How to Effectively Run your Business using a Virtual Office
By Caitlyn Buchanan, 16.05.17
It is said that people who work from home are more productive and happier in their jobs than traditional office workers. Virtual offices are ideal for entrepreneurs who are constantly on the move or do not have a significant physical presence in the locations their clients are based. Running your business from a virtual office can save you money and give you the flexibility you crave.
This article contains useful information to help reduce the challenges remote workers face. We put the focus on to building trust when working with a virtual team or providing services from a remote location.
What is a Virtual Office?
A virtual office means that you work remotely to where your team or customers are based using internet-based communications. You may choose to run your businesses from your own home or virtually anywhere in the world. A virtual office typically employs technologies such as virtual desktop, live meeting, Skype, and call forwarding allowing contributors to share a scope of business capacities regardless of their physical location. This can be highly beneficial when collaborating with a virtual team or provided services to customers in various locations. Maintaining a virtual presence can reduce travel costs and the expense of leasing a physical office space.
With a virtual office, you can run your business and manage your virtual team from your own home or anywhere in the world.
1.) Maintain Open Lines of Communication
If you do not communicate you do not exist. Modern technologies offer many internet based solutions to staying connected. When working with clients remotely it is important to communicate as effectively as possible. Learn how your clients communicate and try to use the communication methods they use most to stay connected. In addition to email, there are many online live communication tools such as Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype.
We recommended that you implement traditional lines for communications as well such as a business fax number and local business address with mail forwarding services to be sure you’re not missing any important documents or communications.
2.) Build Relationships with Verbal Communication
When possible it is advised to follow up non-verbal communications such as emails with a phone or voice call, this will help establish a personal relationship and build trust with your clients.
After sending or receiving emails, documents or instructions read them over carefully and follow up with a call to confirm the expectations of both parties. Having a quick chat about the details will avoid miscommunications later. We recommend setting up a local phone line with call forwarding to your designated work phone number so it is easy for clients to reach you.
3.) Set Clear Hours of Availability
There is no need to be available 24/7, this is not the most effective use of time. But you may consider changing your working hours to suit your client’s local time zone or simply making your working hours clear to clients via an email signature, out of office message, or posting them on your website. We recommend using a telephone answering service this will promote credibility and demonstrate professionalism.
Don’t forget to unplug and take some time to spend with your friends and loved ones. This time will help to reset the brain and will allow you to come back to work focused and more efficient.
4.) Under promise and over deliver
This may seem obvious but it is important to remember. Try to factor in additional time when sharing timelines with clients. This will allow you to submit projects before there are due and allow for extra time if other priorities come up.
Exceed expectations whenever possible, anticipate the questions clients may have and share your knowledge. If a client requires a service that you are unable to provide try to facilitate with a third party to meet their needs. Alternatively, do a little research and give them advice or recommendations. Just a little extra can go a long way and increase the likelihood of return customers.
5.) Show initiative
Share examples or passed work of projects to show your capabilities and present a plan to tackle the current project. Keep a calendar and set deadlines for yourself when completing tasks. I good way to keep your clients informed is to send quick updates and reiterate the next steps, by periodically reaching out to your clients you will give them peace of mind. Don't wait for your them to come to you, stay one step ahead. Be accountable and provide solutions, if you need more time or resources make that clear as soon as possible to avoid mistrust.
Euro Company Formations offer a range of virtual office services to meet the challenges faced with working remotely. See our price list here.