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PO Boxes vs a Virtual Office

Money, money, money, we all want it but we don’t all have it available to spend on luxuries such as a serviced office in an enviable location. This means that working remotely or from home is becoming increasingly popular for businesses who wish to tighten their belts to survive in the current economy, save time on unnecessary commuting, and let’s be honest, enjoy a few more of those home comforts too!

A recurring problem for businesses is having an address available which is suitable for impressing potential clients, as well as being secure – many people may not want their home address plastered over business cards, advertising and so on to respect the privacy of their personal life and family.

Well then, why is using a PO Box not the perfect choice you may ask? They are professional (when compared to a home address), convenient and secure. Sounds great right? Until you consider the following issues:

A PO Box is….
• Expensive: Having a PO Box doesn’t come cheap, with current rates at £244 p/a collection and delivery at £303, it isn’t really fitting with the money savvy business world.
• Impersonal: People like people, they like knowing they are contacting an individual at a business and a PO Box address can appear ambiguous.
• Suspicious: Do people ‘trust’ a PO Box? It could seem as if you are hiding behind a mask, which in turns raising the notion of ‘Why? Do they have something to hide?’
• Unprofessional: A PO Box is not a substitute for the professional merits of a prestigious office address.

These issues could make potential clients wary of the business and in some cases may even deter these customers from getting in contact, choosing to go with a competitor with a registered business address that they trust.

Unfortunately it is a struggle to find alternatives that do not possess a baggage of additional problems of their own. Renting a serviced office will not only give your bank balance a heart attack, but incur all the same old problems of time wasting, stress and inconvenience which result in a negative effect on your lifestyle. Whilst turning to a freepost solution is again expensive, unprofessional and outdated.

The Modern Alternative – Virtual Office!
Choosing a virtual office solution with Hold Everything is a fantastic alternative, as you get the added bonus of using a prestigious registered business address on Regent Street, London.

So whilst a PO box may have had some selling points a virtual office is far more professional, benefitting from a prestigious W1 post code, more convenient, with our efficient mail forwarding service that filters for unwanted junk mail and only sends on what you require, and as mail is dealt with to your particular requests you also benefit from a safe and secure process.

To top it off, you will receive a range of other benefits including a professional telephone answering service, use of our flexible London boardroom to hold meetings, and in comparison with the high prices of using a PO Box our prestigious forwarding address is actually cheaper.

So when considering whether to use a PO Box over Virtual Office the question is…
Do you really want to give your business a mask to hide behind, or instead present an established and prestigious identity to be proud of?

Tags: PO Box / serviced office / business / businesses / Virtual Office / virtual office solution / prestigious registered business address / Regent Street, London / W1 post code / telephone answering service / London boardroom / prestigious identity

How to successfully run a Virtual Office…

virtual office boardroom table on beach, working remotely from home or on holiday

Virtual Office is the future. Numerous studies and articles have reported a rise in productivity for your employees and positive results for businesses who choose to operate outside of a traditional work environment. In other words, if you’re running a Virtual Office then ‘you’ are the future.

To those used to a conventional business set up, Virtual Office can be daunting. So here are some helpful hints and tips on how to successfully run a Virtual Office and most importantly how to make the most of it.

One of the key benefits of a Virtual Office solution is the ability to employ a diverse and talented workforce. Without the constraints of specificlocation, you can hire your employees from anywhere in the country, allowing you to pick the most qualified and enthusiatic rather than the most convenient.

So you’ve got your extended team of skilled individuals spread across the country, now the first challenge:

How do you manage your team?

First and foremost Virtual Office is all about social collaboration. Communications channels such as Skype, FaceTime, Google hangouts and other online instant messaging platforms are a fantastic way to keep in touch with your team. Although Virtual Office allows a flexible working approach it is important that you are still seen as the boss. Confirm some ground rules for your staff with a regular scheduled catch up using a platform of your choice. This allows you to keep on track of their goals, progress and keep connected to your employees.

Another key tool for a successful Virtual Office business is using an appropriate file sharing service. The emergence of cloud hosting platforms has allowed businesses to share and update documents in real time without the need of single server. All you need is an internet connection and employees from around the country can be sharing and working on the same documents, therefore keeping up to date and on track with your schedule. This allows you as the business owner to track progress within a common area.

Keeping up appearances

Although Virtual Office is all the rage, the concept of running your business from home can be seen as unprofessional and associated to less established businesses. To make the most of your Virtual Office you can utilise the registered London address on Regent Street as your offical business contact. Not only can you use the address but you will also have a dedicated London telephone number for your company. This gives off a professional vibe to potential clients putting their mind at ease that the business is both recognised and trustworthy.

You then need to use the service to your advantage clearly setting out a guide for mail forwarding, so all your business mail can be sorted through and sent on to an address of your choice. Hold Everything also offers a telephone answering service, this means not only do you have a London number to use but your virtual assistant will answer the phone on behalf of your company, take messages and direct important calls on to the correct contact. This means you will never miss a call again and save critical time getting distracted by sales calls.

Many people think that running a business from home can only related to a one-man job however I hope to have shown how Virtual Office gives a solution for all companies, big or small, with benefits to cost, flexibility and efficiency when managed well to make the most of your Virtual Office package.

10 ways Virtual Offices can lead to increased creativity and productivity

Virtual offices like Hold Everything are becoming more and more popular especially among young start-up companies, as well as innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. The ability to operate with flexibly you can build a strong remote workforce and promote a happy working environment resulting in creative thinking and increased productivity

Here are our list of 10 ways a virtual office could help your business:

1.   Flexibility

Whether you are the big boss or a part time employee, having the flexibility to work from any place, at any time, encourages you to work to deadlines and use your time resourcefully.

2.   Freedom

Flexibility links directly to freedom. Whether this is freedom to travel, to work from home, or to manage a family – a virtual office solution is the perfect way to create a reputation for your company with a London business address without being tied down to an office, increasing job satisfaction for yourself and your employees.

 

woman working from home with a virtual office in london

Working from home with a virtual office in london

3.   Value for money

Owning an office (particular with a premium London address) comes at a huge financial cost. A Virtual office eliminates the need for a physical office, whilst retaining the benefits; including a registered business address, mail forwarding service and even a dedicated receptionist, but at a significantly cheaper cost. The money saved can be spent on motivating staff with excellent equipment as well as rewards and bonuses.

4.   Environment

Having the option of choosing your own working environment, whether it is your favourite cosy coffee shop or in the comfort of your own home, means you are in a setting which works for ‘you’. Everybody is different so a traditional office environment could be distracting and uninspiring to many members of staff. A comfortable setting allows increases performance, gets the creative juices going and works flexibly to the individual.

5.   Accessibility

An office environment narrows your staff in to a rigid regime with a ‘9-5 working day’ philosophy. Choosing a virtual office package promotes an accessible working culture where your company can operate at any time of day (24/7 if need be!) This is especially useful for parents who have to work around family commitments, as well as working with colleagues and clients in different time zones around the world.

6.     No commute

Commuting to and from an office wastes valuable working time and will inevitably be both stressful and tiring. With the commute time gone, you will can start work feeling fresh and energised leading to voluntarily longer working hours from employees. Without a commute in the evening this also allows everyone to spend more time with friends and family which will lead to a happier team.

7.   Wide pool for recruitment

When you are office based you a limited by location, demographic and personal set up for potential employees. The flexibility of a virtual office service allows you to open up your recruitment base to people living anywhere in the country, or even anywhere in the world. Having access to the crème de la crème of talented individuals will create a more productive, diverse and determined workforce.

8.     Dedicated receptionist

Many feel that a bonus of an office is having a receptionist who will create a profession front for your company as well as dealing with administrative duties. However you may not know that virtual office can provided a dedicated receptionist who will answer the phone in a professional manner on behalf of your company and sift out those unwanted sales calls. Business calls will then be reviewed and passed directly on to the correct person. This gives your company valuable credibility but also avoids unwanted disruptions in your productive day.

9.     Meeting room service

For those times where you need to have a physical meeting with a client, Hold Everything offers a flexible meeting room service, allowing you to take over our professional boardroom within our office space on Regent Street in Central London. Whilst not being tied in anyway to a physical office, the boardroom is a great utility to use at your disposal, great for creative brainstorming or professional business meetings.

10. Happiness = Productiveness

The flexibility of location and freedom from formal structure gained from virtual office will result in a much happier and upbeat working team. A recent study from the University of Warwick has shown that happiness made people around 12% more productive in their working life*. Choosing a virtual office solution for your company will lead to increased morale letting your creativity and productivity increase exponentially.

 

TAGS: Virtual office solution / business / entrepreneurial / start-up companies / innovative / London business address / premium London address / registered business address / mail forwarding service / dedicated receptionist / virtual office package / virtual office service / credibility / professional manner / Regent Street / Central London / professional business meetings

REFERENCE:

* http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/staff/eproto/workingpapers/happinessproductivity.pdf

How to successfully set goals for your business

This summer I set myself a personal goal, to complete my longest cycle ride to date. Travelling from Paris to Brussels and eventually arriving back home in London. A journey totalling in 380 miles of burnt rubber!

And Yes! I’m pleased to announce that it was a success – not to say it wasn’t tough and certainly had its challenging moments and ‘uphill climbs’. But the sense of achievement has been fantastic, both personally for myself and also for my chosen charity which helps to fund the prevention and treatment of Crohns and Colitis in childhood, so far raising £1,435!

This experience got me thinking about the importance of setting both personal goals and business goals alike. As a business it is key to always be aiming ahead. Goals (the right goals that is!) need to be set, met and achieved to keep a business motivated. Well chosen objectives can point a new business in the right direction and keep an established company on track. So here is my advice to setting goals, keeping motivated and ultimately, succeeding!

Don’t start with the Tour de France!

When looking to set a goal, the first question to ask should be, is it achievable? It’s all good setting a target but if there is no chance of ever getting there you will find yourself demotivated and feeling like you have failed. I am a keen cyclist and year on year give myself a slightly more challenging ride to complete, but I always make sure that given the correct training and diet, I feel confident I can succeed! Give your company a chance and find a goal that with the right mental attitude and hard work you hope to achieve!

2. You won’t get far pedalling backwards…

Now that being said… if your goal is too easy there is no point to setting it in the first place. Whether it is a personal goal for work, team goals for your employees or a whole company target. Reaching that goal should be a big achievement and something that will give you pride in what you have done, so make sure it is challenging enough to make you sweat!

3. If your bike is a bike, take it for a ride! (make it relevant)

A key goal for one company will be different from another. When choosing your goal make sure it goes in parallel to the companies overall mission. Rather than just a financial target, think about how you want to get there, and making your goal personal to your own company. Everyone wants to make money and be successful, but a goal should be tailored to the process as well as the outcome.

 

3. Don’t forget to train

So you’ve chosen your goal – what’s next? You need to create a structured programme for how to achieve your goal. Business is all about being prepared, keep yourself and your employees on track with mini-targets. These well chosen objectives help you edge towards  your end goal. This keeps everyone involved motivated, and morale high, as well as allowing you to keep an eye on your progress and make sure you are continually heading in the right direction.

 

So in summary… 

Be optimistic, yet realistic. 

Be specific. 

Be prepared. 

 

By setting up goals and objectives you can give each task a sense of purpose, keep your company on track, as well as ‘keeping track’ on progress and inevitably create a fantastic sense of achievement when you reach your goal! Goals are important to every business be it a small start up company, or a large established business, just follow these easy steps and you’ll be as pleased as I was when my feet touched down in London!

 

Find out more about my bike ride and my chosen charity here… http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=Richardcooper42

 

I’m too busy – a message from Richard Cooper

virtual office visionary

If you are too busy to read this then please scroll to the last paragraph of this blog:

Have you ever been on the end of a conversation where the other person is just constantly “too busy”?  Are you constantly chasing a client who is too busy to email, speak or contact you?

In business we are taught specifically not to say “business is quiet”.  It is perceived we are not successful as a business and have too much time on our hands.   So surely then we have to be perceived as being “busy busy busy” all of the time?    A busy company is a successful company isn’t it?

Well not always it seems.  Being busy to the extent that your company looks effective and maybe has to call a client back or book a few days in advance is great, however here are three warning signs that your company MAY be portraying a “too busy” image that could be doing more harm than good.

 

1)      Refusing meetings with a client because they are not worth the time:  On the face of it you may be shocked that a company would do this?   However many companies use email/phone or another medium to avoid having to see a client because they are just TOO busy or at least want to give that perception.

How does the client see it? Many clients will feel that they are not valuable and that if you are too busy for their business then maybe you don’t need it. There’s a difference between a small client who genuinely needs help and “energy vampires” who would have you in their office on tap if they could.  I’m not saying spend all of your time going out and meeting every client but do be careful how it looks.

What to do?   Can someone from your office meet the client on your behalf – especially if it’s a smaller client who needs reassurance? It doesn’t always have to be YOU.   Can they come to your office?  Can you Skype?  There is always an answer and you never know when that small client will suddenly hit the big time!

 

2)      I’m too busy to go networking:  Many businesses say this all of the time.   “I have enough business” is another line which I hear often.  The thing is that we all use word of mouth as a way to gain new business.  Not being part of your community will isolate you in the long term.  There are groups for every budget but you must be involved.

How does the client see it?   Whilst they may feel that you are concentrating on them, how about your OTHER clients – your suppliers, connections and contractors – remember these people are ALL customers to you.   They may see it that you are happy to take business but not make the effort to go out and build relationships on your doorstep.

What to do? Can you send someone from your business?  Can you go to one close to your business which isn’t commitment based.   Look at your calendar and MAKE an hour a month at least to meet others local to you.  Don’t judge a group by what others say, go and make your own decisions.

 

3)      I’m JUST TOO Busy!  Full stop:  Really??  You seriously are too busy to be in business?  Where are you spending most of your time?  Is it with the people who pay you the most?  Or is it on the small day to day stuff.

How does the client see it?  That you are too busy for them, that you are ineffective and have poor time management skills.  They may also see that you will place quantity over quality.  That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but DO be sure that this is your business goal and that you have a very clear strategy on it if this is your vision.

What to do?  STOP…… NOW….. Look around at where you should be growing your business.  Hint:  It’s not from doing everything yourself.  You don’t need a big budget to outsource calls to a virtual answer service or to hire someone part time / commission based or even an apprentice.  If you are too busy full stop then you must take action.  Source someone to take the pressure off and seek a life coach ……..  but if you feel like you cannot continue then it will eventually destroy you and your business.

 

Think about it.  If you have taken the time to read this blog, you have already committed to changing your business.  Even if you have scrolled down from the top, it has been enough to interest you.    SO what action can you take NOW….. so that you DO have more time to grow your business successfully?

 

Until next time
Richard Cooper – Virtual office visionary
Follow me @holdeverything1