Making a move across the pond, whatever “pond” that may be, is one that tens of thousands of business owners all over the world hope to achieve at some point. If you’ve made it to this point on the journey, you likely have a pretty good idea of all the hard work it takes to get here — and all the hard work the powers that be have in store for your expanding company!
From management, to customer services, to keeping the reigns pulled in on expenses; there’s a lot to consider. Making a successful move and expansion requires a lot of planning and intelligent execution. Fail either at any point and your expansion efforts can fall to ash in the blink of an eye.
There are a number of virtual services that can help you execute the move overseas successfully. These services include: virtual offices, virtual phone numbers, virtual assistants, virtual call answering and diversion, and much more. Best of all, virtual services cost your business much less than on-the-ground services such as office and conference room rentals, or hiring physical employees and various contract services.
Here’s why you need to use virtual services to help your business expand overseas:
You can set up a virtual office anywhere
A move overseas can be expensive, yet very necessary action taken for the expansion of your business. Premium office locations can be painfully expensive, whereas a cheaper location can halt growth, sending the wrong message about your brand.
A virtual service provider can offer you multiple locations throughout the world, lease-free, in some of the swankiest business districts on the planet. Reputable providers don’t offer offices in “seedy” areas, and may or may not offer other complementary virtual services like virtual reception, mail signing and forwarding, and access to virtual staff whenever you need them.
Virtual services offers access to global talent
An overlooked benefit to virtual services when expanding a business to overseas markets is that you’ll obviously need people to assist you with the cultural differences. Virtual assistants work from everywhere, and can help your company with transitional issues due to cultural differences and other limitations.
From hiring someone to answer your phones, to customer service reps, and finding marketing experts who have their nose to the ground in a given area; there’s no limit to the talent you can acquire using virtual services. Obviously, cost is a huge factor, as physical employees and consultants can get very expensive, whereas virtual assistants will work for much less.
Virtual services offer faster time to market
With a virtual office and a gaggle of virtual employees at your disposal, it should become obvious that the time it takes to plan and execute an overseas expansion will be much faster. Aside from those mentioned so far, virtual assistants can be sourced from every activity you can think of:
- Business liaison
- Content creation
- Email management
- Graphic design
- Personal assisting
- Podcast management
- Paid advertising (Ie., Adwords)
- Sales assistant
- Social media management
- Web Design
- Web Admin
- Video editing
There’s no limit to the help you can source for assistance in expanding your business overseas, with minimal onboarding time and expense required.
Virtual services eliminate technology requirements
Log into the dashboard of any legitimate virtual services company and you’ll find a wealth of management, conferencing, and collaboration tools. First, when you sign up for a virtual office, you are granted “limited” access to the location you rent including access to WiFi, office equipment, amenities, reception services, etc.
The virtual reception technology many will offer such as call forwarding, screening, logging, message taking and the ability to deploy a VOIP-based call queue, give you all the power you need to deploy quickly and scale indefinitely. Lack of technology is often a limiting factor due to cost, maintenance, and the fact that most of it, physical or cloud-based, requires a place to store it all.
Virtual services eliminate the need for your physical presence
This won’t appeal to all CEOs. However, sometimes a move overseas is necessary, yet you and other key staff members can’t make the trip, or need to limit your time overseas. Virtual services help to set up your business overnight, while managing the office and employees can easily be done from across the ocean.
Running the overseas portion of your business this way can be scary, if you’ve never tried it before. However, CEOs and managers all over the world run multi-million and billion dollar businesses this way each and every day. Project management is a breeze from the cloud, with so many software options to complement you and your virtual staff’s efforts.
Beware: Potential negatives of using virtual services
Virtual offices come with branding risk
You need to be diligent in researching the virtual address you choose to register your overseas business at. There will be other businesses, potentially companies with bad reputations doing virtual business from the same address you do.
Feeling of isolation from your team
A virtual team isn’t the same as a physical one, as you’re not sitting in front of them every day. This can be a roadblock to managers who enjoy sitting down with staff as opposed to seeing them on the other side of a computer screen.
You literally can’t be in two places at once
Managing a virtual team, in addition to those working from your launch location requires a detail-oriented approach to management. More jobs to do equals more stress, with a higher potential for problems. This approach isn’t ideal for all management types.
*Research into all aspects of virtually operating your business will definitely negate these and other potential issues that may arise during the expansion process.
When all is said and done, you’ll pat yourself on the back for making the smart decision to use virtual services to help expand your business overseas. As mentioned, there are thousands of businesses all over the world doing the very same thing, and achieving amazing results!