The current economy presents an opportunity for new startups, as well as large corporate entities, to transition to mobile and ‘virtual’ workforces … both out of necessity and a new understanding of the future business landscape. (Read: mobile, flexible, technology based) The trend to cloud-based business operations is undeniable.
Unfortunately, the discussion has been of internal organization issues and productivity as potential problems that the transition to a virtual workforce present. While these may be issues to heed, in our experience, working everyday with home-based businesses and telecommuters, we have found that there is a much more critical problem for successful home-based operations.
While the workforce is slowly transitioning, attitudes change much more slowly. Potential clients and business partners decision to do business with a company is affected by the impression of stability and confidence in the company as a long term business partner. This confidence can be made or broken in three ways: via phone, via in person meetings, and via their facilities.
Let’s explore how a virtual office can conquer this challenge:
- Don’t Be The First Person To Answer Your Calls:The first point of contact for the vast majority of business is on the phone. Skilled phone answering has a dramatic effect – it provides a positive impression of you and your business. Professional phone answering shapes your calls for more positive conversations. As if that isn’t enough, they also ensure your callers are informed of your schedule, if you are unavailable (a great way to avoid anxious business partners), and, conversely, prevents the annoying calls you have been avoiding ever connecting to you.
- Meet Outside Of Your Home:
Trying to close a deal while the barista at Starbucks is yelling out drink orders is only one step above asking the decision maker for a big account to “please excuse the mess” in your living room. Needless to say, this is not the way to grow a stable business. All true “virtual offices” come with the option of conference room time in a well appointed suite. Typically these conference rooms will come with a receptionist to greet your attendees as your own staff and provide meeting amenities such as beverage service and presentation equipment.
- Use A Professional Address:
Where you meet is only part of the location equation. Your address also speaks to your business stability and professionalism. P.O Boxes give the impression of a fly-by-night operation, and home addresses are easily recognized as such. (Leaving aside the safety concerns with publishing your home address, where a simple Google search can reveal more than you would like.) Virtual offices will provide a professional mailing address in a Class A building that you can call your own and include on your letterhead. Your mail is collected and forwarded to your home office for convenience.
In addition, talented virtual office providers will also keep up appearances if someone happens to stop by to “your address” unannounced. (Read: “I apologize sir, Mr. Smith is unfortunately out of the office, would you like to leave a note for him?”)
Currently serves as a Marketing Manager with a focus in online marketing and market strategy. Prior to joining Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces), Nick consulted with small businesses to assist in a business development and public relations role.