Do you really know what a virtual office is? When was the first time you heard the term “virtual office”? I never heard the words until I started my first small business and could not afford an actual office. But a friend suggested that I might consider having a virtual office to look more professional than working from my home. With business rents throughout much of Canada and especially the GTA continuing to increase, the virtual office solutions seemed to be sensible alternatives to the high costs of renting office space, particularly during those precious early years when working capital was limited.

I needed a business address that was not my home address and I needed to look professional. I spend days looking at office space rentals that I thought I could afford, but the out-of-the-way addresses did not look appealing on a business card. They also did not look like places I wanted to go to work, so I did my best work at home at that time.

I eventually opened up to my friends’ suggestions and started to look at office business centres that offered me a prestigious address without the high cost of an office. It is funny that the first place I looked at, was the place that I ended up choosing for my virtual office! I must have looked at over 15 different office business centres as a virtual office location, but it was the first one that I visited that I eventually chose.

Typically, benefits of a virtual office location include its address (often in a desirable part of the city), telephone answering services, handling your mail and a focal point for all forms of communication. But that was not the main selling points to me. I liked the fact that the staffers were real and extremely dedicated.

All this, however, is not as important as the reasons you need to consider when choosing a virtual office provider for your start-up or small business. What if your business grows and you need to hire, manage and motivate more staff? Maybe you might need actual physical office space? Why change your business address? An office business centre can offer you physical space too!

Let’s take a step back and talk about the costs of running your small business from a virtual office provider. Keeping costs down and maximizing your profits is an essential part of any new business. A virtual office can ensure that the typical office-related costs are not affecting your bottom line in a negative way. Virtual offices are increasingly becoming a more viable option for businesses without compromising on professionalism. Having a virtual office has no geographical constraints. Your clients see you as working from the location you advertise. When hiring employees who can literally be located in any part of the country, your clients and customers do envision them being at your virtual office address.

So how do you really make the most of your virtual office? I suggest cloud computing! Regardless of where you work, when you work, or even who you work with, keeping your files on cloud servers or cloud drives can keep your small business “virtual.” The days of having a server at your office space are over – and being virtual is much easier. Your clients and customers may think you are working in one place, but you may be thousands of miles from your physical business address.

I am not just a writer of this blog, I started my web development and photography business as a virtual office client at Telsec Business Centres over 11 year ago. Since then, I switched to being an office-space tenant. My customers and clients have always known my business address to be 1 Yonge Street.