How to Start a Virtual Office Business from Scratch
We’re quickly approaching 2017 and you’ve finally decided to turn your dream of opening your own business into a reality. You’ve realized that you can build your startup with little to no capital if you keep your overhead costs low. The practical and affordable virtual office business model seems very attractive to you and you’re ready to push forward.
In this special article, we give you a basic understanding of how to start a virtual office business from scratch. We’ll quickly walk you through:
- • Defining Your Product or Service
- • Creating a Virtual Office Business Plan
- • Legitimizing Your New Virtual Office
- • Deciding on What Tools You’ll Need
- • Outsourcing to Experts
How to start a virtual office business:
Define Your Product or Service
In order to provide top-notch salesmanship and impeccable customer service, you have to know your product. You may think that you have extensive product knowledge, but try to reach deeper below the surface. You don’t want to end up with a basic, “I provide virtual receptionist services for businesses.”
Dig deep and look at your product or service with a magnifying glass; observe the benefits from all available perspectives. D!gialist Magazine shares a great article that discusses the importance of product knowledge, How Well Do You Know Your Products? In the article, they suggest starting with questions like:
- • What is the purpose of your product or service for the customer?
- • How can it be described? (size, shape, color, function, benefits)
- • How can customers access it; how is it delivered to them?
- • How much does it cost and what are the conditions for its use?
- • What are the wider implications of using your product, environmentally or socially?
These questions only scratch the service of becoming an expert when it comes to your product/service. Before moving forward with creating your startup, spend a considerable amount of time knowing what you’re selling on an intimate level.
Now that you know everything there is to know about your product, determine if the virtual office business model is still compatible. Conduct market research to ascertain if your desired target market wants what you’re selling. Review your competitor’s business offerings to see how you can build unique selling propositions.
Create a Detailed Business Plan
Improper planning is cited as one of the main reasons a small business will go out of business. Increase your chance of succeeding by making a detailed business plan before you incorporate.
Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. A business plan is just a roadmap of where you want to go with your business and how you plan to get there. Think of it more as an informal and ever-changing list of your overall strategies.
In your business plan, you’re going to want to provide detailed answers to the following questions:
- • What are the products and/or services you plan on selling?
- • Who is your target market?
- • What is your market geographical reach?
- • How will you price your products and services?
- • Who are your direct competitors?
- • Where will your general workspace be located?
- • What are your long-term and short-term goals?
- • How will you reach your long-term and short-term goals?
- • What is your desired brand and company manifesto?
- • What are your business startup costs and monthly financial obligations?
- • What are the operational details of how you’ll deliver the product/perform the service?
- • How will you market your business and grow your reputation?
BPlans.com is an excellent website that walks you through making your business plan from scratch. Visit their latest article, How to Write a Business Plan, and learn more about creating a plan that is customized for your virtual office business.
Legitimizing Your New Virtual Office
There are certain tasks you’ll need to complete to further legitimize your business. Your future customers want to know that you’re the real deal before handing over their hard-earned money.
- • Name Your Business and Find an Available Domain Name
Suggested Reading: How to Choose the Best Name for Your Business
- • Snatch Up Social Media Profile Names for Your Brand
Suggested Reading: 7 Services to Find and Reserve Your Name Across the Web
- • Secure a Business Phone Number
Suggested Reading: Why Your eCommerce Website Needs Telephone Support
- • Select a Business Mailing Address
Suggested Reading: 5 Options for Getting a Business Mailing Address
- • Register Your Business in Your State
Suggested Reading: Registering Your Business Name
- • Open a Business Bank Account
Suggested Reading: Business Bank Accounts: 6 Mistakes Small Businesses Make
- • Take Out Insurance on Your Virtual Office Business
Suggested Reading: Small Business Insurance for Virtual Offices
- • Find a Suitable Location for Conducting Meetings
Suggested Reading: Best Off-Site Meeting Locations
This list of essential new business tasks will show you how to start a virtual office business the right way. Take your time when reviewing the suggested reading materials and don’t hesitate to research tips for your business’s specific niche.
Gather the Tools Needed to Operate
Although your business is virtual, you’ll need to create a home or mobile office for everyday operations. Since your industry dictates the tools, programs and machines you’ll need, here are some general guidelines to follow.
• Telephone and Internet Service
You want to make sure that you have reliable and quick internet service at your home base. With endless hotspot locations and the various tethering solutions, you can easily have constant access to the internet while on the go.
• Computer, Laptop or Tablet Device
Depending on your business and your personal preference, you can start your virtual office with a PC, laptop or tablet. Just be sure to invest money on a cloud-based or hardware backup system.
• Comfortable and Quiet Workspace
It’s important for virtual office business owners and telecommuting professionals to have a place in their home dedicated to business. Create a workspace that inspires you to work and your business will be more productive.
If you’ll be working in cafes or other public locations, store all work tools in one box or briefcase that can travel with you.
• Reliable Transportation or Mobile Workshop
If you’ll be using your personal car to visit customers or travel frequently, take it on over to your mechanic for a full checkup. For startup businesses that’ll be offering services from skilled technicians, organize a mobile workshop with all of the tools and machines you’ll need.
Outsourcing Specific Tasks to Experts
Let’s face it, you didn’t open your new virtual office business to talk on the telephone all day. Unless you’re like our founder who, back in 1986, opened our business answering service with just 1 virtual receptionist. Chances are, you’re more interested in running your business’s operations.
- 1.) Receptionist (you shouldn’t be answering your own lines)
- 2.) Accountant (you shouldn’t be handling your own books)
- 3.) Marketing (if you’re not a programmer, you shouldn’t be making your own site)
- 4.) Lawyer (you shouldn’t be writing your own contracts)
- 5.) Customer Service (as you grow, you’ll need help to handle customer relations)
You may be able to make it work on your own when first opening your business. However, as you gain recognition and new customers, you’ll need to learn the art of delegation.
Let us help you start your virtual office business!
If you want to know how to start a virtual office business with the help of an answering service, give us a call; we want to help. Call 1-800-785-6161 to speak with an account specialist and receive a custom quote.