The latest figures from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills reveal that there were 5.9 million SMEs in the UK at the start of 2019, representing 99.9% of the country’s total business population. Approximately 3.5 million (59%) of these private sector businesses were sole traders. Research on remote working also shows that more than one in two UK businesses are now based in their owners’ homes.
Reflecting the continued rise in small and home-based businesses, one of the top growth sectors for SMEs in the UK is office administration and business support. This correlation demonstrates the value of outsourcing administrative functions to providers of virtual office services and other specialised business support activities.
These types of services provide a real solution to the routine administrative challenges faced by many sole traders and small company owners, making it easier than ever to maintain high professional standards whilst keeping overheads and time demands to a minimum.
Six benefits of a virtual office service
Providing valuable support in the form of business telephone numbers, call answering services, business addresses, mail collection and forwarding, and meeting and conference facilities, a virtual office service is a cost-effective alternative to leasing commercial premises and hiring staff. Below, we outline the six key reasons why a sole trader should consider a virtual office service.
1. Establish a professional reputation
Your professional reputation needn’t be defined by the size or location of your business. By utilising virtual office services, you can easily enhance the image of your business and compete on a level playing field with larger organisations that are based in their own prestigious commercial premises with an army of staff.
2. Reduce administrative burden
Admin can be unbelievably tedious, especially when you’re trying to run a business single-handedly and still find time for some semblance of a personal life. Ideally, your main focus at work should be creating your products and providing them to an ever-growing base of delighted customers.
This can seem like a pipe dream for many a sole trader, but it is possible to reduce your administrative burden for very little outlay by using a call answering service, allowing you to work uninterrupted whilst making a good impression on new and existing customers.
3. Minimise business overheads
Minimising overhead costs is key to long-term success, but this has to be balanced against your need to project a professional image and provide high-quality customer service. When leasing commercial premises and hiring staff are not viable options, using a business address and call answering service is a beneficial and cost-effective alternative.
4. Protect personal privacy
If you work from home or use your residential address as a business address, your privacy is compromised to some degree. Whilst sole traders’ details are not disclosed on public record, which is the case for limited companies, most businesses do need to provide contact details on their websites, emails, stationery, and business cards.
Using a non-residential business address and a dedicated business telephone number is the best way to protect your personal privacy and avoid the risk of receiving junk mail and unsolicited calls.
5. Avoid unanswered telephone calls
The negative impression that unanswered calls have on the reputation and reliability of a business is significant. Existing customers will feel undervalued, and potential customers will be unimpressed and very reluctant to attempt calling a second time, resulting in decreased loyalty and many a missed business opportunity.
As a sole trader, it can be difficult to meet the demands of your business whilst always being available to answer every call. This is why professional call answering services were invented. Handled by a team of highly-trained receptionists, all of your telephone calls will be answered in your business name and transferred through to your own phone.
If you’re unavailable or too busy to talk, messages will be taken and passed on, ensuring all callers are left with a good impression of your business.
6. Increase productivity
Establishing a healthy work-life balance is essential. If work takes over, your personal life and well-being will suffer. But they will also suffer if you’re unable to make your business a success.
The best way to increase productivity without negatively impacting your work-life balance is to outsource the tasks that do not require your expertise. By focusing all of your time on the tasks that only you can do, you’ll achieve far more and still have time for a life outside of work.
Virtual Office Services in Glasgow
Blue Square Offices is Glasgow’s leading provider of virtual office services, offering professional business support to sole traders and limited companies in Scotland. Whether you’re a start-up or the owner of an established or growing business, you can benefit from a range of exceptional services at affordable prices, including:
- a prime business address in Glasgow city centre
- registered office service (Scottish limited companies only)
- unique business telephone numbers with local, regional, or non-geographical prefixes
- a professional telephone answering service tailored to your business
- out-of-hours voicemail and divert facilities
- fax number and fax-to-email services
- serviced office space with a welcoming reception area
- mail delivery and franking service
- air-conditioned meeting and conference rooms
Available to buy online, our flexible services can be taken on a month-to-month or annual basis, so there’s no need to commit to lengthy contracts or visit our premises in person.
If you have any questions or would like to talk to an advisor about our services, please call 0141 353 9300. Alternatively, please complete an Enquiry Form for more information.