Today, many business start-ups are operated from people’s homes. Advancements in technology have meant that business owners can now communicate with their customers and employees, no matter where they are based, preventing them from needing to take on the costs of a traditional office space. Not only is running a business from home more cost effective, but it also offers a better lifestyle.
Despite its many advantages, running a business from home is not easy, especially when you are looking to grow your business and expand your customer base. This is why many start-up companies are choosing to work with virtual office providers. In this article, we will share five reasons your new business should opt for a virtual office.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is an office which is delivered by a third party company. They provide business clients with various different services, from a city centre address and mail forwarding services, to teams of virtual receptionists and customer service operatives. Basically, virtual offices allow start-up companies to benefit from having an office, without having to operate within the physical space.
Singapore virtual office providers offer various different packages, from ‘address only’ packages which provide businesses with an address and mail forwarding service, to fully outsourced solutions, where businesses can gain access the virtual receptionists and customer service advisors. Some virtual offices also offer more specialised services, including marketing and accounting.
1. It is a cost effective way to expand your business
One of the main benefits of getting a virtual office for your new business is that it provides you with a cost effective way to grow your company, both in terms of your staff and customer base. When you work with a virtual office, you gain access to a team of virtual receptionists and assistants. These virtual employees are fully trained, skilled and experienced in all aspects of administration and customer service.
The great thing about having a team of virtual staff is that it means there is no need to hire your own staff. You will save on the cost of recruitment, employee salaries, employee benefits and training. There will also be no need to find the virtual receptionists somewhere to work, as they will be based at the virtual office. This saves on the cost of renting a city based office and paying for overheads.
Basically, outsourcing work to a virtual office enables you to reap all the benefits of having a team of employees working with you, without having to take on the responsibilities and costs of actually hiring them.
2. Enhance your brand’s image
Despite the fact that an increasing number of people are quitting their nine to five jobs in favour of setting up their own companies from home, there is still a stigma attached to home-run businesses. What people do not seem to realise is that business owners choose to set up their companies from home to suit their lifestyle, for example, if they have become parents or have moved out to the countryside. Running a start-up company from home is not necessarily a temporary solution or due to business owners not being financially stable enough to run a traditional office.
The fact that people often see business owners that work from home as ‘one man bands’ means that they are often reluctant to work with them. For some reason, people believe they will not be able to offer the same quality of work as businesses operating from traditional city centre office blocks. The fact that people usually choose to work with companies based in well-known prestigious areas often makes it difficult for home-run start-up companies to compete. This is why new businesses should consider using a virtual office.
When you work with a virtual office in Singapore, you will be able to take on their business address as your own. Virtual offices are usually based in prestigious city centre locations, like Novena and are surrounded by other successful businesses. When customers see you are located there, because of your virtual address, they will automatically associate your business with those other successful companies. There is no need for them to know that you do not actually operate from that location, as the virtual office will provide a mail forwarding service.
Using a virtual office will enhance your business’ image, making it look more professional and better established. The more professional your business appears to be, the more likely people are going to want to work with you. It’s not just home-run businesses that use virtual offices, but those that are actually based in big cities too.
Location is everything, so if you are thinking of working with a virtual office, make sure you choose one that is set up in a prestigious city centre location in order to benefit your business.
3. Improve customer service
Although entrepreneurs tend to like to handle everything themselves, there will come a point where you struggle to manage all aspects of your start-up company alone. The best thing to do is delegate mundane and time consuming tasks, such as admin and call taking, to someone else. Whilst hiring a receptionist is not a cost effective or sensible solution, outsourcing the work to a virtual office is.
Virtual receptionists will be able to take your business calls on your behalf, using your personalised greeting. They will learn about your business, so that they are able to handle certain requests themselves. When callers need to speak to you, they will either put them through when you are available or ask them to leave a message.
One of the benefits of having a virtual receptionist answering calls on your behalf is that it makes your company look bigger and more professional. Unlike you, they will not have to battle with a noisy household, which can make your business look unprofessional and put people off wanting to work with you. Virtual receptionists will also be fully trained in customer service and will be able to offer a much better service than you can, especially during busy periods.
The fact that customers will not have to wait on hold for ages or wait for you to return their calls will greatly improve their attitude towards your business. By improving your customer service, you are more likely to gain your customers’ loyalty. You may also benefit from the fact that they tell other people how great your business is, helping to expand your customer base and increase your profits.
4. It will save you time
Working with a virtual office can also save you a tremendous amount of time. For starters, it will eliminate the need for you to carry out mundane admin tasks, which can be extremely time consuming. Many business owners end up having to do admin tasks in the evenings or at the weekends, preventing them from being able to have a social life. By outsourcing the work to a virtual office, you will spend less time doing work and more time with your family.
You will also find that working with a virtual office helps you to use your time more productively. Rather than working on paperwork and answering telephone calls, you will be able to concentrate on growing your business. You will find that you benefit from an increase in efficiency as you will be able to complete more work in less time.
The fact that virtual receptionists and assistants are already fully trained will mean that you do not have to spend time training them or correcting their mistakes. Unlike in-house staff, they will not need constant supervision.
We all have times where business is quiet. Although you would usually have to spend time creating work for employees, the flexibility offered by virtual receptionists means that during quiet periods you will not have to pay them a penny. You will only ever pay for the services you receive.
5. Make your business more competitive
The final of our five reasons is that using a virtual office in Singapore will make your business more competitive. If you think about it, you will be keeping your costs to a minimum whilst improving both efficiency and productivity, which will lead to higher profits. You will also benefit from the fact that you will have enhanced your image by appearing to operate from a prestigious city centre location. When you put all of these together, you will see that you have put your business in a very good position.
Working with a virtual office will make your business more competitive. No longer will it be seen as a home-run start-up company. Instead, you will stand a chance at competing with some of the bigger businesses in your industry and will soon be targeting customers on a national or even international level, rather than just locally.