How bootstrapping startups can use a virtual office to grow their business.
A report by 1776, the Washington, D.C. tech incubator, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently showed Chicago as an emerging city for startups. There’s quite a long way for Chicago to reach the likes of San Francisco as a digital and entrepreneurial hub, but between 2009 and 2011 alone, the growth of digital companies emerging in Chicago amounted to “a new company founded every two days.” But when it comes to initial funding and capital, most startups don’t have angel investors showering them with cash.
Bootstrapping ― or financing the startup without any external help ― is often the only option and requires prudence. This funding method can be difficult because, simply put, running a business is expensive. One of the biggest expenses outside of payroll is usually renting and furnishing an office space. If you are a one, two, or three person operation, a physical office location may not make much sense. But on the few occasions that you really need it, where would you meet new or existing clients? Nothing says ‘unprofessional’ quite like having a business meeting in a Starbucks full of students and exhausted parents trying to wrangle their children.
A virtual or shared office can offer some of the perks of having an office for about one-tenth to one-twentieth the cost, and it can also help take your new business to the next level.
Access to a receptionist.
Most virtual offices have a receptionist fielding phone calls on behalf of the startup. Potential clients will appreciate being greeted by a real, live person, which will help legitimize your business. Not to mention, the phone number provided by a virtual office will usually be a local number recognizable to potential local clients.
A bonafide mailing address for your business.
An address provided by a remote office space will most likely be in the heart of a business center and can boost your business two ways:
- Your website and business cards look better with a legitimate address.
- Having a corporate address is key to building business credit ― lenders can then confirm the operation and location of your startup.
Meeting rooms, client parking, and other special perks.
Many virtual offices offer the option of using a conference room to meet with clients. Some business centers even offer free parking for clients and free Wi-Fi within the space.
If you’re a small business owner or an emerging startup, don’t be the person who’s meeting clients at the Starbucks around the corner. If you’re not quite ready for an office of your own, the investment towards a virtual or shared office location can be worth every cent. A virtual office can help project a professional corporate image and set your company up for success with potential investors and clients. As the Second City is continuing its streak as the Startup City, many are taking notice. From lenders to investors to potential clients, there are multiple revenue streams available for upcoming companies to tap. Gain an advantage over any competition and further your growing business with a virtual office.