By Alexa Garthwaite, Business Development Manager, Executive Offices Group

As well as the inevitable negative impact on the economy, the recent economic crisis has also provided business opportunities – it has been a catalyst for potential business owners to turn their skills to entrepreneurship.

In times of economic uncertainty, everyone is looking to make savings and this is especially critical for small businesses. Start ups are continually on the lookout for ways to save money and renting office space is one significant overhead that can be avoided by employing more innovative office solutions.

The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement introduced a project to invest in improvements in rural broadband connectivity; this makes the decision for start ups to work from home less challenging, as key infrastructure such as internet access is essential to the operation of a functioning business. In addition to this, the government offers advisory services such as Business Link, which aims to expand knowledge of useful resources for businesses and provides links to publically funded sources of assistance. In particular, their Growth and Improvement Service provides practical advice on government funding financial aid, and their Start-up Service gives a step-by-step guide to starting a new business, including template business plans and taxation information. All of this means that the number of start-ups is on the rise!

There’s no doubt that commitment to office leases can be especially costly for entrepreneurs and start-up businesses, particularly given the current economic climate. However there are many different office solutions available for small businesses including serviced offices, virtual offices, flexible hot desks, shared offices, and finding alternative office space outside the city, or even in another smaller town altogether. Some of these options mean making a sacrifice on location, or space but the compromise may be worth it in terms of cost saving.

For start-up businesses that work on the go or want to stay out of the city, a virtual office is often an ideal solution. In essence a virtual office service provides mail handling at a central business address (which can also often be used as the company’s registered address) as well as telephone answering if required. This service ensures that home-based start-ups need not sacrifice their company image by working from home and using a residential address on their company collateral. Virtual offices are available at some of the world’s most prestigious business addresses and in prominent locations such as London’s West End. If and when facilities in the city are required, hot desk facilities, executive business lounges and corporate meeting rooms can usually be hired at preferential rates as part of the benefits of renting a virtual office.

In the current economic climate, new money saving ideas are an essential tool for any business; office space is often an unnecessary expense for very new start-ups and creative ideas must be called upon wherever possible. In particular, virtual offices eliminate overheads of office and commuting costs, whilst also giving entrepreneurs and small businesses a presence in a location where a physical office would be out of the question. Many start-ups begin from home and thanks to the virtual office phenomenon this continues to be a viable option for everyone, even those businesses seeking to position themselves at the very top of their market.

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