If you want to reduce your business overheads, minimise risk, gain credibility and boost productivity — a Virtual Office Service is the ultimate solution. This guide breaks down what a Virtual Office Service is, what it does and how your business can benefit from using a Virtual Office Service.
In this day and age, starting a new business here in the UK can be incredibly fast and simple.
A wide range of ecommerce sites and social media have opened up loads of new doors for aspiring traders and service providers — while employee shortages and shifting global supply chains have created unique opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs across all walks of life.
Bearing that in mind, it’s little wonder that more than 810,000 new companies were formed in the UK between 2020 and 2021. There’s a whole lot of potential out there, and a fresh generation of business owners appear ready to leverage that potential.
Yet while Britain’s thriving business ecosystem has had to make way for a whole lot of new start-ups over the last 12 months, it’s important to note that not all of those start-ups end up finding success. Last year, almost half a million companies were dissolved — and statistically speaking, about one in five businesses fail in their first year of trading.
So, what can you do as a business owner to maximise your chances of success?
One of the simplest and most affordable business investments you can make is to use a Virtual Office Service. With the help of a Virtual Office Service, you’ll not only be able to reduce your overheads, but you can also boost your corporate image, slash your admin work, protect your personal privacy and more.
In turn, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about dull menial tasks, and more time focusing on growing your business to ensure it beats that 12-month hump.
This guide will explain what a Virtual Office Service is, and 10 crucial benefits you can expect to gain by working alongside a Virtual Office Service provider like Blue Square Offices.
What is a Virtual Office Service?
Before we speed right into how a Virtual Office Service can supercharge your new (or existing) business, it’s worth pumping the brakes for a moment to review what a Virtual Office Service actually entails.
Simply put, a Virtual Office Service is a remote business-to-business (B2B) service that companies and sole traders use to access a range of essential office-related functions on an as-needed basis.
Generally speaking, most Virtual Office Service providers should be able to offer you:
- Business addresses that you can use as a limited company, LLP, partnership, or sole trader
- Mail handling and forwarding
- A business telephone number and fax number that is specific to your business
- Telephone answering and forwarding services
- Out-of-hours voicemail
- Fax-to-email services
This collection of services enables you to run a successful business from anywhere in the world while still gaining access to a concrete and reputable base of operations maintained by a dedicated team of staff members.
That means you can run a business from your garden shed without having to worry about handling pesky customer calls or misplaced mail.
But more important still, superior Virtual Office Service providers are also able to offer business owners a physical, in-person element to support face-to-face meetings. That means access to meeting rooms and conference facilities you can utilise on an on-demand basis — only paying for the spaces when you need to host a big meeting or impress a new client.
Bearing that in mind, Virtual Office Service providers tend to offer a dynamic and practical solution for company owners and sole traders that work from home, on-site or in the field on a regular basis. A Virtual Office Service helps you gain a local business presence in a specific area without having to buy or lease a new premises — helping to grow your business at affordable and flexible rates.
OK: so, we’ve covered what a Virtual Office Service is. Now, let’s dive into how taking on a Virtual Office Service can really take your business to the next level.
1. Establish a professional reputation
The first key benefit you can expect to gain with a Virtual Office Service is that you’ll be able to gain an enhanced professional reputation right off the bat.
Unfortunately, a company’s professional reputation is often defined by its size or location. Think about it, because we’re all guilty of it. How many times have you scrolled through Facebook and looked at where a company’s office is based before writing it off and looking for another business?
It’s an unfair bias that’s hard to escape — especially when you’re a bootstrapped start-up struggling to hit the ground running on a low budget.
By enlisting the help of a Virtual Office Service provider, you’ll be able to compete on a level playing field with bigger companies by taking advantage of a reputable business address in a city centre location.
For example, Blue Square Offices enables business owners to use our well-established and prestigious registered office address in the heart of Glasgow city centre as their official headquarters. This will help you to stand out to potential clients and show customers that you’ve got the right tools to get the job done.
2. Reduce office admin
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a business owner. By now, you probably understand better than most just how tedious business admin can be. If you’re a sole trader or running a business on your own, all of that paperwork and all those administrative tasks can prove to be a major drain on your time.
That drain is going to clog your personal life. But it will also prevent you from spending all of your working hours on what really matters: creating amazing products or useful services that will impress customers and ultimately grow your business.
By delegating some of that work — such as telephone answering or mail handling — to a Virtual Office Service provider, you’ll be able to slash your admin burden. In turn, you can free up your time and get down to business.
3. Reduce your overheads
If you want to scale up your business, you’re going to have to think very carefully about where and how you’re going to invest the limited funds you have available. One way to save cash is to take on a Virtual Office Service.
Leasing or renting a fancy commercial premises in the heart of the city isn’t going to come cheap. Add in the professional staff and utility bills, and you could be looking at huge start-up costs.
Unfortunately for most business owners, those costs are just too much to stomach — and they just keep on going up.
According to one 2021 survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), 77% of Scottish businesses said they had recorded a hike in running costs over the last 12 months.
That’s where Virtual Office Services really come to the rescue, here.
By utilising an on-demand service provider, you can take advantage of a great address and professional reception staff at an affordable rate without having to worry about the sky-high rent, expensive energy bills, or the day-to-day wages of reception staff.
4. Protect your privacy
Although a huge number of UK company directors and sole traders manage to operate successfully from the comfort of their own homes, it’s important to note that working from home can also compromise your privacy to a certain degree.
While your contact details aren’t going to be disclosed on the public record as a sole trader, limited company owners are legally required to embrace transparency via the Companies House register of companies. That means your correspondence address is published online and visible for anyone in the world to see — and most of us don’t want everyone on the planet knowing exactly where we live.
If you want to maintain your privacy and prevent unsolicited calls and confused customers from showing up at your front door, the easiest and most affordable option is to set up a registered office address using a Virtual Office Service provider.
By registering your business at a non-residential and professional address, you’ll not only boost your professional image — but you’ll also be able to keep your home address private.
5. Improve your customer service
If you want to be able to offer your customers a dedicated and considerate customer service experience, you’re normally going to need a lot of time and investment.
Maintaining an engaged customer base relies on effective communication and personalisation. After all, there’s nothing more disheartening than ringing or emailing a business during the day and not getting the sort of answer you need relatively quickly.
When you invest in a telephone answering service, you’re giving your clients, partners and customers peace of mind that every message will be passed along and acted upon. By enabling your stakeholders to instantly connect with another person, you’re going to be able to demonstrate to them that your business is reliable and accessible.
If customer interface isn’t really your cup of tea, this is going to be invaluable.
6. Boost your productivity
Let’s face facts, here: there’s simply not enough time in the day. No matter how much admin you’ve managed to work through and how many customer enquiries you’ve cleared, there’s always more work to do.
If you’re running a solo operation, that giant mountain of tasks is going to pose a serious impact on your work-life balance. But when your well-being takes a hit, it’s inevitably going to harm your ability to make your business a genuine success.
That’s why you’ve got to look for little wins that will ease the weight on your shoulders — and outsourcing basic tasks and operations to a Virtual Office Service provider is a great way to achieve that.
Bypassing boring admin tasks along to a professional team, you’ll be able to focus all your time on the tasks that only you can do. This will help you to become more productive during working hours — and when you’re more productive at work, you can also relax more when it’s finished for the day.
7. Establish a local business presence
Establishing a local business presence is really critical in many sectors. Plenty of businesses rely on a strong local community that supports businesses specific to the area, and capitalising on that support can help you to generate sustainable revenue.
But if you’re unable to afford a visible and permanent commercial premises in the market you’re trying to penetrate, getting that local visibility can feel nigh impossible.
Setting up a business address using a Virtual Office Service provider offers the ideal solution. With the help of a service provider in the area in which you’d like to operate, you’ll be able to gain a local business telephone number and local address that will give customers peace of mind they’re dealing with a business interested in their community.
8. Strengthen your brand image
At the end of the day, customers place trust in businesses with a strong brand image. That means they are far more likely to give your business money if your brand feels reputable. You’re going to require several things to achieve a reputable brand — and that journey starts with gaining either a local, regional, or non-geographic landline number.
If you’re trying to operate your business using a mobile phone number, it’s going to tell customers that you’re not an established brand. Instead, it will likely discourage customers from giving your company a chance.
More important still, being able to promote concrete business premises will make it way easier to promote your brand at the local, regional or even national level. It helps to legitimize your brand — which will then go on to help you earn consumer trust.
9. Lower your financial risks
As we’ve already mentioned, starting a new business can be pretty expensive. According to researchers at HP, the average cost for starting a UK business is £22,756. This includes all sorts of things like legal fees, accountancy, human resources, premises, insurance, and everything in between.
If you’re going all-in and are prepared to take out a business loan, that might not be a problem. But if you’re a freelancer simply testing out the waters with a new business idea, you might not be prepared to risk investing that much money into your venture.
The best way to mitigate that risk is to cut away a large proportion of those costs. Virtual Office Services will enable you to gain a prestigious address, access to reception staff, phone answering, mail forwarding and even pay-as-you-go office space at low and flexible rates. That means less money down, fewer start-up costs, and less risk of insolvency.
10. Access to global talent
Another key benefit of utilising a Virtual Office Service provider is that you’re not bound by overpriced geographical premises. Think about it: if you own an office in Manchester, you’re going to be limiting your talent pool to people in Manchester.
But if you’re operating your business remotely, you can find and hire talented individuals from Glasgow, London, Berlin, and Hong Kong without anybody needing to come into the office. Likewise, you’re able to operate a company with a business address in Glasgow city centre while actually working from a cafe in Cumbernauld.
That being said, this ability and flexibility to harness global talent is going to be dependent upon a local or regional anchor. Again, this is where a Virtual Office Service is necessary. Leveraging an established local address with professional admin staff will guarantee your company is manned and based in the UK — even if it’s being powered by remote individuals from all over the world.
The bottom line
No two businesses are 100% alike, but a huge proportion of UK business owners have several needs in common. They want to reduce overheads, minimise risk, gain credibility and boost productivity — and a Virtual Office Service is the ultimate solution.
Want to learn more about Virtual Office Services? Check out the Blue Square Offices blog. You’ll find guidance on working from home, telephone answering services, hiring remote workers from overseas, and much more.