22/10/2010

By Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, www.smallestmultinational.com

If you want to get a business off the ground in a matter of days, a virtual office could well be your answer.
That’s not to say that virtual offices are the domain of start-ups alone; the concept has a growing following in the global entrepreneurial community for the simple reason that they offer a whole lot of agility that the traditional office just doesn’t provide.

You could say that the virtual office provider has done all the leg work for you. Local phone number. Tick. Prestigious address. Tick. Interviewing for staff. Tick. And behind it all is the IT infrastructure you need to operate like a multinational, at a fraction of the cost.

It's these new efficiencies, in terms of time and money, that have seen this phenomenon rise to the what’s hot side of Wired Magazines watchlist.

So what does a day in the life of a one-man multinational look like in the virtual world? It starts with setting up office in the cities of your choice, be it London, Tokyo, New York or even Australia. Through a simple interface you book the catering for your lunch meeting in London then a personal assistant to attend your meeting the next day in New York. Check the messages that your receptionist in Tokyo has taken and translated.

Review and approve the latest updates to the presentation - even when the laptop has run out of juice, because all your files are securely stored in the cloud.

The piece de resistance is that every one of these things can be done via a business control panel cutting hours of admin and many layers of cost.

That’s probably why global companies are using virtual offices to test new markets before they invest in a region, and why the small businesses that jumped on board ahead of their competitors are now feeling like the smartest guys in the room.

You might not necessarily want to go global in a week, but it’s nice to know you have the option. And it just goes to show, that with a virtual office, you don’t have to be big, to be big. So if you have ever wondered what it would feel like to cut the ties to the office, it might be worth exploring what a virtual office could do for your business.


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