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Thinking about launching a business?
While the current situation may not seem like the ideal time to go into business, your product offering could fill an important gap in the market.
For instance, while many businesses have struggled over the past year, particularly within the travel, leisure and hospitality sectors, many others have thrived — such as those offering ecommerce, digital services and remote work solutions.
The current situation can offer an opportunity to change your thinking and pivot or adapt your business model to suit these needs.
Starting a business is an exciting and often rewarding experience, but it pays to set out a watertight business plan before embarking on your journey, and especially before committing any capital to your new venture. This will enable you to investigate every aspect of your business idea and make educated decisions about your development and growth projection.
Read our guide for 5 things you need to know before starting a business.
Once you’ve made the decision to start a business, there are a number of important steps to consider, such as entity type, which business license(s) you’ll need, tax structure, and legal requirements.
One thing you won’t need yet, unless you’re a brick-and-mortar business, is office space.
New business owners commonly make the mistake of leasing an office too early. It’s a costly commitment which can be fraught with hidden costs such as building maintenance, insurance, cleaning bills, and so on. For new businesses with limited capital and low cash flow, it’s often an expense you can do without, particularly if you can work from home.
This is particularly relevant in the current situation, where social distancing and reduced occupancy requirements means you might not be able to make full use of your office space.
However, one important aspect of an office is the address.
You will need this for a number of reasons when starting a business, which we’ve listed below. But the good news is, you don’t need to rent a physical office to acquire the address.
A cost-effective virtual office can do that for you.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office provides most things you need from an office — such as a business address, a place to receive mail, and receptionist support — without the full-time commitment.
You’ll get a recognized address at a physical office building, which you can use to set up your business entity. What’s more, if clients unexpectedly turn up at your virtual office address, they’ll be met at reception just like any other office. It’s much more favorable (and professional) than having visitors turn up at your home.
Why do I need an office address?
- You will normally need a commercial address for setup processes, such as entity registration, licensing and permits, and to open a business bank account.
- When the time comes, you can use your address to build credit and apply for business loans or other funding opportunities.
- It helps to protect your home address from junk mail or unexpected visitors when publishing your address on your website, email footer and business cards.
- A business address demonstrates that you’re thinking long-term; it looks more established than a home address and helps build trust and credibility with clients, investors, and other important stakeholders.
Where do I work if I don’t want to work from home?
From time to time, you may need a brick-and-mortar workplace. That might be for meetings with clients, interviews with new hires, or simply somewhere quiet to focus and work.
Your virtual office has onsite meeting rooms and office space for that very purpose.
Some virtual offices include meeting room usage within their monthly agreements. Our partner, Alliance Virtual Offices, offers a specific plan called Platinum Plus, which includes up to 16 hours of meeting room or office usage every month.
Or, you can reserve a meeting room any time you like for an hourly fee. This can be as low as $10 per hour in some locations, which enables cash-restricted startups to gain easy access to professional workspace easily and cost-effectively.
Some startups use their virtual office as a stepping stone for their first year, before moving on to an office lease. Others realize that they don’t need physical office space, and use their virtual office as part of a long-term growth strategy. The good thing is, virtual offices are flexible by nature, which means you can utilize it for as long as your business needs.
Speak to our partner, Alliance Virtual Offices, to learn more about how a virtual office can support your new business venture and search online for virtual office plans and pricing.