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How can a virtual office be a marketing advantage?

If you’re working from home, your address could be sending out the wrong message to your potential clients and could be losing you business, here’s why…

“Oh No …. I’m going to lose this order.” That was the dreadful realisation as I led the team from the council up the back stairs in my house to the room I called my office. Although it was a great room for producing the audio visual extravaganza that the council wanted to commission me to do, it said all the wrong things to them. The toys on the stairs said ‘distraction’, the back room said ‘one-man band’, and the address said ‘how serious is this guy?’

My main contact (the Industrial Development Officer) called me the next week to give me the bad news - except that it wasn’t – I had got it by the skin of my teeth and the council were prepared to take a chance on me. My guy had told them that I was moving out of the back bedroom and taking an office in the council’s new swanky business centre.

“But I can’t afford it I pleaded.”

“No – but you will be able to if you can persuade more clients that you are a serious business’ he said. ‘And what we can do is start you off with a virtual office”

“What good will that do me – it’s just a pretend office that is just another overhead?”

“Ah but it’s not – we will make the Business Centre Address your registered office so it will be the one that’s on your website, and your business cards”

“But when the clients want to see me they will find out I’m still working from home?”

“No - when you do need to meet clients you can use our meeting rooms, they all have the latest AV equipment so you can just bring along the shows you have created in your back bedroom.”

“I don’t know – it’s still an extra overhead that I really can’t afford at this stage.”

“OK – How much are you spending on marketing this year?”

“I don’t know, maybe 5 or 6 grand if I add up the cost of the website, and the business cards and some advertising and mailshots”

“And that could be 5 grand wasted if the address says to the customer ‘I’m a one-man-band, I work from home’. Think of the virtual office cost as a marketing investment rather than an overhead’

There were 12 of them altogether – the whole industrial development subcommittee – sitting round the boardroom table in the Business Centre’s conference room. The show looked brilliant on the 50” TV on the wall, and when my ‘secretary’ brought in the caffetieres of coffee the councilors were well impressed. It was just the start I needed.

Even if you don’t have clients visit you, a home address listed on your business cards or promotional literature can have the same effect. A virtual office at The Old Brewery Business Centre is only £20 per month. Get in touch if your business could benefit.

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