Any real estate professional will tell you a property’s location is key to making a good investment decision. For entrepreneurs, the same is true of your business.
Your business’s physical location is vital to its success. There are some very tangible reasons for this, including:
- Availability of a qualified workforce,
- Proximity to suppliers,
- Neighborhood demographics,
- Traffic counts,
- Nearby competition,
- Parking accessibility,
- State business tax structure,
- Space for inventory storage,
- Safety and security,
- Ability for future expansion.
But there are other, more intangible things to consider when selecting a location for your business. It’s especially true for start ups with only a few employees and no need for high-traffic retail or restaurant space.
For entrepreneurs who do the bulk of their work from a home-based office, it’s critical to have a professional space to conduct meetings, make sale pitches and showcase products to potential buyers.
Why? It’s all about image
Consider this: would a potential client be more likely to buy your product or service following a harried meeting at a crowded Starbucks or after meeting with you in a well-appointed executive office suite staffed with a receptionist and decorated with high-end furnishings? For the most part, meeting in a professional setting will close the deal much quicker.
If you conduct all your business dealing in any and every coffee shop with free Wi-Fi, you simply won’t create a good first impression. Even as a start-up, you should look for ways to make your business seem like it’s operating on solid footing.
Greeting clients in a formal office setting creates a feeling of permanency and strength for your business. Clients who walk into an office space that exudes professionalism will feel at ease. They’ll feel secure doing business with you because it appears you maintain a high-end office, and that’s not an inexpensive undertaking. Potential clients will assume your business is thriving since you can afford high-quality surroundings, office technology and support staff.
OK, but where?
Having a physical office is important, but the location of that office is crucial too. True, virtual offices can be found in just about any mid-size or larger city, but those in larger metro areas carry more weight, at least from an image perspective.
For maximum impact, entrepreneurs should do more than simply rent office space in a dilapidated strip mall in Wichita or some other lackluster Midwestern town. Go for the gold and seek out virtual offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Atlanta. The panache that comes with having a physical location in a cosmopolitan city will factor heavily into client interactions.
Even in the world’s largest cities, virtual offices are generally affordable for entrepreneurs because you don’t enter into a lease. You simply become a member of a service that allows you access to a professional office space on an as-needed basis. There are usually no long-term commitments, and you can select the specific services you need. You’ll just have to foot the bill for your travel expenses from the town where you live to the big city where your virtual office is located.
What if I really don’t need an office
Even if you’re a solopreneur who truly has no need to meet with clients in person, you’ll need a mailing address and phone number. And your area and zip codes are just important for your business’s image as where you actually do the work. Yes, it’s abstract, but potential clients might be more likely to do business with a company that exudes a “cool” factor. And sometimes, just having an address in a hub like Miami or San Francisco will convey that message adequately. Many companies that offer virtual offices have package that provides a professional mailing address or a communications package with live receptionist services.
When deciding where to locate your start-up’s office, remember client perception plays a key role in your success. Seek out virtual office space in one of the world’s most impressive cities to create a sophisticated and secure image.