Expanding a foreign business overseas while maintaining profits and cost-efficiency can be a challenging feat. If you’re tackling all the business changes to move abroad in-house, it can come with a whole different set of obstacles.

The two most common ways in which foreigners can register to operate in Canada are through the registration of a Canadian brand or the incorporation of a Canadian subsidiary. Sometimes, foreign companies will just open a brand office to dip their toes in the market – because the cost of registering a branch office with the government is less expensive than potential legal fees with incorporating a subsidiary. Having only a branch office allows foreign companies an easier from Canada should they not see the results they were expecting in their expansion.
Thankfully, virtual office spaces can be an affordable and effective solution.

What is a virtual office address?

A virtual office gives businesses a physical office space without the overhead of signing a lease. A lot of flexible work spaces provide businesses with the perks of commercial offices and is a great option for those expanding to a new geographical location.

Where can foreign businesses open their branches in Canada?

Oftentimes, when companies want to expand into Canada, they will look to set up an office at a shared and private office space. What a lot of companies wanting to expand into Canada fail to realize is you don’t need to have a physical office in Canada to have a branch office.

Virtual office providers can give a company an address and a live receptionist who can send calls to a company employee or employees servicing the Canadian market. On top of that, they can also forward the local calls to the head office in the country of origin. Having someone at the virtual office provider who speaks the local language, has the same accent and knows the local geography, can be more persuasive to potential customers.

If a company has a branch office and hires local employees or ICTs (Intra-Company Transfers) that don’t need a full-time office, then a coworking office space can be the answer. For example, should an employee require an in-person meeting with a client, they can arrange a boardroom or meeting room. Should an employee need to work in the office for just the day, then a virtual office provider can provide them with a one day only rental.

What are the benefits of virtual office spaces for foreign companies in Canada?

Virtual offices provide foreign businesses with tons of benefits. As a whole, virtual offices are ideal because they help minimize overhead costs and commitments. Let’s take a look at some of the other benefits below:

Provide local address

In many countries, a business address is a legal requirement in order to receive all permits and licenses to operate abroad. Having a physical address that potential clients can visit legitimizes your business and it easier for them to trust you.

Cut down expenses

Virtual offices are a more affordable option for businesses wanting to move overseas. You can skip the upfront cost of office supplies, equipment and rent. Many coworking spaces have ergonomic and modern furniture and equipment for employees.

Make local connections

Another benefit to virtual office spaces is the opportunity to meet other locals from the country you’re expanding to. This allows your organization to network and possibly make connections with other businesses.

Receive administrative services

Most virtual office providers offer international mail forwarding services that get the mail to foreign customers. Some are starting to offer more modern solutions such as: Fax to email, where local faxes are sent to the company by email; Mail scanning services, where, for a small administrative charge, mail is scanned and emailed; and Cheque/Check depositing by photo (this is relatively new, but banks are now accepting photos of Cheques/Checks as a means of depositing money into a business account).

Not all branch offices require these additional services and not all virtual office providers offer them. Knowing that these additional services are available may help a small business owner to open a branch office without having to physically come to Canada.

How to set up your virtual office for your foreign business

Setting up your virtual office isn’t too challenging. Once you know where you want to go geographically and what your budget is, the process is fairly straightforward.

Find a virtual service provider

Once you’ve outlined your budget and the services you require for your business, it’s a lot easier to narrow down your available options. It’s important to note that not all virtual offices are created equal. Some might provide you with mail services and phone number, while others don’t. It’s recommended that you do your research before picking your virtual service provider.

Choose the right services for your business

Each virtual office has their own set of perks. So it’s important to choose the ones that make the most sense for your business. A few basic ones include:

  • Local phone numbers
  • Phone answering service and voicemail
  • Mail forwarding services
  • Management services
  • Meeting and boardroom rentals
  • Hot desking

Confirm your office space

After you confirm which office space you want for your foreign business, you can go ahead with the application process. Once approved, you can get your foreign business plans rolling!

At Telsec, we provide our customers with modern and functional shared office space solutions with the benefits of additional services. Book a tour with us today for more information and find your next coworking office space in Toronto!