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Technology developments in the 21st Century have opened up avenues for businesses that weren’t possible earlier. The concept of virtual offices, with their convenience and flexibility, has helped small businesses and startups shift from the traditional office setting and still operate successfully. Depending on the requirements of the business, you can choose from the hundreds of mobile apps available for efficient on-the-go- business.
Here’s a list of some of the best mobile apps for virtual office users and business people alike:
Evernote: Evernote holds copies of all your important documents and images and is essentially a huge file cabinet.. It comes with a convenient search feature for all saved files, and even the text inside the stored images.
Awesome Note: One of the highest rated notes apps and currently available for the iPhone, Awesome Note combine notes and to do’s, sets up your calendar, creates folders and backs up your data to the web.
Springpad: Springpad is another great app for quickly and easily saving anything you want to remember.
Dropbox: Probably the easiest service to use when it comes to cloud storage, Dropbox allows you to open, download and share files from your mobile device.
Google Docs: Google Docs has emerged as one of the most popular apps to store and share documents with friends and colleagues. It gives you the option to choose who to share data with and can be accessed from anywhere.
Documents to Go: It lets you view all of your Word, Excel and Power Point files right on your smartphone. Files are displayed flawlessly and make for great viewing considering the screen size.
Sign Now: Sign Now lets you open a document, add your signature or other needed information, and send it back from your phone. There is also an option to use a stock signature for low importance documents or upload your original and use that for your documents.
Camscanner: Available for the Android and iPhone, Camscanner is a very useful mobile scanner that lets you create PDF documents with your mobile camera. It integrates easily with your mobile email app or cloud service like Dropbox or Evernote.
My Eyes Only: My Eyes Only is a password manager for the iPhone that never sends encrypted information over the network. You can store credit cards, logins, financial accounts and more.
TripIt: Probably the best known travel app, TripIt lets you store itineraries, get maps, link to hotels, find restaurants and will even send you flight alerts and alternate flight options.
Skype: The popularity of Skype as a means of communication is no secret. It allows you to stay connected on-the-go and even has the facility of video chat.
Google Plus: Although a social app, Google Plus is popular for its Hangout feature, which is great for conferencing and allows up to 10 people on a video call for free.
Time Tracking: A great time tracking app, it makes sure you don’t lose track of time, whether you are a consultant tracking your hours or an entrepreneur just trying to figure out how long things are taking.
With these virtual office apps, isn’t it great to have a mini mobile office in your pocket?
Communication is the key to success for small businesses, regardless of the industry. To make the most of technological advancements, small business owners are now operating virtual offices in Los Angeles to save money, improve customer satisfaction and boost business performance.
Los Angeles is home to an abundance of businesses, and while many have set up camp in buildings sprinkled throughout the sprawling city, lots of entrepreneurs are now considering a Los Angeles virtual office to assist them with starting their business ventures. A Los Angeles virtual office can benefit businesses in many ways:
Preserve funds- Less money is required to run a virtual office because you don’t have to pay for physical space. This is advantageous for low budget businesses, and with the money saved other business improvements can be made.
Hire freelance workers- When hiring freelancers to work from home, you need not worry about vacation pay or medical coverage. This enables you to save money and invest in more help to make business operations run smoothly.
Broaden the employee pool-A virtual office can be managed from home, meaning you can hire employees from other countries and take your operations global. The choice will be varied and so will the experience of each person.
Good customer service- If customers call a physical office, there may not be anyone available to respond; but with virtual offices in Los Angeles, you can guarantee that every call will be taken by virtual receptionists. Customer requests can be answered quickly, which will create a clear line of communication with clients and revamp your company image.
Prominent business address- With a virtual office, customers will be attracted from all corners because you will be “set up” in a prestigious business location. You will get an illustrious city business address with a virtual office, and because fax services and mail forwarding are combined, you will see prompt results with fewer inconveniences.
‘Virtual Reception’ is a fast growing industry that enables businesses to add a personal touch to an automated system,without having to limit their customer service stemming from the burdens of additional costs. A Live Virtual Receptionistis generally an independent contractor that provides professional administrative and secretarial services to clients who have virtual offices. They’re trained to perform these different aspects of administration remotely through the use of the Internet and a home office equipped with necessary communication devices.
If you’re interested in becoming a live virtual receptionist you must first familiarize yourself with the answering service industry. Usually working in virtual offices requires applicants to have an employment history accented with various clerical and customer service ventures. It’s a good idea to have this experience going in, as you will be dealing with various callers and interacting with them at different levels.
To become a virtual receptionist today begin with the following steps:
Research. Once you know what is expected of a live virtual receptionist, you can then harmonize your skills and better present your resume to potential employers. Your resume should be geared toward customer service and your ability to interact with the general public.
Polish your skills. You must make sure when relaying messages that you transcribe them as accurately and concisely as possible. Virtual Answering Services have customizable policies and requirements. As a live virtual receptionist you want to make sure you know the specifications of the company you are providing the service for.
Prep for the interview. During the interview you will be scrutinized on your ability to perform and handle potential cliental. Employers will test your ability to problem solve and measure how well you handle general conflicts that may arise from interacting with callers. Keep calm and you’ll do just fine.
Apply. Look in various facets of employment marketing. View local newspapers, magazines and search online. Virtual Receptionist jobs are everywhere!
You have a viable business idea, but everyone keeps telling you to wait until the economy turns around before you move on it. A recession may seem like a bad time to start a business, but in reality it may be the perfect time for you to create your dream job. With less competition and lower prices for supplies, now’s the time to get in where you fit in. A startup is risky no matter when you lay the groundwork; success largely depends on the type of person you are, and the clarity of your vision.
In the initial set-up process, you have to be open to re-evaluation of your idea. The key is figuring out how to run your business economically. Those that are afraid of traditional investments, like stocks, will be open to new ventures if they appear economically responsible. You may have to tweak some aspects to satisfy the investors, but it’s worth it.
Technology is a resource that creates an extremely viable environment for a startup company. Utilizing virtual offices cuts major and minor costs. You won’t have to worry about employee health insurance costs when your people telecommute and work from home. Other costs, like utilities, remain affordable without the extra bodies in the brick and mortar office.
Virtual office options like virtual phone services are a great option because they allow you to conduct business from anywhere with call forwarding to cell phones, sending your voicemails to your e-mail, unlimited extensions for high call volume, and a convenient toll free number if you want to go global.
Don’t let the media deter you from pursuing your dream or trying something new. The time is now to execute your vision. Recessions occur within a cycle; once this rebounds, you want to be up and running.
Both traditional offices and virtual offices have their place in the workforce. However, more people are choosing to work within a virtual office setting due to its cost-effectiveness and flexibility. There was a time when a virtual office was very obviously virtual. This turned people off from working with a business. However, times have changed and a virtual office is a great way to get a professional image.
Now, when you choose to have a virtual office, you no longer need to worry about not having a physical address. Using a P.O. Box can be off-putting to potential clients because some unscrupulous people have used these in a negative way. That is why it is important to choose virtual offices that give you a physical address in a prestigious business location, located in many cities across the US.
In addition to a physical business addresses for your mailings, you will also have access to conference rooms and office resources at that same address. This makes you look more professional because you are meeting with clients in a proper setting rather than a coffee shop or your home. It also means you can produce more marketing materials at a lower rate than you would from a home office.
Traditional offices, on the other hand, have the luxury of consistency. Youre always going to be there, and your clients know where to find you. They also ensure that you and your team are together in an office environment, which is important for daily operations, strategy and development, depending on the type of business.What it really boils down to is the size and type of a business, and what their needs are.
Traditional offices and virtual offices have many things in common. However, small businesses and businesses with a larger virtual workforce can greatly benefit from going virtual. There is typically more flexibility by choosing a virtual office.
Virtual offices can be an indispensable asset in the modern business world. Virtual office services are being utilized by an ever increasing number of companies, particularly small businesses and new startups. If you don’t know what all the fuss is about, read on and learn about the advantages of a virtual office.
This should hopefully be an obvious answer: the money savings. The potential savings when compared with a physical office are unchallenged. The rental cost of an office space is no longer an issue, nor is the cost of maintaining and furnishing an office (i.e. computers, office equipment, hiring a cleaning staff, etc.).
Break Down Barriers
When location doesn’t need to be taken into account, your choice of applicants for each job within your company expands greatly. Maybe the extremely talented and ideal job candidate is located in Barcelona, or you require a level of cost effectiveness that is only offered by workers in another continent. When you’re working from a virtual office, it’s not a problem.
Enhance Business Image
We live in a dog-eat-dog world. With all businesses endeavoring to get to the top of their niche, competition is the name of the game. As a startup or small business then, one of the most important things to do is create an image for your brand that is strong, reliable, innovative and recognizable. Because virtual offices give you a prestigious business address in the city of your choice, you are telling your current and prospective clients/customers that you are a leader in your industry.
Think about it this way. If, for example, you’re trying to decide between two marketing firms to work with for your company, there are many things you’re taking into consideration. One of the most important? Legitimacy and brand image. If one of the companies has its headquarters on Madison Avenue in downtown New York City, and the other one is out in the suburbs, you are going to gravitate towards the firm located downtown, even if it’s only subconsciously.
Virtual offices give you that prestigious business address to set yourself apart from the competition while also attracting a large pool of prospective clients, including a phone number and mailing address. And if you want to hold meetings or conferences in your office, you can. The offices are fully furnished, state-of-the-art and are available for you to rent.
Live Virtual Assistant
Many entrepreneurs get started with a very small budget; because of this, they are often unable to hire administrative staff to assist in the day-to-day running of a business. This leaves them with stacks of simple, but very time-consuming and consequently costly, tasks to take care of while, at the same time, trying to launch a business. Virtual offices can benefit from a Live Virtual Receptionist: a cost effective virtual assistant to answer your phone calls and keep the business running smoothly, all for a fraction of the cost.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of a virtual office is the reduction in stress levels. Working in your own space, without the noise and bleak atmosphere of some offices, as well as removing the need to commute for any length of time, makes a dramatic impact to stress levels and improves productivity.
Remember, this list is in no way definitive. Enquire today and experience the advantages of virtual office services first hand.
A 2011 study from the Center for Marketing Research was conducted with the Inc. Magazines top 500 fastest growing companies to determine how the Internet and social media are affecting businesses.
The results of the research find a significant increase in the use of social media, including sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and others. These fast growing businesses are also incorporating mobile applications for smart phones, iPads and tablets, as well as continuing to leverage email, text messaging and blogging.
The study shows that 74% of the Inc. 500 companies are using Facebook as part of their marketing strategy, and 73% are using LinkedIn. 88% find social media important to generate a business website traffic, and 81% find it important for lead generation.
What does this mean for entrepreneurs and small business owners?
As part of your business planning process, you should have an online business presence and include social media as part of your marketing strategy. Because so many businesses are going where their customers are which is online it is critical that your business has a presence as well.
The next concern is cost and resources to manage all the aspects of an online business. A virtual office is a new trend that has helped many small companies with their online business management. Virtual office services can include:
- A business street address to use instead of a residential address
- Conference call and conference room services
- Wireless internet connectivity for webinars and working online
- Phone and fax services with call forwarding to your cell if needed
- Professional answering services and voicemail
- Meeting facilities and office space to present a professional image
Instead of using your home office and phone, a virtual office can give you a true professional image without the expense of leasing separate office space.
The toughest part of starting a business is actually starting it. It takes hard work and smart planning to get a startup off the ground and moving towards success. Technology makes this much easier, however. It allows us to be in more than one place at one time, virtually.
A virtual office is a great investment for startups. This is a fairly unknown resource as people who haven’t used it don’t know about its many benefits and advantages. For the uninitiated, a virtual office is a virtual office space that provides you with all the facilities that a real office does, without the heavy investment that real estate requires.
A virtual office space allows you to give all your clients one mailing address in a prestigious business location from where all your mail is forwarded to you. This is much classier than using a PO Box. They also provide you with virtual phone services and a live virtual receptionist who takes your calls and messages and organizes your communication. These simple things make running a business much easier and more efficient.
Virtual phone services especially are very useful. Handling your own calls is tiresome and chaotic. Take time to invest in this.
Once you have this very useful infrastructure system set up for yourself, its time to make use of it. Marketing involves getting the word out that your business exists and highlighting what you’re good at. Its vital for people to know about your company if you want new business to come your way. Providing a good product/service makes for great word of mouth marketing. In addition, if you have the funds, advertising is not a bad idea. For those with smaller budgets, social media is the way to go, but note the time commitment that must be made before diving in head first.
It’s the 21st Century. Most all of us have virtual bankbooks, virtual music libraries, virtual address books, virtual calendars and so on down the line. So it should be surprise no one that virtual offices have finally stepped into the fold. In fact, for many young companies and startups, making use of virtual office services saves them tons of money and can really help get them up off the ground. But you may still have questions:
- What are virtual offices?
- What makes virtual office services work?
- What type of services am I availed of?
- How does a live virtual receptionist interact with me?
Let’s see if we can’t help shuffle the noise and get you some straight answers.
What It Is: The virtual office is your office, just without the physical location. You are supplied with a mailing address, telephone number, and a courteous and responsive live virtual receptionist to handle all your 9-5 needs.
Professionals: Even though the “virtual” makes this sound like some computer program, the “virtual” sense to your offices is still staffed by real, professional, courteous, responsive and helpful people. People who know you, are able to conference with you, take notes and give you messages you may get throughout the day.
Big Picture: Virtual offices make running a business so much simpler, efficient and very professional. This is especially important for a startup. When you’re still working and testing and manufacturing out of your mom’s basement and the only “official” thing about you is a PO Box, then you could really use an air of circumstance. You could be building the next Microsoft or Apple, but investors and customers are going to be turned off if your cell phone (that you never answer) is the only way to get a hold of you. Taking the virtual office road you always get a professional phone answer, you have expedient mail forwarding, fax and courier services, access to meeting and conferring facilities and so much more.
Getting your new startup off the ground is no easy feat; especially in as weak an economy as the one the globe is currently suffering from. Still you have your product, the time is now and you’re ready to unleash your vision on the world! There’s no sense waiting for someone else to invent their own version of your product first.
Virtual office services take your product to that next level.
Though, initially, many businesses felt trepidations about the very concept of virtual offices, most have now recognized that the virtual office is likely to become a feature of our 21st century information society. But businesses aren’t simply resigning themselves to this inevitability; instead, they are increasingly coming to acknowledge the benefits of the virtual office and the extremely positive ROI they provide.
A recent survey conducted among six hundred small to medium-sized businesses found that, in general, upper-management thinks the virtual office offers significant benefits. More than half of those businesses surveys reported that they realized a savings of around $10,000 a month by instituting a virtual office.
For most businesses, the costs associated with setting up a business are difficult to meet. To get a choice location in most cities is either impossible of unfeasible. Part of the reason for this is that finding a good location that can fit and support your entire staff is a challenging one. By turning your office into a virtual office, you can either wholly eliminate the need for rent or you can reduce the amount of space you need.
Jack Nilles, president of JALA International, a Los Angeles-based management consulting firm, says that typically companies can expect to save $11,000 per year for each of their employees who telecommutes at least two days a week. Clearly you can expect considerable savings by reducing your space requirements.
An important benefit offered by a virtual office is that it eliminates the need for fulltime administrative employees. This is because companies that provide virtual office services commonly provide live virtual receptionists, virtual office services and a virtual phone system. This makes it easy for your customers to reach you, even if you dont have an administrative support staff. Live virtual receptionists can free you and your team from time-wasting administrative duties.
Finally and this might be the greatest benefit offered a virtual office can create happier, more productive employees. A study by AT&T found that 75 percent of telecommuters felt increased satisfaction with both their personal and professional lives after their employers adopted virtual offices. Happier employees, according to Nations Business, are more efficient, less likely to take extended leave or sick days, and are less likely to leave their positions.