“Virtual offices have been a mainstay of our industry for many years; the popularity and increase in their use has been growing exponentially since the beginning of the recession.”
So says Frank Cottle, founder and CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices, in his recent interview with William L. Edmundson for Houston radio channel, The Price of Business.
During the interview — Virtual Offices: Flexibility, Small Costs and Big Benefits — Frank discussed the role of the Virtual Office as an established business tool for amplifying the professional appearance of a small business, without draining their budget.
“A Virtual Office is an entry-level product for some and a mainstay for others,” Frank explained. It reduces the commitment to any real estate at all by allowing a company to create and have a presence at one, or multiple locations, and have staff supporting them, with the flexibility to just come and go as they need.
Frank likened the Virtual Office to a business-friendly coffee shop: “Imagine receiving your mail at Starbucks. As you walk in you get your mail and messages in addition to your coffee, and you also get a private conference room to meet your guests.”
Frank, who founded Alliance Virtual Offices in 2007, is a recognized expert on flexible working, the virtual office movement and ‘third place’ working. Yet while the Virtual Office is an ideal solution for freelance business owners and solopreneurs, it is also gaining traction with large corporate users — particularly sales teams.
He explained that traditionally, sales teams would have a large office in a corporate headquarters. However, this is a massive and unnecessary drain on company resources given that the sales team is out on the road most of the time.
“Today, the salespeople would be working from the road but tied to the central office via a Virtual Office. They can base all their calls and meetings there, with a huge reduction in cost.” Using the sales team example, Frank explained that the cost per employee could be reduced from $1500 to just $150, simply by cutting out long-term commitment on their office lease and reducing their amount of unnecessary space.
At Alliance Virtual Offices we practice what we preach. As a company with a globally dispersed team, Alliance has a Virtual Office in many different countries, which helps improve service and business continuity at local level when doing business abroad.
Another important benefit that’s often overlooked by small business owners is the ability to use a Virtual Office to help obtain funding for business growth plans.
In his interview, Frank explained that when entrepreneurs start a business from home, the banking system often refuses credit because the business is based at a residential address with a cell phone. However, a Virtual Office can add fundamental credibility by providing a recognized office address, a business phone number, supportive staff, and a credible location to meet people (that’s not the nearest coffee shop).
In today’s on-demand, technology-driven business landscape, ‘work’ is no longer confined to a physical place — and a Virtual Office can help business owners maintain the professionalism their business and their customers need, while working from anywhere (and getting their mail reliably forwarded to them). Read about the big benefits of Virtual Offices or listen to the podcast to learn more:
If you like this podcast and you want Frank Cottle on your show, please contact Mike Sullivan, Chief Marketing Officer: [email protected]
About the Speaker: Frank Cottle is the founder and CEO of Alliance Virtual Offices and chairman of the Alliance Business Centers Network, which he founded in 1991. Frank is a recognized expert and speaker on flexible ‘third place’ working, and has spent almost the past 30 years delivering business services designed for the needs of startups, freelance professionals, entrepreneurs and growing SMBs.
About the Host: William L. Edmundson is President of William Edmundson Hospitality Consulting, drawing on twenty-five years of experience to offer expertise in the hospitality, flexible office, travel, and service industries.