Table of Contents
- The Importance of Setting up a Virtual Office
- Variety of Virtual Office Services Available
- Setting up a Virtual Office
- Popular Virtual Office Providers
- Questions to Ask before Setting up a Virtual Office
Manufacturers based outside USA, especially in countries like China and India, find it difficult to establish credibility and reliability without having a physical presence in the US. As a result, they risk losing business orders, with no fault of their own. This need to present a professional and experienced brand image to a global audience has given rise to ‘virtual offices’, which offer a virtual address and phone number to firms struggling to make their presence felt on the global map.
For a fixed fee, services like a business mailing address, local telephone number, call answering, mail receiving, fax, conference room facilities, dedicated live business assistants, personalized voice mail and so much more is on offer. Let’s attempt to understand how these services can help you and your business grow, and how you must go about availing them.
Before jumping in, let’s take moment to understand the various ways in which your business can benefit by setting up a virtual mailing address and telephone number in the US.
Cultivating a professional business ‘image’ with multiple locations is a crucial aspect of establishing credibility and trust for your business. Prospective clients and customers in the USA that are interested in your products and services might be wary of doing business without a local physical address. A virtual office removes this doubt and skepticism by offering local contact information.
Lack of on-ground business operations at a location can prove to be a deal-breaker for many prospective business partners. However, a virtual office address and telephone number removes this bias and helps you and your business establish new global partnerships with ease. This can really help your business evolve to its potential and drive growth.
Owning or renting an actual office space in the USA, especially in the urban centers, comes at a hefty price. Having a virtual office address and phone number, however, comes at a fraction of the cost. What’s more, you can also avail additional services like mail and call receiving in order to provide legitimacy to your operations at a virtual location of your choosing.
Another thing you need to be aware of is the kind of virtual services on offer. Largely, three major virtual business services are available:
A virtual business mailing address of your liking can be chosen to give your business a business location in USA. Most organizations that provide this service also offer digital mailing options as well, wherein digital copies of all the mails you receive on the chosen address are sent to you. You can further choose to reply to them, discard them, deposit cheques, pay bills etc. A fixed local address provides legitimacy, continuity and credibility to your business
A local area code business number is provided to you in order to help local customers reach you easily. If you expect frequent orders, you can route expected calls to a variety of phone numbers as well. In addition to making telephonic conversations convenient, virtual telephone numbers also usually offer discounted rates as the calls are placed over the internet.
In addition to a virtual address and phone number, some companies also offer services like a live receptionist to answer calls instantly, virtual assistants, conference facilities, order placement, fax and so much more. These services have become extremely popular with businesses entering new markets such as the US, for they are provided with end-to-end virtual office solutions in one place.
It is important to note that organizations providing just a virtual address or telephone number are as popular as those that offer the entire package.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you set up your virtual office in the United States of America:
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself what your business needs are. Will you be getting a lot of mail at the address, or will a lot of customers be calling for queries? Would a live receptionist add an extra layer of professionalism, or would it be a wasteful expenditure? Once you know exactly what features and services you require, zero in on a monthly budget. Standalone services of only a virtual address or telephone number begin for as low as $5 per month. If, however, you go for more features, the monthly cost also goes up.
Probably the most important component of your virtual office is the virtual address you choose. Using services like NYMail.com or iPostal1 or USA Corporate Services Inc., you can register a professional business address on some of the most popular streets in the biggest cities in USA. Remember, you need not have an actual physical store or presence at the address of your choice.
Once your virtual address has been booked, all your business mail will be collected at the same and forwarded to you (usually in a digital format). Registering and obtaining a virtual address in USA is easy, and you must have all your business details and communication information handy while doing the same.
Although your virtual US address will be visible to customers and business partners on your website, you need to ensure that any activity that happens at the address is notified to your actual business. Hence, setting up your business information, like address, telephone number, email and payment gateways to ensure a smooth flow of services is important. Most organizations that offer a virtual address forward all business mail (orders, brochures, magazines, queries, payments, bills, etc.) in a digital format to a registered email and also have the functionality to forward, recycle, shred, pay a bill or deposit a cheque.
Selecting a virtual business phone number to enable calls and queries is the next important step to complete your US-based virtual office. You can record a customized telephonic greeting, forward calls to dedicated departments or employees, or even operate a local toll-free number to ensure a smooth order booking. Organizations like CallHippo, Sonetel and eVoice help you manage local virtual numbers at attractive rates and tariffs. In addition to providing features like call forwarding, voice responses and receptionist, other features like call recording, order registration and voicemail is also offered by most companies.
Virtual assistants are an optional, but attractive addition to your virtual office. Specialized firms offering virtual assistants on flexible price models are available in the market. Virtual assistants can be easily customized and trained according to the needs of your business. Ideally, you should seek a bilingual, intelligent and intuitive virtual assistant that can follow instructions, understand rules and follow procedures to the ‘T’. If you want them to undertake specific tasks, you will have to list out comprehensive rules for them to follow as well. Virtual assistants are a great way to cut back on costs while increasing efficiency and productivity.
After everything has been set, make sure you conduct a dry run to assess any glitches your customers might face. Call from a local number and interact with the receptionist or the virtual assistant to place an order, or mail a package to your virtual address to see how its contents reach you. You need to be well-versed with the process of managing a virtual office and also pre-emptively solve any challenges, technical or otherwise, your customers might encounter.
Opus Virtual Offices offers a wide range of services to help you establish and manage your virtual coordinates. Cost-effective, reputable and trustworthy, Opus has built a name for itself by offering virtual offices at more than 500 locations in USA. For $99 per month, Opus offers a business mailing address, a business phone number, a live receptionist available between 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday (PST), two voicemails, call forwarding and other services like voicemail to email, faxes to email, etc. You can also avail addition features like additional voicemail or extensions ($25 per month) and callout ($10 per month) if your budget allows.
A leading name in the market, Opus is ideal for small businesses, home-based businesses, start-ups and one-employee organizations. It has also been recognized for providing quality services at an affordable fee, alongside a robust customer services support.
DaVinci Virtual offers more than 1,500 business locations all over the world as your potential business address. In a short span of time, DaVinci has proven itself to be an effective, innovative and competitive player in the virtual offices domain.
Other than providing you with a virtual business address DaVinci offers mail forwarding services, virtual telephone number, answering services, long distance calling, appointment scheduling and what not! Although most of these services are chargeable depending on the level of their usage, DaVinci more than makes up for it by offering you the best-in-class services. Their virtual assistant services have also been recognized to be outstanding. What you must know is that the first 6 months with DaVinci are contractually bound, and then the month-to-month plan is activated.
Now that you are aware of how virtual offices are set up, and which organizations you can go for, there are a few things you should be mindful of:
Knowing where your virtual office vendor is hosting its operations from is crucial. Ideally, renowned hosting services like (Amazon or Teraco) should be considered, for they are known to provide premium hosting services. Do enquire about the same and understand how robust the host providers are.
You can expect a healthy growth in your global business once you set up your virtual office. Hence, the pertinent question is, will the virtual office provider be able to keep up with your growth trajectory? If your orders increase, or customer queries go up, will the provider be able to handle the influx? Make sure you know the answer to these questions before proceeding.
How safe is the information hosted by the virtual office provider? What sort of tools and technologies do they have in place to ensure data protection and security? Since business information is sensitive, you should have unambiguous and definitive answers to these questions.
How prompt and efficient is the customer service? If, at any time, your service provider is unable to offer you the benefits of mailing address or telephone number, or if their services are interrupted, how quickly will they be restored? How will your grievances be addressed?
There you have it! You now know the most important and basic information regarding setting up a virtual business address and telephone number in USA. Thousands of businesses all over the world are making the most of these services and rapidly expanding their global operations. While it might be a tad bit intimidating to subscribe and pay for a service that you do not have a complete knowledge of, be assured that you will be able to use it efficiently in no time. Leave the doubts and scepticism behind, and confidently step into a new business world that is dictated by technology, innovation and collaboration, and be sure of reaping the rewards that come with it.