The Internet has proven to be a great equalizer for many entrepreneurs. If you work in one of the “knowledge” industries, for example writing, software development, or design, you can work from anywhere as long as you have access to a computer and an Internet connection. Most of the time, your clients won’t care whether you do your best work in an office, sitting by a beautiful lake in a local park, or lounging on your sofa in your pyjamas.
This new flexibility has considerable benefits for small business owners, but it has some downsides too. Running an office from your spare bedroom is a great way in which to save money while your company is still in the start-up phase, but there are several downsides to running a home office:
– Do you really want to have prospective employees come to your home for job interviews?
– Asking suppliers and clients to come to your home for product demonstrations looks unprofessional.
– If you have a home office, you may have to put up with business related spam and unsolicited phone calls to your home address.
– A residential mailing address does not look as professional as an address in the City
Maintaining a Professional Image
Take a moment to think about your own buying habits. When you go looking for a book keeper or a travel agent, who are you more likely to hire? The person with a mobile number and a home address on their business card, or the person with serviced offices in the City, a receptionist, a fax machine and meeting rooms available on demand, so that you can drop by and discuss your affairs?
The Benefits of a Dedicated City Workspace
In addition to the improved image associated with a professional office address, there are practical benefits too:
– Dedicated city offices have high-speed, business grade Internet connections, which are more reliable than residential lines.
– Office telephone systems are more flexible than residential systems and may offer cheaper rates for long distance calls.
– When you rent office space you can take advantage of shared fax machines, photocopiers and printers, saving you a fortune on office equipment.
– Many offices are open 24 hours a day and offer receptionist services. If you deal with international clients who all too often forget what time zone you’re in, you don’t have to worry about being woken up at 3AM to have someone say “I’m just calling to see if you got my email”.
As a business owner, it is important that you always maintain a professional image, even if you are only a small company. This is essential if your target audience is other businesses; if you want to compete against established companies for substantial tenders, then you need to act like a big company yourself. It’s unfortunate, but buyers and managers view business niceties such as an office and a dedicated work telephone number as a sign of quality and stability. Renting some office space lets you put forward a professional image as a smaller company.