By Adam Horlock
As businesses and entrepreneurs persevered through 2020, the climate has shifted from business continuity and pivoting to how to recapture business and growth in 2021.
Throughout 2020, businesses of all sizes and various industries sought innovative ways to launch new products or services while in that new normal of quarantine, restrictive travel and working from home.
How are entrepreneurs doing this? Social media immediately comes to mind, but more than that, many are using virtual office services, virtual assistants and re-imagining what it means to work from home. The proliferation of virtual offices is allowing businesses to have a physical footprint in a market, grow their business and stay connected to their customer base while remaining apart.
What is a virtual office?
A virtual office is typically provided by coworking or flex office providers, although there are some online-only providers. From business address services, phone services, virtual assistants, office space available by the hour or day, coworking and other offerings, a virtual office can be the primary address of a business, used as a satellite office for a business or used for larger businesses looking to reduce their overhead costs.
More than a P.O. Box, businesses are able to use their virtual office to list their business on Google and other online search engines, have physical office space on an ‘as-needed’ basis, utilize telephone services and receive mail or packages.
Scheduling a virtual coffee hour with your co-workers builds in social time, and can help replicate the office environment.
Why do I need a virtual office?
With the unpredictability of what 2021 may bring, a virtual office provides you with business options and space, whereas previously, the options would have involved investing in a long-term, costly commercial lease. By utilizing a virtual office service, your business has options. You can test a market without large overhead costs, scale slowly in a new market without hiring multiple employees and have the flexibility of canceling a virtual office if unsuccessful. Most virtual office plans are month-to-month and can easily be canceled.
Second, you must show your existing customer base that they are making the right choice by investing in you. People want to buy from businesses that solve their problems and have an upward trajectory for stability and growth. Even incremental investments in new markets demonstrate perseverance and strength and signal to existing customers that you are a stable choice to assist their business through 2021.
Third, by establishing a strong business relationship with your virtual office provider, you can be a part of a business networking community already established in that location. Typically, the management is in constant communication with other businesses and entrepreneurs that both have physical office space or a virtual office. Throughout the past year, most have worked hard at reinventing their business via new networking opportunities, and now have a calendar packed with virtual networking lunch and learns, virtual “happy hours” and other innovative events.
Businesses and entrepreneurs alike are still looking to rebound from 2020, and by using a virtual office, most find they can enter new markets, reduce overhead and become more appealing to their customer base. There is only one guarantee as we continue through 2021 – just like 2020, expect the unexpected!
Adam Horlock’s writing has been featured in dozens of publications around the United States, including USA Today and Entrepreneur Magazine.
Editor’s note: Office Evolution, which provides services like those discussed in this article, has been an integral part of our startup. It is located at 10 Canebrake Drive in Flowood.