditional office space. Maybe you’re the only employee or maybe all of your processes can be done over services like Skype. Maybe your top programmer is cemented in Boston and your writer works from the beach in San Diego.
No matter the reason, you’ve decided to build a business in a virtual space, using today’s awesome technology to stay connected and get work done. Virtual offices offer big benefits, especially in the form of cash savings, but it’s hard to know where to start out.
Four keys to perfecting the virtual office
Get yourself an official address
If the place where you work is steps away from the room where you sleep, you should probably get an official office address. It not only protects your privacy, but it provides a professional appearance and a natural boundary between work and home. Don’t think a PO Box at the local post office will solve the problem? Companies now offer professional business addresses to suit your needs. Regus’ MailBox Plus package or HQ’s Business Addresses will do the trick.
Get a virtual phone system (and number!)
Just because you’re working from a coffee shop or from the beach doesn’t mean you’re exempt from having a phone system. Today’s virtual phone systems can direct all calls to your cell phone. Not only can you answer calls from your iPhone, but they’ll provide you with an auto-attendant and multiple extensions. Need tollfree numbers? You can get those, too.
Find the right communication tools
You’re going to need to talk to employees, partners, clients, and others while running your business from a virtual office. Sure, things like a virtual phone system and email are crucial, but you’ll also have to leverage other tools. Google Apps for Business is a great option because it’s in the cloud. DropBox for storage, Asana for project management, and Skype for internal communications are all worth a try.
Figure out where you actually work
In order to be productive from your home office, you’ll need to figure out exactly where you’ll work. If you’re working from home, make sure that your office has everything you need. If you plan to work from the local library, ensure that you have a routine in place so that you can be productive each day. Set up a schedule so that you’re not wandering from coffee shop to coffee shop.
Working from a virtual office has so many perks—it’s inexpensive, allows you to hire workers no matter where they are, and gives you more flexibility and freedom than a traditional arrangement. If you follow these tips for perfecting yours, you’ll be well on your way to productivity and booming business.
Emma Siemasko is a Boston-based writer and entrepreneur specializing in small business tricks and online dating. Emma works as a content marketing specialist for Grasshopper and is the founder of Frog2Prince. For more about Emma, visit her website or follow her on Twitter @EmmaFayeS.
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