Virtual vs. Real Office Space for Startups

office space

This article is a must-read for all your tech startup founders out there who are struggling to balance expenses against whatever little funding and revenue you have. Even if you have raised funding, it’s very important to spend as little as you can in the early stage when you don’t have a proven business model.

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You don’t know if it’s working and whether all the things you’re doing are going in the right direction. It’s advisable to come up with an operational setup that reduces or eliminates most of the overheads while your business is still in the very early stage. This is where you have to consider the benefits of getting virtual office space vs. a physical office.

How Virtual Office Space Reduces Your Startup Costs and Overheads

The biggest cost factor is the office space you have to maintain. The initial startup costs, furnishings, equipment, and fixtures will cost a huge sum that bootstrapped startups cannot afford. Then there’s the monthly costs – rent, utilities, maintenance, etc. If you don’t have any revenue, this can quickly drain all your funding, and you’re left with no cash flow to continue operations.

The easy solution to this is to get a virtual office instead of a full-time rental space. With a virtual office, you get to use the address on your visiting card, website, and letterheads. But you don’t get the key to an office or shop. Instead, you come in only when you have work to do, or you have to meet a client, business partner or your employees. They’ll give your desk space or a meeting room, depending on what your needs are for the day.

You only pay for what you use, when you use it. At the end of the month, you end up saving around 80-85% of the monthly costs of running an office. Also, you don’t spend any money setting up the office and furnishing it.

Features of a Virtual Office Package

Ok, so it’s a flexible office space where you pay for what you use. But what are the things that you can use? Here’s a list of the features commonly found in a virtual office package:

  • Virtual Address
  • Reception Desk
  • Call Forwarding
  • Mail Forwarding
  • Hot Desks
  • Café
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Free Wi-Fi

The most important aspect here is that you get free Wi-Fi to use whenever you are in the office space. Secondly, when you are not there, space will handle your visitors, calls, and mail. The reception desk will attend to your visitors if any. They will also provide a dedicated phone number for you, or at least take calls on your behalf. Some will even provide call forwarding, where any incoming calls are taken by the reception and then forwarded to you on your mobile. The caller never knows that you aren’t there in the office.

Lastly, they also accept mail sent to the address that is meant for you or your business. You can then collect it in person, or they can also forward it to your real address.

Combine all these services into one package, and you can run the office just as effectively as some other business that has taken a full-time office space on rent. The difference is that you’re spending 80% less. Sounds good, right? It actually works. Give it a try.

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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