It’s not where you work, it’s how you work

WRITTEN BY Tina Miller ON 22 June 2010

Online articles for new businesses and entrepreneurs often emphasise the pros and cons of home working and home offices disregarding the fact that many entrepreneurs are constantly mobile. Their average day is rarely typical and often rely on smart phones and instant messaging to manage their business day.

To succeed as a mobile entrepreneur requires effective daily management and organisation whilst focusing on your clients and business needs. The growth in Virtual Offices can be explained by the number of businesses performing this juggling act.

Outsourcing telephone answering plus administrative and secretarial duties can free up time to concentrate.

Many virtual office companies also have bricks and mortar locations for you to meet clients or pitch for new business, removing the need for business insurance or provision of additional space at your home.

Depending on your business the benefits of presenting an impressive business address via a Virtual Office (incorporating mail forwarding and a central ‘0207’ telephone prefix) may be a crucial component of a business plan and this value may outweigh the monthly costs.

However with such variety in quality there are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure the virtual office you choose will represent your business appropriately for many years.

1. How do you feel about clients knowing where you live and having access to your home number or mobile?
Consider whether an 0207 telephone number with a live virtual receptionist would help you manage your day by screening out time wasters and allowing you to focus on your business.

2. Do you need to project a professional image from the start or is this an aspect that can be deferred until your business is more secure?

Is a business address going to help secure clients? Some virtual office providers allow you to pick the services you need and add and remove as your requirements change. Check the terms for this, can you only do it at the end of your contract? If you want to reduce your services are the terms different.

There are some budget virtual office providers in the market that may suit your current requirements of simply an address for your website but consider all the future trajectories you can take your business. Visit the location of the virtual address, meet the staff handling your mail and telephone calls, inspect the reception area, meeting rooms and the areas that interest you now and in the future.

3. Is your plan to one day have a physical office?
If it is make sure the virtual office you have chosen can offer office space and check the flexibility of the terms. This will allow you to keep the same contact details and, if the office doesn’t work out you can go ‘virtual’ again with no drama or inconvenience.

4. Do you ever need to meet your clients face-to-face either now or in the future?
You and your current clients might be happy to use free coffee shops at the moment but consider your prospective clients and how they will perceive your company. Also if you choose a virtual office with a business address then you may prefer the consistency of meeting rooms at your business address.

It’s important to visualise the future of your business and be sure not to undersell yourself.