With the power of the internet and modern communication technologies the ability for freelancers, individual employees, and even whole companies to work remotely is increasing at a fast pace.
Furthermore, the recent Covid-19 pandemic has also highlighted how many firms have adapted to remote working and are able to operate without disruption and without the need for the daily office commute.
This trend for remote working is only likely to continue, and for IT and tech firms especially, the type of work they carry out has long since required a formal bricks and mortar premises, so why not work from the comfort of your living room?
While this may sound all good to be true for your average software developer or IT technician, what about IT firms as a whole? How could remote working affect their company set up and what should entrepreneurs and new business owners consider before taking the first steps on their IT business journeys?
Working from home sounds great, but what about your address? Do you really want the address of your suburban three-bedroom semi to be the face of your business? What will happen when customers look you up on Google Maps? Most likely it won’t be the impression you were hoping to give.
A simple solution to the above could be to get a virtual office. Many virtual office providers now provide exclusive use of a physical office address suited to match your desired company image. Icon Offices, for example, have up to four addresses to choose from, including locations in Central London.
Furthermore, with prices starting from just 99p per week, setting up your IT firm with a virtual office could give you the professional company image you need, not even at the price of a cup of coffee.
While many view virtual offices as a simple alternative to company registration, there are in fact a wide range of additional benefits which could be perfect for any new IT firm who are just starting out.Most notably are the additional administrative services which virtual office providers are now willing to offer companies in addition to registration and use of their address.
For instance, many providers now offer mail handling as well as mail and document scan services, meaning you can have all your physical business post processed, forwarded to your home address as well as scanned and sent electronically.
In addition, many providers also supply VoIP business lines as part of their virtual office packages, meaning your business can benefit from the use of an efficient telecommunications system without the usual heavy price tag.
Icon Offices, for instance, offer a range of flexible and tailored service packages which include a bundle of free minutes and cancellation at as little as 5 days’ notice.
If you are likely to expect a lot of inbound call traffic for your new business, you could also potentially sign up for a Call Answering service, a service which assigns professionally trained personnel to handle any incoming customer calls 24/7.
Also, if you are expecting or may have need for formal face to face meetings in the future, you could also gain free access to a number of corporate meeting rooms as part of your package.
As every entrepreneur has experienced, it is likely you will come unstuck from time to time and need some professional guidance. After all, while you likely are extremely knowledgeable in your area of expertise, no one can be expected to be an expert in all aspects of running a business.
This is where setting up your IT firm with a virtual office can prove especially useful. In addition to the above services, some virtual office providers also have access to a diverse team of in-house experts.
For instance, some providers have good long-lasting relationships with banks and can offer free business bank account set up should you require.
Furthermore, rather than hiring a private accountant to handle your company finances, some virtual office providers can also offer the support of an expert team of accountants and finance professionals.
Icon Offices, for example, have an in-house team of trained accountants who can complete your company’s annual tax filing, deal with any needed correspondence with HMRC or Companies House or just provide general professional financial planning advice.
For those still on the fence, it is also worth considering some of the other benefits of virtual offices which can be useful to all companies. Firstly, virtual offices and virtual addresses offer a level of privacy not available when operating from a home address.
Not only is this useful from a legal standpoint, it also means you can avoid unwanted junk mail and unsolicited home visits by clients or salespeople. Secondly, virtual offices overall offer a significantly cheaper alternative to renting a physical office.
This is particularly important to new and small firms who are looking to keep basic overhead costs to a minimum.
Another useful benefit is the flexibility that virtual offices can offer. Suppose, for example, your business takes off significantly and you need to scale up fast, find a physical space and hire multiple staff, virtual offices allow you to exit your contract at any time, in most cases with very little notice given.
Compared to the challenge and cost of negotiating rental agreements with landlords, virtual offices can be a perfect solution to new and small businesses who may be a little uncertain about their short-term growth prospects.
Finally, just as registering a virtual office address can enhance the professional image of your company, they also provide an easy and cost-effective solution for firms looking to expand their local presence.
This is particularly true for overseas businesses looking for a local UK market presence as well as UK based firms who are looking for an additional location closer to a specific or important customer base.