Are virtual offices the future for your growing business?
If you’ve recently started a business, you might already be thinking about how to grow and scale your enterprise for maximum success. Like most business owners, you might be thinking about establishing physical premises for your office, where you can meet clients, host interviews, and have your employees work.
But with rent prices of commercial properties rising year on year – especially in business hubs like London – renting out an office might simply be unaffordable for the majority of new business owners.
Instead, many entrepreneurs are now making use of virtual offices. With no commitment needed when it comes to monthly rent payments, and a range of administrative features and benefits to take advantage of, a virtual office might just be the future of a sustainable, scalable business.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is a registered address that you can effectively ‘loan’ for use as your business address. You won’t actually work physically in the office on a daily or even monthly basis, but you’ll be able to register the address as your business address and avoid the hassle of associating your home address with your new enterprise. No more spam calls and spam mail!
How does a virtual office work?
Virtual offices typically work through a subscription payment structure. You’ll be able to choose the virtual address that suits you most, select a package plan that corresponds to your business needs, and register your new business address with Companies House (or the relevant equivalent if you’re not setting up your business in the UK.)
What does a virtual office include?
- Virtual office packages will typically include the following perks and features (although this may vary from provider to provider):
- Telephone answering service
- Snail mail redirection services
- Annual or bi-annual use of commercial property
- Use of meeting rooms If you’re just beginning your business venture and want to appear as professional as possible, these extra perks can come in handy in lending some legitimacy to your enterprise.
Who can use a virtual office?
Almost anyone can use a virtual office – even if you’re a salaried employee with a side-hustle or a small business. While there are no specific requirements for renting a virtual office, they tend to be most useful to the following business categories:
If you’re self-employed, you may not find it necessary to rent out a commercial office space for everyday use – especially if you’re self-employed in a vocational trade, such as plumbing or decorating. As you’ll be out on the job most days, a physical office isn’t worth the rent costs. However, registering your business at a virtual office can give your services that lucrative professional touch.
Plus, having a telephone answering service is great if you’re frequently on the job and unable to respond to enquiries or customer messages right away. You’ll add legitimacy to your business, and you won’t miss out on potential new clients.
If you offer freelance services, a virtual office is a great way to establish yourself as a professional within your field. This is especially true for freelancers who often work at home: if clients want to meet for a face-to-face or discussion, instead of having to video conference from your living room, you’ll be able to use some of your allotted meeting room time to make a great impression.
Having a virtual address also means that you won’t need to register your home address as your business address (if you turn your freelancing into a small business.) Having your home address public can be both a safety risk, as well as an invitation for all different kinds of spam mail and cold callers.
Fully remote businesses are on the rise, and a virtual office can make it easier than ever for you to run one yourself. If your employees have decided to work remote full-time, or if your business itself has always been a remote enterprise, a virtual office can be of use both to you and your staff members.
You’ll be able to take advantage of a virtual office’s mail redirection service, meaning that any mail sent to certain departments or employees will be instantly redirected to the right address. Plus, you’ll be able to use your allotted meeting room time to host annual conferences or meetings to go over agendas, planning, and other important concerns.
And even better, you’ll cut costs on one massive expense: rent. With the cost of London commercial rent the highest ever in all of Europe, it’s no wonder that many UK entrepreneurs are instead opting for a virtual address London.
Small businesses outside London
If you’re trying to establish your business in London, but your business isn’t registered with a London postcode, it can be incredibly difficult to land or maintain recurring clients. Many customers might want to be able to meet in person before signing any contracts, while many will simply prefer to opt for a service closer to home. By registering your business address in London, you’ll be able to access the wider London market, increasing both your client base and your revenue.
Are virtual offices the future of business?
While there is still some legitimacy to having a brick-and-mortar business address, virtual offices have been on the rise since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. As “work-from-home” became a choice, rather than a government-issued order, many companies have decided to cut expenses and opt for a virtual office, rather than waste company revenue on costly commercial premises.
Not only does a virtual office make it easier to implement remote working, but it’s also great if you want to be able to scale and grow your small business without the heavy start-up costs associated with expansion.
Scaling your business with a virtual office
When it comes to scaling your business, what entrepreneurs often find the most difficult to manage is the increase in day-to-day administration.
With an increasing number of phone calls to take, more customers or clients to communicate with, and the need to establish yourself as a professional within your field, many businesses are simply unable to manage the administrative workload, and don’t have the financial means to hire a full-time secretary or admin assistant.
With a virtual office, you’ll be able to take advantage of the phone redirection service to ensure you never miss out on funding opportunities or a call from important clients. You’ll also be able to use meeting rooms and work spaces when the need arises, without having to invest in a commercial premises.
And on top of all of that, you’ll add real legitimacy to your enterprise with an address in the location of your choosing, in turn giving prospective investors the impression that your business presents a viable and lucrative opportunity.