Business is more mobile than ever before. To make the most of opportunities, businesses must be flexible about where and with whom they do business.
The better they are at operating anywhere, at anytime, the better they’ll be at exploiting new markets, serving current customers and securing new ones.
SMEs should consider virtual offices not only for appearance, but expansion.
The power of the virtual
From cloud computing to communications, virtual services are having a sweeping effect on the
way we do business.
Virtualization is about efficiency - extracting the most from a resource by sharing it to reduce the cost- and flexibility - improving mobility to conduct business anytime, anywhere.
From computer systems to business infrastructure, virtualisation will keep your costs low by allowing you to pay-as-you-go, buying resources only as you need them.
More than an address
The quality of your address is critical to create the right appearance. But an address is only part of today’s virtual office, together with:
Telephone Services – A local number and receptionist to answer and route calls.
Office Facilities – Centrally-located meeting rooms, boardrooms, desk and lounge spaces, all suited to the expectations of the local country.
Technology – Allow your staff to work together regardless of location. From file sharing to video conferencing, the cloud and virtual office services go hand in hand.
Human Support – Local administration staff can handle more mundane office management tasks.
Location Portfolio – A list of cities worldwide where you can establish an immediate presence, representing the most important and fastest-expanding markets.
How can you benefit?
These days, a permanent office with full-time employees to answer calls and perform mundane tasks seems increasingly extravagant and unnecessary.
Efficiency is king, and that’s what virtual offices provide - a tool to access global infrastructures that you could otherwise not afford. It’s not about looking bigger, but being so.
The most important benefits are:
First Impressions – The right address can impress. In Singapore, a virtual office is the only affordable way for SMEs to acquire an address within the iconic Marina Bay
Financial Centre – a building prestigious enough to give a definite business edge.
Customer Comfort – Customers can reach you locally when you have a local presence.
Immediate On-Ground Support – Becoming familiar with new languages, customs and business protocols can be a challenge. With a virtual office, you can rely on the knowledge of your local staff.
Lower Market Entry Cost – A Virtual office is the most powerful tool available to quickly and efficiently create a presence in new locations.
Reach – Harness the virtual office provider’s portfolio to rapidly expand your business’ footprint while utilizing the same infrastructure worldwide.
Better Customer Support – Full-time local presence, even when you’re overseas, allows your business to be much more responsive, increasing satisfaction and encouraging repeat custom.
However, virtual offices are not meant to supplant the role of the traditional office. Instead, virtual offices make it easier to work between two (or more) locations. Mobile and cloud technologies allow smart operators to move both themselves and their data transparently between locations, making business less geographically-trapped and more responsive.
How to choose a virtual office provider
Virtual office providers offer different services, locations and technology, making it important
to choose carefully. Here’s what to consider:
From computing to office space, virtualization is creating new and more efficient ways for global businesses to operate, delivering the services and resources they need while allowing them to pay on a usage basis.
Regardless of their size, businesses should be taking advantage of this. Appearance and customer comfort is only part of the equation – it’s just as important to achieve lower costs, faster speeds to market and higher levels of agility while providing better customer service.
Businesses on the traditional path face higher costs and less flexibility, mobility and, ultimately, capability. To improve your chances of success, consider and embrace virtualization.
Marcus Moufarrige is Chief Operating Officer at Servcorp, a leading global provider of serviced office and virtual office solutions.
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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