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3 Reasons Why a PO Box is a Horrible Business Address

mailbox with red tab upFor many online businesses and home-based businesses, a PO Box is the easiest option for a business address. You can get one that’s close by and at a very low cost. It’s also a much better choice than using a home address, which doesn’t give you any privacy and may get you into trouble with city ordinances or a landlord. But, just because the PO Box is an easy and available option doesn’t mean it’s the best option for a business address. Here are three reasons why PO Boxes make horrible business addresses, and what you ought to use instead.

It Doesn’t Look Legitimate

PO Boxes are often used by scammers and fraudsters as a way to set up their schemes without having to release any personal information that could link crimes back to them. Although you may be running a legitimate enterprise, the fact that PO Boxes have been previously used for sinister purposes may make potential customers weary about your intentions. PO Boxes are simply harder to trace back to actual people, and if a potential customer wanted to do research on your business before paying for products and services, then a PO Box makes that more difficult. You don’t have to be so transparent that you give away a home address, but a PO Box isn’t considered a transparent or open business address where it’s easy to tell if you are who you say you are.

You Can’t Meet Any Clients or Customers at Your “Address”

With a PO Box, it’s difficult to meet any clients or potential customers at your “office.” You either have to arrange for a lunch or coffee meeting (which costs money), or you have to do the meeting at your home (which isn’t very professional or representative of a reliable, successful business). If someone asks to see your office space, or to meet you at your address, then what are you going to tell them when you only have a PO Box? A PO Box as a business address doesn’t show that you are a serious business or that you are open to meeting with clients and customers in a professional, productive location.

A PO Box Doesn’t Work for Google Places

If you want to have your business listed on Google Places, then a PO Box won’t work. Google doesn’t consider it an accurate physical location, and won’t list your business as a result. Part of Google’s requirements is that the business needs to be staffed during its hours of operations, and it’s very difficult to staff a PO Box. This policy especially hurts local businesses, so if you want to be known for your products/services in your area, then don’t use a PO Box. You can’t use it as an address online, which is how people will find out about you and learn about what you have to offer.

Virtual Office Mailing Addresses are the Best

Virtual office mailing addresses are a much better option than both PO boxes and your home address. They afford you privacy like a PO Box, but they are also more professional than either option. Virtual office mailing addresses also offer a variety of services that the others don’t, such as a receptionist to sign for deliveries, access to meeting spaces and business services, and a directory lobby listing. These addresses are also similar in cost to the PO box, while having a lot more flexibility and professionalism. Overall, virtual office addresses are the best business addresses out there if you have a home-based business, an online business, or if you’re a freelancer or sole proprietor.

Related Links:

A PO Box is a Horrible Business Address

Getting a Business Address for an Online Business

The Importance of a Physical, Business Address

Announcing Your New Cheyenne Virtual Office in a Press Release

virtual offices

Although press releases may be a bit antiquated in this digital marketing era, they are still a good way to make company announcements and to create a little press. If your organization has decided on a Cheyenne virtual office for a new location, or any virtual office location, then this is news worth mentioning in a press release. However, writing it isn’t as simple as it seems, especially if you want to do more than just have a new webpage with your company name on it. Here’s what are some do’s and don’ts when writing that press release:

Do Keep It Short. – Most press releases are just a page or two long. If it’s anything more than that, people may be discouraged to finish reading it because it’s too long, as some press release websites will split it onto two separate web pages. At a bare minimum, your press release should include contact information, a paragraph about your company, a sentence or two about the virtual office, and a little something on why your company did this.

Don’t write poetic passages. – Poetry is a respected literary art form, but it has no place in a press release. When writing a press release, say what you mean and mean what you say. People should be able to take what you’ve written at face value. Everything should be clear and concise like any other form of business communications. It’s not necessarily the place to play on words or to be extraordinarily creative, especially since both don’t work as well in online content.

Do Include a Quote – One way to make your press release a little more engaging is to include a quote from someone, such as a CEO or an operations officer. This is a good way to explain why your company is going to have a virtual office, or why virtual offices are a good choice for any business, as it shows rather than tells. Quotes also give blogs and online publications something interesting to work with if any of them decide to run the press release or to do a story.

Don’t send the press release as soon as you’ve written it. –If it’s been proofread, then do it once more to ensure there are no mistakes. If you choose to include a quote, then check it with the source to okay it. Just be ready for complaints if you’ve written erroneously about someone or something.

Do Post it to Your Website First – If you are publishing this press release for SEO purposes, then the best thing to do is to post it on your website before posting it on some of the other press release sites. This gives you credit for the content, telling the search engines that the PR sites copied you. To ensure that it works, post the press release on your site about a day or two before sharing it with others.

Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment – By experiment, we mean three different possibilities. You can experiment with the day of the week you are releasing it, the time of day you are releasing it, and whether or not to include a photo and/or a video with your press release. Research has shown that you can increase page views depending on the day of the week, as well as by including a photo of your virtual office with your press release.

Related Links:

5 CEO Best Practices for Reducing Office Space Costs

How to Market Your Business in a San Diego Virtual Office

Why Entrepreneurs Need Virtual Offices in San Antonio

How to Remain Legitimate in a Scottsdale Virtual Office

Scottsdale virtual officesOne of the benefits of a virtual office is that is can provide you or your business with a professional address, something that looks more legitimate than a home address or a P.O box. However, this benefit is something that fraudsters have picked up on, who are now using virtual offices as a way to appear more legitimate and to scam people.

This hurts those of us who are using Scottsdale virtual offices as a way to build a legitimate business, putting us in a position where we could look less legitimate if we use a virtual office. How do you maintain a solid, professional image without having to change your address? Here a few good tips to consider:

Smaller Cities like Scottsdale are Less Susceptible

In a mail fraud and money laundering scheme caught several months ago, the scammers used virtual offices in Seattle, Houston, Las Vegas, and Chicago to run their operation. Notice they used big cities, not smaller cities like Scottsdale, Spokane, or Reno. Part of the reason scammers like the big cities is that the addresses are more recognizable, like Las Vegas Boulevard or Chicago’s Sears Tower. However, the smaller cities are just as recognizable without having those famous locations that attract those who want to feign legitimacy. To remain legitimate and to avoid complaints of being a part of these schemes, then consider virtual office options in cities like Scottsdale.

Use Your Space from Time to Time

The Better Business Bureau suggested the following to consumers who want to find out whether a business is located at their advertised address:

a quick online search of the address may provide evidence that the company is using a virtual office space
This advises assumes that everyone using a virtual offices only wants the address and the mail forwarding services, when a virtual office can provide much more than that. A virtual office can also have virtual receptionist services, conference room rentals, and even actual offices that you can use to work in for a few hours. Some virtual offices may even advertise their clients and members. To get past the online search portion, utilizing these services can help a great deal, as it shows that you have a second business vouching for your presence and your legitimacy. It also helps if you provide additional contact information, such as a phone number and an email, so it’s easier for a skeptic to contact you and to ask questions.

Be Open about Your Use of a Virtual Office

What makes the use of a virtual office for these fraud operations is that these people claim to be more that they are, or bigger that they are. For example, they only use the mail forwarding service of a virtual office, but will claim to have an entire floor or to operate more of that office than is possible, such as a call center. Even though a virtual office could be used against you, if you are open about the fact that you have a virtual office and will primarily work from home or are only there twice a week, it’s harder for someone to say that you’re lying or are trying to cover something up. Also, the additional services offered by virtual offices allow you to invite people to see your space, to rent a conference room or to use the printing, for example. Seeing is believing, especially with something virtual.
Don’t let these fraudsters and scammers scare you away from having a virtual office! Don’t let them ruin things for everyone else, who are using virtual offices legitimately. It’s a matter of representing yourself properly and getting the most out of the opportunity a virtual office presents for your business.

Related Links:

How to Find the Best Employees for Your Danbury Virtual Office

Virtual Offices for Lawyers: What You Need to Know

How to Market Your Business in a San Diego Virtual Office

3 Types of Businesses that Could Use a St. Louis Virtual Office

St Louis Virtual OfficeWhen people think of great cities to do business in, or to start a business in, most of them might say New York, Boston, Chicago, or Silicon Valley. Although those are great cities for many reasons, there are smaller cities like St. Louis that are also worthwhile places to start a business and to expand your business. A virtual office can do just that, so here are three types of businesses that could use a St. Louis virtual office:

Startups

If your a brand new start up in St. Louis, then a St. Louis virtual office is a must-have. It provides a workplace that’s ready to go so you can continue building your business without having to wait for the Internet to get set up or to find the desks and other office furniture that you need. It’s also a professional address that you can use for your new business, so you don’t have to give away a home address or a P.O box.

Start up culture is also about flexibility i.e. working from home or working at all hours of the day or working in a way that’s different from what’s been done before. A St. Louis virtual office can do all of those things. Extra money isn’t wasted on a higher rent, or utility bills, or traditional infrastructure, especially when you expect to work from home often or to be on the go a lot. Virtual offices can also grow as your business grows, without having to find more room for new employees or to get additional desks, computers etc. to accommodate them.

E-Commerce/eBay Businesses

ACNielsen reported in 2006 that 1.3 million people in the United States make a primary or secondary income from eBay. I couldn’t find anything more recent than that, but it’s likely that seven years later, some of those people are still making money this way and that some of those people are in St. Louis. A St. Louis virtual office can facilitate such a business by adding more legitimacy online (with a professional address and phone number), and by providing a place to do the work where it doesn’t have to conflict with another job or to take up space in the home. Whether or not the business is eBay-based, or is just e-commerce, this type of legitimacy is important since there are way too many illegitimate sites and companies that could victimize your customers. A virtual office can show that you are different and make them more comfortable.

The Self-Employed

Although the self-employed can easily also have a startup or a an e-commerce business, that’s not everyone who is working for themselves. Those who are perhaps writers, graphic designers, computer programmers etc. could benefit from a virtual office by boosting their professional image. A virtual office is an indication that you, as a self-employed person, is competent professional who does good work and takes that work seriously, versus someone is just looking to make a few bucks on the side or to get what s/he can.

Sure, a virtual office might come with a lot more than you might need. Not everyone needs the dedicated office with the door, or the meeting space, or the receptionist, even the printing and copying services. Fortunately, most virtual offices come with options with fewer bells and whistles, so if you are self-employed, you can find an option that only has the address and mail forwarding, or only has an option of renting space when you need it. Virtual offices are not one-size-fits-all services.

So, how about it? Are you and your business ready to have a St. Louis virtual office?

Getting a Business Address for an Online Business

You might think that e-commerce and online businesses don’t need a business address or any physical address for their operations. A contact form and/or a few email addresses, or even a phone number, may suffice for day-to-day operations, but a business address offers much more benefit than just something to keep the business together. If you’ve never considered a professional business address for your online business, here’s why getting a business address is a good idea and a few ways in how to get a professional business address:

It Looks More Legitimate

Consumers like working with local businesses, even those that are completely online. Getting a business address in your area adds legitimacy and credibility to your business; it shows that you’re serious about building a business and maintaining a professional image. Besides, a professional business address looks more legitimate than a P.O Box or a home address, and its an address that you’d actually want to present to potential customers and online (you don’t really want people finding your home address so easily).

Tip: If you don’t ever serve/receive customers at your business address, then the address needs to be removed from your Google listings. Failure to do so could result in a removal of your listing.

P.O Boxes Don’t Always Work

Sure, they’re cheaper than a professional business address and are available at all hours of the day, but some entities don’t consider a business address. For example, some companies don’t deliver to a P.O box, and government registrations and licensing doesn’t count them either. Depending on the size of the P.O box, you might not be able to receive packages either. That could be a problem for an e-commerce business that would need to handle returns from time to time. So, if you’re going to spend the money on an address or mailbox, spend it on a professional business address that can work for everything (and is much more presentable on business cards and your website).

An Address is Needed for Registrations

Everything from filing an LLC to registering your domain name requires an address. Even though a home address or a P.O box may count for some of these, consider the fact that these documents and registrations make it easier to find an address for your business. By putting a home address, you’re making it that much easier for people to know where you live. Also consider the zoning laws in your area or the lease for your home/apartment, either of which may prohibit the use of your home address for any business purposes, even if you were to conduct your business primarily outside of the home.

How to Get a Professional Business Address

There’s no one way to get a professional business address, but the best two ways to get the address without too many extras is through a virtual office service or through a coworking space (sometimes, a provider will have both virtual offices and a coworking space). With either of those, you can get the professional business address without having to get a specific office suite or a telephone number or anything else. You have the option of just the address with maybe mail forwarding, package handling, and perhaps a local place to meet if you need it.

A professional business address may seem like one of the last things an online or e-commerce company would need, but getting a business address should be a high priority. With these types of companies, it’s all about image and credibility, and a professional business address does that much better than any other type of address. All the big sites and e-commerce companies have one, so why shouldn’t you?

Why a Professional Business Address is a Good Idea

mailbox with red tab up

When starting a business or running one on your own, one of the last things you’re thinking about is professional business address. After all, money is tight, and if you don’t have to pay for an address or an office, why should you? Fortunately, getting a professional business address is not only inexpensive but it’s better for you and your business in the long run. Here’s why such an address is a good idea:

Getting Found on Search Engines

It’s tough to find a P.O. box on Google Maps or Google Local, and you certainly don’t want anyone using those tools to find your home address. A business address is a must for just about any startup or company that wants to be taken seriously and considered legitimate. It is especially important if you plan, or already do, have clients and customers coming to your business or that you’re meeting on a regular business. However, a business address makes it easier for your to build your online presence, and to get found online. Search engines don’t count the P.O. box as a physical address.

It’s Necessary for Licensing

Depending on your state or city laws, you may need licensing in order to run your business. To acquire and to renew these licenses, you need a physical address. A P.O. box won’t count, and depending on your state or city laws, a residential address may not count either. Even if you plan to be a home-based business, and have your home setup to be legal to run the business (like have enough room for everything, fit within zoning requirements), a professional business address may be the only thing that counts.

Access to Additional Business Services if Necessary

When starting out, or worrying about the core business, it’s sometimes hard to foresee future needs or even to prepare for current needs. One of the nice things about getting a business address, especially with a virtual office company, is that additional business services are provided at no additional cost, or on an as-needed basis. These services can include conference rooms, mail reception and forwarding, printing, faxing, copying, and even a live receptionist. It’s certainly a lot better than having to take care of all that itself, and it’s nice to know that those services are there as you grow.

P.O. Boxes Don’t Allow for Packages

Okay, you might not get a whole lot of packages. But, what if you make a business purchase online? Or, what if a customer wants to return something? Or, better yet, send you a small holiday gift? If any of those things happen, you can’t have them sent to your P.O. box. Meaning, you’ll have to divulge your home address, even though that was the point of the P.O. box in the first place. Knowing that a professional business address can handle packages, and will still prevent you from having to share your home address to people you’ve never met, is a good thing.

 It Simply Looks Better

Admit it, saying that your company is located in “Suite 800”, or on the “10th Floor” sounds fantastic. It sounds real, successful, serious, accomplishing; all attributes that you want to associate with your business and that you want others to associate with your business. That just doesn’t happen with your P.O box, or if you have to say an apartment number or a mailbox number. It really only happens with a professional business address. And, appearances count when it comes to building your brand and your business. Don’t take a chance with a P.O box, or making it clear your working from home, as both make you look like your small-time or just a hobby. Move up with a professional business address.

The Importance of a Physical, Professional Business Address

mail address
Dump the home mail address for a professional business address in a virtual office!

If you’re a really small company, or even just a solopreneur or freelance, a virtual office can come in handy by simply providing a professional business address. A P.O Box simply does not look all that approachable or professional to customers. Using a home address as a business address can be tricky for many reasons, so getting a physical business address through a virtual office is a cost-friendly solution.

Even though you may be able to get the benefits of the virtual office through a virtual office solution or package, if you’re self-employed or a company of a few people, you might just want the professional business address. This way, you don’t have to worry about zoning issues, or lease agreements, or giving away a home address to perfect strangers. You’ll also have a work-friendly environment available to you in case you’d like to get out of the house or you’d like to meet clients outside of your home or in a coffee shop. Plus, using your home address makes your business look like an amateur, or like a company that doesn’t have the resources necessary to deliver quality product or service (whether or not that’s actually the case).

P.O Boxes simply don’t work as well either, even though you may be able to get one at little or no cost. It doesn’t inspire the confidence in your vendors and customers the way that a normal business address does. It also makes your business look small, and unable to handle a big order or a big client. A P.O Box also doesn’t come with the services that professional business address at virtual office does, such as notification of mail, package handling, and mail forwarding.

A professional business address really gives the impression that it’s safe to contact you, that you aren’t a shady little company that’s out to scam people. P.O boxes, home addresses, and no address at all, just don’t do that. Best of all, a professional business address with a virtual office still gives you the freedom to work where you want and to run your business the way you want to. You just now have mail management that offers security and peace of mind to both you and your customers.