5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Virtual Office in Singapore
Are you finally taking the plunge and starting your own business? Or perhaps you have decided to expand your start-up to Singapore. Either way, to minimize your overhead cost, it makes much sense to begin with a virtual office, which allows you to work remotely and yet provide a registered business address.
1. Business Address
Your address says a lot about you as a company. By choosing a virtual office in a great location, you can benefit from having a prestigious office address printed on your business card and marketing material. Ideally, the address should be sited within or near a business district. This connection instantly conveys the impression that you too are a thriving business plugged into established business networks, with access to a wide range of resources. A convenient, central location also makes it easy for your partners and clients to reach you.
In Singapore, preferred corporate addresses include Robinson Road, Shenton Way, Raffles Quay, Battery Road, Clarke Quay, and North Bridge Road.
2. Call Answering or Forwarding Services
Though many small business owners are turning to Skype or their mobile phones to take their business calls, nothing adds to your credibility like a business landline. Not only does it reassure new customers, it also shows them you are local. As an add-on, you can get a local landline number ringing straight to your mobile phone – and you can still work from anywhere you like.
Alternatively, if you would like someone to handle your incoming calls, be sure to ring the virtual office yourself. Chances are, the person answering your call will be the same person answering your company’s incoming calls. You may want someone whose professionalism is up to your expectations, as this will form the first impression for your prospective customers.
Be sure to also check if your virtual office contract comes with a limit on the number of calls it handles on your behalf. If you are anticipating a high call volume, you may like to select a package with unlimited call handling.
3. Mail Forwarding
Instead of self-collecting your mail, you may want to have your mail forwarded to your home or remote working address. This is especially useful if you are based overseas.
While most virtual offices conduct mail-forwarding on a weekly basis, some provide mail-forwarding on an ad-hoc or “as-and-when” basis. There are also virtual offices such as Hawksford Singapore that provide mail scanning services which enables you to view the content of your mail online.
4. Working and Meeting Spaces
While working remotely has its advantages, there are days you may want to be a little more productive. It therefore helps if your virtual office provider has rentable desks or office spaces with conducive work environments. Additionally, a good virtual office would be fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology so that you can start working right away. This may include a high-speed internet connection, printing services, a phone line, and virtual assistant services.
If your virtual office provider has meeting rooms, you can also invite clients to come and see you at “your office”. Be sure to take a peek at these spaces before you commit to the virtual office to ensure they are up to your expectations.
Once you have shortlisted 3 or 4 suitable virtual office providers based on your requirements, compare the prices and take heed of what is included in the contract, and which services come at an extra charge. During your evaluation, it is also helpful to budget for additional costs, such as paper surcharges for use of the printer.
A per-per-use arrangement should suffice if you are just starting out, while a comprehensive suite of services could be more cost-effective for fast-growing businesses.
While the above pointers form the core attributes of a virtual office, there are other qualities that you may need to actively look out for. Before embarking on your search, it is a good practice to outline your requirements clearly. For instance, is location your top priority, or would you rather have large conference rooms available for rent?
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