As a small business owner – there are over 23 million of them in the US – choosing the best office solution for your needs can be difficult. Unlike in years past, not every business needs a ‘permanent’ office where staff spends 40 hours per week. Today there are so many choices – virtual offices, executive office suites, traditional office space and even on-demand space. Given the fact that a large part of business can be conducted today using mobile devices while on the go, which is really best for your situation?
Here is an overview of virtual and executive offices, and the benefits of each. Hopefully this will help you determine which is the right solution for your small business needs.
Essentially, a virtual office allows small businesses to maintain a level of professionalism, while reducing the costs associated with a traditional office. Virtual office space provides the address and communication services you need, without a conventional lease. A sort of ‘use it when you need it’ approach. Even though you may not have a physical presence at your office address on a frequent basis, you have all of the services you need to keep you connected – and an address that impresses potential clients. In recent years, virtual offices have become very popular, as evidence by Google search data on virtual offices – the term virtual office gets searched 22,000 times per month.
‘Full time’ or executive office space can be better that coffee shops and is a great option for small businesses who need a place to conduct business on a regular basis, or who have a larger staff and need more space. Executive office suites make it possible to keep costs down as well, as tenants essentially ‘share’ overhead costs.
What are the benefits of a virtual office?
A virtual office gives you flexibility – conference or meeting rooms when you need them, remote receptionist, answering services, even an opportunity to own a prestigious address. Virtual office space typically provides:
- On-demand business meeting space
- Physical address with mail collection and forwarding
- Phone answering service
- Administrative tasks
- Custom telephone number
- Wi-Fi Internet connectivity when on-site for conferences/business meetings
An executive office space also offers many benefits, including:
- Ability for small businesses to scale up and add space as business grows, or downsize when needed
- Professional image
- Conference room facilities
- Amenities which may include video conference equipment, fax machine, scanner, kitchen, lounge area, , 24/7 facility access, janitorial services, full-time receptionist and often a ‘prestigious mailing address
- Flexibility in terms of lease – long-term, or month-to-month
- Reduced overhead costs, as tenants share security, maintenance, utility costs, etc.
- Sometimes office equipment is included, but usually based on availability
Traditional Office Space
- Lower raw cost per square foot
- More space for the money
- More ability to customize the space
- Sometimes the only option for specialized processes, services and equipment
Traditional office space, while typically being the lowest “raw cost” per square foot, actually can have the highest carrying costs for small businesses. They tend to have long leases, renovation or update costs, and separate utilities costs and typically require more capital equipment investment. For this reason, traditional office space can be very expensive for small business, but cost effective for larger businesses that can spread the facility expenses over more employees.
These are just a few examples of the benefits offered by either a virtual or executive office space. As a small business owner, it’s important for you to determine your needs in terms of how often you need a physical space in which to conduct business, and what is most suitable in terms of your budget. Today, flexible office solutions make it possible for small business owners to choose precisely what you need – no more, no less.