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Most entrepreneurs start and run a business from home because it’s convenient and cost-effective.
Based on statistics from the SBA, approximately 50% of U.S. businesses are home-based — a figure that has remained relatively constant over the past decade. This includes a wide range of firms including startups, self-employed, and non-employer businesses. It even includes some large employer firms.
With remote and flexible work becoming mainstream — a trend that has accelerated since the onset of the pandemic — it’s likely that the number of businesses operating from home is only set to increase further.
However, every home-based business shares a common concern: how do you separate your home from your business?
This stems from a number of challenges, such as:
- I don’t want my home address to be publicly visible on company records.
- Even though I work and operate my business primarily from home, I don’t want my home to be considered a business asset.
- I don’t want to be inundated with spam mail related to my business, nor do I want clients or business connections to show up unexpectedly at my home.
- I want a more professional exterior for my business, but I don’t need a full-time office.
- My home address is in a different location than my target market; I don’t want clients to assume that my home address is my area of business.
In many ways, the same concerns apply to your contact details, too.
If you are using a cell number, it can look unprofessional compared with a business number — particularly one with a local area code that matches your target market.
What solutions are available?
Traditionally, companies would rent an office suite with a telecommunications system and a landline number. These options are still available, although for home-based entrepreneurs it’s expensive and wasteful to rent an office that isn’t required on a full-time basis.
If you need a physical office on a part-time basis, or on a shared basis with a business partner or a colleague, coworking is one cost-effective option.
The sheer choice of coworking spaces means that entrepreneurs have a wide variety of options, including part-time access on flexible monthly memberships. Space is shared, or you can upgrade to a private office with additional benefits such as mail processing and meeting room access.
Another, even more flexible option is a virtual office.
This concept has been around for decades and was originally designed for business owners in the legal industry who spent most of their time off-site, visiting clients or in court, but who still needed an office in which to work on an ad hoc basis, meet clients, or receive mail.
In recent years the virtual office model has evolved and grown rapidly with the rise in remote work, and has proven particularly beneficial as companies reduce their reliance on physical office space.
How does it work?
A virtual office provides a commercial address at an office building, receptionist staff to receive and process mail, and the option to access onsite meeting rooms and office space as needed.
The key point is that companies rent the address — not the full-time office space — which keeps costs low.
A big draw for this style of workplace model is that home-based businesses can use the address as their official business address, which means they don’t have to publish their home address on company records for all the world to see.
Using a virtual office for business setup
Using a commercial address in this way can also help to separate your home from your business, which is an important step when setting up a business.
In fact, this is why it pays to work with a recognized entity formation and tax specialist, such as Inc Authority. You will gain expert advice on how to set up your business legally, how to protect your personal assets, and other important considerations such as when to start using a registered agent service.
Another reason for using an office address (virtual or physical) is that it strengthens your business credibility. Using a professional address, especially with a local business number, signals to clients and financial institutions that you care about your corporate image and that you’re invested in your company’s future.
Even in today’s work-from-anywhere world, an office address and phone number helps demonstrate that you’re a credible, trustworthy organization, which goes a long way toward building trust and strengthening relationships with clients and investors.
Our partner, Alliance Virtual Offices, provides virtual office plans with recognized addresses in hundreds of locations globally. They also provide local and toll-free business numbers.
Find out more about their flexible and cost-effective virtual office plans, which start from just $49/mo. Plus, as an Inc Authority client, you can use the discount code “Inc21” to get $100 off your set-up fee. Start your search or chat with a member of the team online at www.alliancevirtualoffices.com.