When you opt to skip the typical brick and mortar office and operate virtually, you can save a lot of money, but you also need to have a cohesive strategy to stay organized, make sure you are focused and stay on top of your workload. Here are four simple tips to help you make the most of your virtual office.
- Hire a virtual receptionist. When you are a small business owner or solopreneur, the phone is your life blood. It’s how you connect with your customers and make sales, but it can also cost you if you can’t answer every call as they come in. By hiring a virtual receptionist to answer your calls, you can ensure that every call is answered promptly and professionally. You can choose to have your calls forwarded to you as they come in, or have your receptionist take a message so you can return the calls when it fits into your schedule. Freeing yourself from constantly scrambling to answer every call as they come in will allow you to focus on more big-picture strategies – like growing your business.
- Hire the best talent you can, no matter where they live: One of the biggest freedoms you’re afforded by running a virtual office is the ability to hire the most talented employees or freelancers, no matter what their home address may be. So if you need a salesperson, writer, designer or widget manufacturer, you aren’t bogged down by the same geographic constraints that a traditional office is. So cast your net wide and find the best people you can to support you and help your business grow.
- Connect your team: Once you start to hire employees or contractors, you need a place to collaborate – to share and comment on your work. There are a lot of cloud-based project management programs out there that can easily connect team members, even if they are spread out across the country, or even the globe. Basecamp, Asana and Wrike all give you the ability to assign tasks and give feedback on each other’s projects. Dropbox is also a great tool for sharing documents and files, especially ones that might be too large and cumbersome to email directly to your team. Even if you don’t have employees, you can still make use of these tools to keep in touch and collaborate with your clients.
- Find a place to meet: Even when you operate out of a virtual office, there will still be times when you need to meet with your clients face to face. This is when having a professional meeting space is invaluable. For a casual meeting, a coffee shop might be fine, but say you are making a presentation that could lead to a million-dollar contract, it’s important to project a more professional image, which is when having a professional office at your disposal can be invaluable. Fortunately, there a lot of options available. Some companies with more meeting rooms then they need will actually rent them out to individuals to use for a small fee. Another growing trend is co-working spaces, where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses can purchase memberships. Even if you aren’t a member, most of these co-working spaces will still allow you to book one of their rooms for a fee.
By following these simple tips, you should be able to position yourself and your company to meet your goals, whether it’s to increase sales, hire more freelancers or double your customer base.