There are a lot of reasons small businesses opt for a virtual office over a brick-and-mortar location. Whether you’re short on cash, only working on your business part time, or just starting out, follow these steps to set up a virtual office and begin doing business from, well, anywhere.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office can refer either to an office that operates primarily online, or to a company offering that provides a mailing address for your business or startup without requiring you to rent or lease a building to do so.
Some virtual offices, called coworking spaces, allow you to rent a desk, private office, or meeting/board room, so you can impress potential clients with your space when the need arises.
Small business owners and startup founders who elect to use a virtual office often opt for a virtual receptionist as well. Virtual receptionists take care of all incoming phone calls, emails, appointments, meeting schedules, and more.
However, virtual receptionists located onsite at coworking spaces are typically not recommended. They tend to offer a limited range of services. For example, some companies charge a $3 ‘delivery fee’ each time a virtual receptionist delivers your email or phone messages to you. Conversational Receptionists never charge additional fees outside of your low monthly plan cost.
Set up a virtual office for a small business
1. Decide who you want to work with.
Make sure you’re clear on who you’ll need to hire to handle some of the workload. You might be able to do it alone, but why would you? “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Hire some help–if you’re not ready to look at hiring someone full time, just start with a virtual receptionist to handle your phone calls, appointments, and correspondence while you handle the business yourself. It’s one of the simplest working arrangements there is. You can try our virtual receptionists free for 30 days with zero obligation to sign up after your free trial period ends.
2. Get a mailing address.
One of our favorite ways to set up a mailing address for a virtual office is a digital mailbox. You’ll sign up for a physical address anywhere you choose, and once you’ve set up your plan (starts at $5.99/month), you’ll receive alerts via text message or email when mail arrives to your mailbox.
You can view your mail on any computer, smartphone, or tablet. To send letters and other correspondence, you’ll simply scan the letter or take a photo of the document, upload it, and enter the address it should go to. We recommend Anytime Mailbox – they’re fast, friendly, and cost-effective.
3. Consider coworking.
If you’re looking to work in close proximity to other professionals, entrepreneurs, and executives in your area, you might consider coworking. In a coworking space, you can choose to work alone, in a public area, a meeting room with a team, or in a soundproof booth.
The coworking space will charge a certain amount for a mailing address for your business to use, and you can choose how often you’ll want to use your ‘desk’ or office. This is a bit different from a fully virtual office because you’re actually going somewhere to work, although you don’t have to rent or lease an office building! It can also provide networking benefits with other professionals in your area.
That’s it. Once you’ve hired your help, secured an address, and decided if you’ll try coworking or working alone, setting up your virtual office is no problem. Technology makes it easier than ever to get started with just your computer while making money in your small business!