Consider a Virtual Office for the 2014 Midterm Elections

virtual office solutionsThe unfortunate thing about elections is that there is always only one winner, no matter how hard you work. Those who don’t win the election often have to clean up the headquarters in shame, taking down months of dedication with little to show for it. However, finding a campaign office for your candidate or a local office for your PAC doesn’t have to mean leaving a mess and an eyesore like the St. Louis Tea Party did after the 20120 midterm elections. With a virtual office solution, you can a great campaign headquarters without the big windows for outsiders to notice the shame in losing. Of course, we want you to win in 2014, and encourage you to think about winning instead, but here are more reasons you should consider a virtual office for the 2014 midterm elections:

Get Much More in Your Month-to-Month Lease

If you’re planning on getting involved in the upcoming election, then the earliest you’re probably starting is now, meaning that you don’t need a year-long lease. The next best thing is a month-to-month lease, and some traditional office solutions don’t offer such a lease. If they do, it’s not that secure and it’s probably much more expensive than a month-to-month virtual office option. Money is a huge factor during the election, as you still need to have some operating budget left to pay for the space and for certain staff members. Not only do many virtual offices offer a month-to-month lease without needing any special exceptions or requests, but they often come with much more than your typical office space. Many virtual providers offer printing, faxing & copying services, meeting spaces, remote receptionist services, and day offices. You don’t have to worry about getting the right size for the right price or having to pay extra for other services. All that is included with the virtual office.

Many Virtual Offices Also Come Furnished

Speaking of paying extra, one office necessity that you don’t have to worry about is the furniture. Many virtual office providers outfit their offices with a desk, a chair, and a telephone (many do offer services for a receptionist or a local number, if needed). Although you do still have to bring your own computers, and perhaps dividers and other equipment to do phone banking, a virtual office means less that you have to provide on your own. It also means less to clean up afterward once the election is over. The only downside to this is that some provider may have restrictions on the number of people who can work in one office, but this is an issue that you would have to discuss with each provider. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to reserve a few conference rooms for that amount of time, or convert a conference room for the use of a phone bank since other tenants may need to use it. The provider may be willing to accommodate your needs if they have a suitable space, or may make an exception since you are considering a short-term lease. Government may be one of the last industries to go virtual or high-tech, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start today. A virtual office can be that jump for your candidate or fundraising group to get out of the traditional space and to be more flexible in what you can achieve in the 2014 midterm elections.

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How to Run a Meeting

how to run a meetingNearly four hours per work week are spent in meetings and nearly half of U.S workers say that meetings are the top time-waster in the office. Of course, you may not be able to stop having meetings completely in your organization, but if your colleagues view those four hours as time that’s better spent elsewhere, then there’s room for improvement. If you need to have a meeting, then here are a few tips to running an efficient and productive meeting, whether it’s in person or virtual.

Have a Goal (or Several Goals)

For any meeting, have at least one goal that needs to be accomplished before the meeting ends. You, and everyone else attending, needs to know why this meeting is happening and what you hope to get done. This way, those attending can figure out what needs to be done make this goal a reality. If you’re having a short-term planning meeting, as an example, then the goal would be to come up with those plans and a few action steps for those plans. Anything that doesn’t have to do with these plans and action steps doesn’t need to be discussed. Having a goal also helps attendees do any necessary prep work prior to the meeting. This way, time isn’t wasted in the meeting for people to come up with ideas, to scramble for paperwork and information, or for people to catch up with what they need to know in order to contribute to the conversation.

Prepare Beforehand to Address the Little Things

This one goes for in-person meetings as well as virtual and phone meetings, as these little things can suck up a lot of time. For example, if you’re renting a meeting space, it’s best to check the room prior to the meeting to ensure that the room temperature will be pleasant for everyone. It seems small, but the room temperature becomes a huge time suck if people are uncomfortable, and then someone needs to take the time to figure out how to change it and what temperature would be best for everyone. For virtual and phone meetings, these little things would include making sure the technology works, eliminating distractions, and gathering your refreshments before the meeting starts. A meeting isn’t going to be productive or efficient if people are uncomfortable or if there are interruptions that ruin the flow of getting work done.

Include Everyone to Get Things Back on Track

Remember that goal? It’s natural for conversation to go on a tangent, or for someone to take over the meeting with an issue that’s not on the agenda. Those things happen. To get things back on track, keep the goal in mind and include everyone at the meeting. Instead of stopping the tangent or the rant directly:

“This isn’t on the agenda. We need to get back on track.”

Use an approach that’s more inclusive, such as:

“I see that this issue is very important to you. If everyone here agrees, perhaps we can save it for the end of the meeting or make it our top priority at our next meeting.”

The second approach sends the message that you’ve heard the other person, or that you’ve acknowledge that those issues that aren’t on the agenda are important. With this approach, you won’t waste time on topics besides the goal, but time can be dedicated to those other issues if everyone agrees.

Running a meeting is a necessary skill for any leader in any business. From time to time, meetings need to happen. Ensuring that the time is spent wisely and isn’t viewed as a waste by those who are attending is where the skill and tact come in.

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Avoid Losing All Your Money with a Las Vegas Virtual Office

Las Vegas virtual officeLas Vegas is the premier location for many conferences, trade shows, and other annual events. Even though you’re in the city for business, and you’re only going to be there a short time, you still need a productive place to get some work done and to prepare for these big events. The hotel room or business center isn’t always adequate, and could be too close to many of the distractions that Las Vegas offers. You can lose your money at the blackjack table, but you shouldn’t have to lose money because you didn’t get the work done. Work hard, and play hard, with a Las Vegas virtual office.

Get Out of the Hotel and Convention Center

Especially this time of year, when the weather is consistently in the 70s, it’s worth it to leave the hotel and convention center and to venture into the city. Besides, the Las Vegas strip can be expensive, so working in a virtual office that’s away from everyone one will offer all the resources you need for less. You don’t have to pay extra printing fees, or pay for Internet access, or have to go without certain technologies. All you have to do is pay for the space and the transportation to and from the virtual office. If you’re worried about being too far away from all the fun, then remember that there are great casinos away from the Strip and Downtown, such as South Point, Red Rock, and M Resort.

Rent a Virtual Office for Short Period of Time

The business center or the hotel room may seem like a better option because you have those for a short period of time. After all, you’re only spending a week in Sin City and not a whole year. However, you can rent a virtual office or a meeting space for a week as well. You don’t have to pay the monthly rate, and you don’t have to pay for a space that’s too small or that doesn’t provide everything you need. With a virtual office, you don’t have to “make do” or to settle on a temporary space that isn’t all that great in the first place. You don’t have the throw money away because with a Las Vegas virtual office, you’ll have everything you’ll need to run the meeting, or to get some work done before tomorrow’s full day of seminars.

Have a Workspace Every Time You Visit

Las Vegas is constantly changing, even if your industry’s annual trade show is always in the same location. The hotel you stayed in last year may be full, or even non-existent. The business center could be closed for remodeling. Instead of scrambling every time to find someplace to work, have a guaranteed workspace with a virtual office. These buildings aren’t going to disappear, and even if the office or conference room you used last year is booked, there is always another one down the hall or two floors up. With this consistency, you’ll also know that you’ll have everything you need to get your work done. You don’t have to wonder if this other meeting space will have free Internet access, or if you’ll have to share the room with another group of professionals, or if the teleconferencing technology works. Everything is there, ready to go, in a Las Vegas virtual office.

Overall, we can’t do anything about your luck at the table. But, staying productive and finding a place to work in Las Vegas shouldn’t be about luck. You can reduce the variance with a virtual office in Las Vegas.

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3 Critical Uses for the Colorado Springs Virtual Office

Colorado Springs virtual officesSo, you’ve paid for the Colorado Springs virtual office. It was much cheaper than your other workspace options, and an ideal location for business. Plus, it provided all the infrastructure you were eventually going to need, such as printing, a phone line, and Internet access. Now, you’re not sure what you can do with it, since virtual offices aren’t the same as those other workspace options. It’s not like you can stick 20 employees in one, and it’s not quite the same as your home office or a coffee shop. But, if you need a few ideas to make the investment worthwhile, then here are three uses for your Colorado Springs virtual office that can have a major impact on your business:

Professional Meeting Place

Having a professional place to meet may not seem like a big deal. Especially if you are an independent contractor, a freelancer, or a sole proprietor, you might even think that potential customers would cut you some slack or might understand that you don’t have (or need) a fancy office. However, a lack of a professional meeting place cost Mike Farag, founder of virtual creative agency Fervor, his first big deal.

“They expressed concern with where we met,” Farag said in Missouri Business. “I knew I had an issue with showing how quality our organization was without having a place to call home.”

Even if you are only going to use it once in a while, it’s better to have it and have it not be a deciding factor, than to risk it and have it ruin your chances for landing the deal.

Mail Receiving and Forwarding

Colorado Springs virtual officeEven if you intend to work out of a home office primarily, you really don’t want to be giving away your home address on your invoices or business cards. People can tell a home address from a business address (which is never the best), and besides, that’s not a piece of personal information that you want just anyone being able to find or to have. A virtual office can be used simply for the business address; just for the mail receiving and forwarding. Most virtual offices will forward your mail to your home address at no extra cost, and they’ll be the only ones to know your home address. Or, if you don’t want it forwarded, you can make it a point to drop by every now and then and pick up your mail. If anything, it could be used as an excuse to work somewhere else for a change.

In Case Your Business Grows, You Have Somewhere to Go

If your business does take off, or if it gets to a point where you need to hire someone, then it’s nice to have somewhere besides a home office or a coffee shop to go. The virtual office can be an option when you are interviewing potential candidates, or if you want someplace where everyone can go while giving everyone the option to telecommute or to work from home. By the time your business is growing and others are involved, it’s no longer about you and you’re own preferences. You also need something that belongs to the business, and a virtual office can be something that belongs to the business and that everyone involved can use. It can be tough to keep everything together when everyone is spread out across the country. A virtual office, although not the same as a traditional workspace, can be something that brings everyone in the company together.

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Consider a Spokane Virtual Office for Short Term Use

Spokane virtual officeMost of the time when you are looking for office space, you are typically looking for a long-term location. A permanent headquarters for your company or professional address for your business isn’t hard to come by. However, sometimes you need a place for just a few weeks or months, and those are often harder to find. Most places don’t offer short-term options, or may ask that you still sign the long-term lease even though you don’t need the space for a year or several years. Fortunately, virtual offices are a short-term option that are just getting easier and easier to find. Here’s why Spokane virtual offices, or any virtual office, is a good fit for short term use.

You Can Pay for the Time that You Need

Even though you can set up a long term agreement with a virtual office provider, you can also set up a short term option as well. Many providers allow you to make monthly payments, or even to pay for just a few days or weeks. This flexibility means that you don’t have to pay for time you aren’t going to use and that you don’t have to choose from fixed contracts or time frames. It’s a great benefit to those who need a temporary office space, for those that are in town on business for a short period of time, or even for those who want to test a certain location or the virtual office option.

You Don’t Have to Pay for Space Your Don’t Need

Another problem with traditional office spaces is that it’s very hard to find something small, something that’s big enough for your or your team. If you need a short-term space, then you definitely don’t need a whole floor or several offices. Sometimes, a single office or a table and chairs with fine. With a virtual office, you can pay for the exact time you need and the exact space you need. You don’t have to pay for an entire office. You can just pay to use the conference room or to work in a public area.

All the Amenities are There

Spokane virtual officesVirtual offices aren’t the only short-term option out there, but they are one of the few that has all of the amenities. With a virtual office, you can also get a conference room, a virtual receptionist, mail handling, and printing, faxing, and copying services at no extra cost. You don’t have to pay extra for these amenities and you don’t have to go without in your short-term space. You also still get access to these amenities if you just need an office for a day or if you opt to work in the public area. It beats other short-term options, such as just renting a conference room, or using the business center at hotel, or using a coffee shop.

Overall, short-term options work for many people and situations. It’s great for a legal team who needs to be in town for a case, where it’s unknown how long the case will really last. It’s great for a small company or business that’s transitioning to another location, but has to wait for renovations to finish or for all the furniture to arrive. It’s great if you want to test the idea of telecommuting, or if you want to test a second office or a new location. Although they aren’t as common as the long-term options, there are plenty of short-term options available with a virtual office.

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Why Meeting in a Coffee Shop is a Bad Idea

meeting in a coffee shopIt’s great to have a client meeting, or a free consultation, or even a simple professional meeting with a business coach or a potential marketing partner. It means things are going well. But, do you really want to do that meeting in a coffee shop, where you could be overheard or you might even have trouble finding a table? Not to mention that there’s not guarantee on an outlet or that it’ll even be quiet enough for you to easily hear each other. Although coffee shops aren’t necessarily bad places to meet, it can still be a bad idea since there are way better options out there.

Coffee Shops Have Their Place

Coffee shops can work for more casual meetings, like if you have a laid-back relationship with a client or your business coach is also a close friend as well as a professional colleague. Some even have meeting spaces that you can rent for a small fee, and of course you can’t forget the awesome food and drink. But this isn’t always the case. If you’re potential client would be a really big account and you want to make the best impression possible, or perhaps doesn’t fancy meeting in coffee shops, then you need to perhaps rent a conference room in an office building or a coworking space. If the impression is important, then you want to have your meeting in an environment where you can control as much of the atmosphere as possible.

What if There’s No Space?

Even though some coffee shops have a conference area or a meeting room to rent, most don’t. So, if the place happens to be crowded and there isn’t an open table or its too noisy, then you could be out of luck. That’s not only embarrassing, but finding a new location could waste time if the person you’re meeting is on a strict schedule. By choosing a board room or a day office that would always be available to you when you needed it, and would come with open outlets and other technology that you might need, you don’t have to worry about finding something in a pinch or needing to reschedule when you otherwise could have had the meeting.

It’s Cheaper

It would be cheaper in the long run if you’re meeting at coffee shops a lot. Sure, you don’t have to sit at a coffee shop, but many coffee shops won’t allow you to take a table without making a purchase, and sometimes you could do without purchasing the small coffee or the pastry. Instead, with a professional meeting space that doesn’t serve any food or drink, you only have to pay to use the space and not for any unwanted snacks. Also, with a professional meeting space arrangement, you could use that space to work as well as have meetings, even if that’s just to ensure that you get your money’s worth. Besides, we all know that eating out is more expensive than eating in, so why eat out when you don’t have to?

Coffee shops aren’t bad, especially if they make an impressive dark roast or their brownies are to die for. But, there are quieter, more professional options when it comes to meeting spaces, so it’s important to know about those and to use them when the circumstances require it. We’re not asking you to avoid the neighborhood business forever, just when renting a conference room or a professional meeting space could make the difference in landing a deal or in making that important first impression.

Do You Need a Virtual Day Office?

virtual day officeVirtual Day Offices a Great Alternative to Other Work Spaces, without the Huge Investment

Are you working from the coffee shop all the time? Do you want a professional work space for your small company, but don’t have the money or the need for a full-time dedicated office space? Then consider a virtual day office as a way to have that professional work space when you need to make conference calls, to meet with clients, to have a company meeting, or to get some work done without the distractions of a live band or the idle chatter of the couple sitting next to you.

The Benefits of a Virtual Day Office

A virtual day office can be rented by the hour, day, or longer, depending on your exact needs. It comes with all the amenities of a coffee shop (the coffee is free at a virtual day office) and much more, such as a reception area and a dedicated phone line. If travelling on business for an industry conference, then it’s a much better option than competing with everyone else for the nearby coffee shops, the hotel lobby and business center, or space in the convention center. If travelling to meet a client, imagine how prepared and professional you would look if you can take them to a virtual day office instead of a coffee shop or the hotel lobby! Sure, in these scenarios, the office is a little more expensive, but it might be worth the convenience, or the first impression.

What Comes with a Virtual Day Office?

A virtual day office can be an executive suite, or a conference room, or a small meeting virtual day officespace. It all depends on what would best fit your needs, as obviously something like what’s pictured on the right will be great for a meeting of three or four people (like a company or client meeting), but won’t be good for an entrepreneur or a freelancer who just needs something for one person. Whatever the case may be, either an executive suite, or a conference room/meeting space can be rented by the hour, day, or for a longer period of time. All three would come with Internet access, a dedicated phone line, a reception area, free coffee, and even printing, copying, and faxing service. It’s all that’s necessary to function like a normal office or company, but without spending a ton of money on things that you don’t need all the time.

What’s the Alternative?

Without a virtual day office, what you would and/or your company be doing? Would it have the large overhead associated with a typical office space? Would it be meeting in basements, libraries, and coffee shops in order to get things done? Would it be wasting time finding someplace suitable to work and dealing with distractions. If you, or your company, would be doing any or all of those things, then you definitely need a virtual day office. Fortunately, we have locations all over the country, so we’ll have something somewhere that can suit your needs.

How to Get the Most Out of a Virtual Office Space

executive virtual office spaceIf you’ve already invested in a virtual office space, then you’re probably already aware of the benefits a virtual office space can provide. But, are you getting the most out of your virtual office? Is there a way that you can get more bang for your buck, even more so than the money you’ve saved from making the switch from a typical office space?

There actually are ways to get more out of your virtual office! After all, we all like getting more for less, so here are few ways to get the most out of your virtual office space:

  1. Network with Others – Do you happen to run into others in your building or office space that are also using a virtual office? Have you ever talked to them about what they do? You probably should, as networking with these people could get you more business. You could also find someone who performs a service that you just happen to be in the market for. If anything, networking with others will make the place just a little friendlier.
  2. Use the Printing and Copying Services – If you already have a printer and a fax machine at your home office, it could be easy to avoid using these services at your virtual office. Save yourself those extra costs and use the printing, copying, and faxing at your virtual office space. It’s likely you’re already paying for those anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to pay for it twice by using your things at home.
  3. Have a Virtual Receptionist – Something that can cause a lot of hassle for small businesses and solopreneurs is the communications system. How do you handle tons of phone calls on top of all the other things you have to do? How do you have your communications appear professional? A virtual receptionist is the answer! Many virtual office spaces have this option, and a live-answering receptionist is a great solution to handling phone calls, to transferring them appropriately, and to giving your business a more professional appearance.

Some may just need a desk and a productive environment out of their virtual office space, but they can be much more than that if you want (or need). Don’t be afraid to make yourself at home in your virtual office space, instead of treating it as just another office or just as a desk and four walls to rent.