Why Stamford Virtual Offices and Virtual Receptionists Go Together

Stamford virtual officeMany virtual offices also offer, or even include, virtual receptionist services along with the typical options of mail forwarding, a professional business address, and conference rooms. And, why not? Most other office or workspace arrangements often have a secretary or a receptionist of some sort. Although you might think you don’t need a virtual receptionist, if you are considering a Stamford virtual office, then a live receptionist is complimentary to such a work arrangement. Here’s why Stamford virtual offices and virtual assistants are a great combination:

No One Knows Either if Virtual

The word virtual in “virtual office” might imply that you’re not working when you’re supposed to, or that this office doesn’t even exists, or something that can’t be as good as a home office or a traditional office. This is where a live receptionist can make all the difference. No one would ever think that a live person answering the phone would be a virtual or outsourced solution, something that might not be in the same location as that virtual office. It looks like you’ve hired a new employee, or have someone helping you to get your work done and to run your business. A virtual office helps you, or your company, be more professional and legitimate, and a live receptionist can do the same thing.

Devote More Time to Your Work or Business

Stamford virtual officesA virtual receptionist will enable you to get more out of your virtual office by handling several crucial, but time-consuming, activities. These include scheduling appointments, answer frequently asked questions, and handling telemarketers and other unwanted calls. This leaves you more time to work with customers, to plan your marketing campaigns, to keep the books, and other activities vital to the business. Outsourcing those little things might not seem like a lot of time, and it might not seem like those things even get in the way. But more time toward your business, even if it’s just an extra 30 minutes to an hour a week, can make a huge difference. The great thing about a virtual receptionist is that s/he can be in the business of answering the phone, especially if that’s not the business you’re in.

You Don’t Ever Have to Miss a Call

With a live receptionist, you’ll always have someone there to answer the phone. No more will your cell go off during a meeting, or interrupt you in the middle of a task or big project. No more will calls have to go directly to voice mail, or will have to take a call after you’ve called it a day. A live receptionist can be a 24/7 service, if you want, and that means that there will always be an actual person answering the phone. This way, you don’t have those awkward moments of your cell phone going off, or having to take a call while driving or walking down a busy street. Have the receptionist say you’re not available, take a message, and have it ready for you when you are in a better place (and mindset) to talk.

Not everyone opts for a virtual office for the virtual receptionist services. In fact, you can opt for the virtual receptionist while have a traditional brick-and-mortar of your own. However, these two things can work well together to clean up your business operations and to make things smoother and more efficient. Consider a virtual receptionist with your virtual office. An extra person, in a sense here, can augment your company in so many ways.

Related Links:

Communication Strategies for the Beverly Hills Virtual Office

Everything You Need to Know about Virtual Offices

Cupertino Virtual Offices for the Night Owl

Cupertino virtual officeIt’s tough to be a night owl in today’s society. Society rewards the early bird, and nearly every business and government service is set up to benefit morning people with their hours of operation. Most people also think that night owls are immature, irresponsible, and just want to sleep and not do any work. Not only are those stereotypes not true, but new research from the University of Madrid found that those who burn the midnight oil possess a certain kind of intelligence that’s linked to higher incomes and more prestigious jobs.

Think what you want about night owls. The point is that being a night owl is difficult because you have fewer options for work and work spaces because most places aren’t that flexible. Yet, one option that is very flexible is the virtual office. Here’s how a Cupertino virtual office, or any virtual office, is perfect for the night owl:

Virtual Receptionist Services

It’s not that night owls are lazy or unprofessional. It’s just that they aren’t working and productive at 8 a.m., when everyone else is working and being productive (at least trying to be, anyway). This doesn’t mean that night owls have to miss out completely on the first few hours of a business day. With a virtual office, night owls can have a virtual receptionist or secretary to handle any calls or mail that comes through in the morning. When the night owl is awake and ready to go, the correspondence is there and no one would ever suspect that you were sleeping the whole time.

24/7 Access

Cupertino virtual officesThe stereotype about night owls is that they don’t do much at all, since they are sleeping when everyone else is working. This is true in the morning, but since night owls typically stay up until 3 or 4 a.m., they are working at night when everyone else is sleeping. So, in reality, night owls are getting as much done as the rest of us, and maybe even more so because they get the peace and quiet of the night. Most virtual offices have 24/7 access, so night owls aren’t stuck working at home or don’t have to feel obligated to work at a certain time because that’s when the building is open. A night owl can get to the office when everyone else is leaving, and be able to work in the office without distractions because most people have left.

It’s Cost-Effective

If you’re a night owl currently working an early bird job, then the hard part for you would be rearranging your schedule and getting the flexibility you really need. With the virtual office, you can argue for this flexibility by showing how cost-effective a virtual office option can be for your organization. With virtual offices and telecommuting, the company can save money on office space and on utilities. Productivity isn’t wasted with night owls dragging in the morning, parents leaving early to tend to their kids, or absenteeism in general. Virtual offices can allow for life to take place without interfering with the work that needs to get done. It allows night owls to work when they are most productive, parents to work when their kids are sleeping or at school, and the rest to work from home or to take care of life’s little surprises when they come up.

The best thing about Cupertino virtual offices, and all other virtual offices, is that they are a workspace option for a variety of lifestyles. The hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. aren’t as convenient or as necessary as they used to be. Virtual offices can fit any lifestyle while fitting the traditional business schedule too.

Related Links:

How a Virtual Office Improves Your Health

Can Virtual Offices Encourage Community Service?

How a Virtual Office Could Improve Your Parenting

4 Types of Businesses that Could Use a Live Receptionist

live receptionistA receptionist is a staple for any traditional company or office, but there are a lot of businesses that aren’t considered normal or traditional, but could still benefit from a virtual or live receptionist. A virtual receptionist will answer calls, forward them, take messages, and schedule appointments, all without being in the same room or the same company as you. Here are four types of businesses that could really use a virtual receptionist:

  1. An E-Commerce Business – If the only way you generate sales right now is through your website, then a live receptionist could open up the possibility of customers calling in their orders, or at least creating an alternative in case your website is down or the shopping cart isn’t working. The Internet is ubiquitous, and more and more folks are making purchases online and on mobile devices, but the ability to call in an order may allow for someone to place a really big order (to make sure you can fulfill it) or to have a choice in case the customer is uncomfortable with putting their credit card information online or wants to ensure that you are a legitimate business. A live receptionist can be that option, offering a friendly voice and even friendlier service.
  2. Women-Owned Businesses – Women may be starting businesses at a higher rate than the national average, but they still only generate 4% of the revenue. Why so little? A big part of that is that women tend to keep their businesses small, so they are easier to manage and to balance with family, perhaps another job, and other responsibilities. However, a Babson College study found that women entrepreneurs who hire someone within the first six months of business are more likely to reach a million dollars. Although a live receptionist isn’t the same as hiring a full time employee, the key for women entrepreneurs is understanding that they don’t have to do it all, and shouldn’t do it all, if they want a high growth company. A live receptionist is a good start, especially if the business doesn’t have an extra full time salary sitting around to pay this person.
  3. Fast-Growing Startups – Many startups are reluctant to hire a virtual receptionist, or to hire in general. Granted, there’s probably so much that needs to be done that there’s no time to look for someone appropriate. Perhaps the startup still needs to work on proof of concept or in forming the right partnerships. However, it’s those reasons that make a virtual receptionist a good idea instead of a bad one. You can have a live receptionist tailored to your business, so they can answer the phone the way you want and forward the right calls. This opens up time that would have otherwise been spent dealing with unimportant calls to prove the concept, form partnerships, and all that other startup stuff.
  4. Mom & Pop Shops – A small business like a Mom & Pop shop may not have a lot of work for a virtual receptionist, but that’s one of the great things about them. You don’t have to pay them for 40 hours a week. If you only have between five and 10 hours of work per week, you can pay a live receptionist accordingly, and then that’s an additional five to 10 hours that you have to do other things, like serve customers or market the business. Depending on the work, you probably don’t need the person to be in the shop with you, which makes a live receptionist an incredibly affordable option.

If you are willing and able to trust someone that you’ll probably never meet with company information or with your customers, then a live receptionist can really help your business to grow. With technology, being able to do that is much easier than five or 10 years ago.

How to Transition to a Virtual Office

transitioning to a virtual office
Transitioning to a virtual office can be a big step for your business!

Great! You’ve made the decision that a virtual office is the best option for your business or work situation. Now, you have a little bit of time to make the transition before you pay your first month’s fees, or perhaps move out of the old place. Whether you are transitioning from a coworking space, a traditional office, the coffee shop, or even a home office, there are things that need to get done so the transition is smooth and you can get the most out of your new virtual office. Here’s how to make the transition:

Note the Change in Address – If you’re signing up for a virtual address, you are probably changing your business address, or finally getting one for the first time. Make sure that you let clients know of the change, and perhaps update your website and any professional listings that you may have. As a backup, you might want to let the post office know about the change and to have them forward any mail you may get. You don’t want to lose any checks in the switch, or have two separate addresses listed for your business.

Consider How the Change will Impact Your Workday – Transitioning to a virtual office is more than a new address and a new place to work. There’s also the little things. For example, to you have a shorter commute with the virtual office? Do you now have free access to services and amenities that you were paying for previously, such as coffee and printing? Do you have a bigger desk, one that could accommodate a desk calendar or more files, or even some personal items? Those things not only improve the bottom line, but could give you more time in your day or more ability to be productive with the time that you have.

Don’t Forget People – This is especially crucial to extroverts who are making the transition. An introvert may welcome the chance for privacy and to work alone, but extroverts may go crazy with the quiet solitude. To keep yourself sane and connected, participate in networking activities, or join a professional group or two. You could also schedule more lunches and coffee breaks with others in your industry. If you’re someone who enjoys talking to people and having company, take the time to include that into your life if you think you might lose it with the virtual office.

Emphasize the Benefits – Transitioning to a virtual office can be overwhelming, and could take more time than you thought. To avoid burnout, or backing out on a decision that was so good on paper, emphasize the benefits you get from the virtual office. Maybe that new, business address will make your company a little more legitimate. Maybe having that live receptionist will make it easier for you to work on the core business. Perhaps a quiet place to work that’s free from distractions is exactly what you need to get something done. Change isn’t always easy for people to deal with, so thinking about the benefits that will come from these changes will make transitioning to a virtual office that much easier.

With the right mindset and preparation, transitioning to a virtual office from your previous situation should go smoothly, and be everything that you wanted for yourself and your business. After all, you can to the conclusion that a virtual office would better suit your needs than what you had before, so transitioning in a way that ensures success is the best way to get that success once the switching is done and you are settled in.

The Value of a Live Receptionist

live receptionist
A live receptionist can provide more value than you might realize!

As more and more companies start up as virtual businesses, there is still a need for the appearance of a brick-and-mortar office, even if one barely exists. Perhaps the solopreneur or freelancer works from home, and perhaps much of the rest of the time is spent traveling. Still, it’s likely customers will still make an attempt to call your office. As you might not have one right now in the traditional sense, a virtual receptionist, also known as a live receptionist, is the solution.

Not long ago these kinds of services were utilized more for off-peak times, or when you were traveling for business or taking a family vacation. Situations have since called for more mainstream use, and they’ve now matured into more full-featured services. Call answering is now available 24 hours day, and other receptionist functions such as appointment setting and answering simple questions about your business are available. Some even provide a basic level of customer service.

What Does a Live Receptionist Do?

Essentially, what happens with a virtual receptionist service is this: a customer, client or vendor calls the phone number you have listed as that of your business. This number could be your own cell or smartphone number, but perhaps you are in a meeting, on a plane, or otherwise indisposed. The virtual receptionist – which is a live operator – answers the call as if s/he were sitting at a desk in what would be your office. This person screens calls, takes messages and disseminates whatever information you tell his/her company to provide to callers.

The appearance that it provides is one of legitimacy, with the feeling that you are a real person and are available for business inquiries—just not right now.

What Advantages are There to Having a Virtual Receptionist?

There is a distinct advantage in this: people like to call a business number and get a live person on the phone, preferably one that is knowledgeable about product information, and is able to answer basic questions. Contrast this with a voicemail recording—there’s no one to answer questions, or even any assurance there will be a call back and when that might be. If the customer wants to buy now, that individual doesn’t want to wait for a return phone call—not when there are others who are answering their phones with similar products to sell.

For busy companies that already have an on-staff receptionist, another benefit of a virtual service could be in assisting with overflow calls. You could also develop a tiered system in which the virtual receptionist answers and screens calls, and provides a certain level of support— including setting appointments, taking messages, answering questions and routing calls. For more serious conversations or questions, your on-staff receptionist could take over and provide a higher level of customer service, answer questions more fully, and work almost in an office manager capacity.

This is especially helpful when your on-staff receptionist is covering for an employee who
is out sick, traveling in an area where there is little or no cellphone service, or on an annual
vacation with his/her family. It might take a full-time operator to handle that individual’s
correspondence, with phone calls and email to answer and to respond.

What Should I have a Live Receptionist?

Having a virtual receptionist can also provide you with a more flexible schedule in general as to vacations and employees who travel—just assign the service to monitor their email and phone calls, perhaps send an email digest to the employee (if that employee is a hands-on type) at the end of each day.

With all the various choices available, a virtual receptionist and any included services could be just what your company needs: a presence with little actual overhead.

6 Great Benefits to Hiring a Virtual Assistant

live receptionistWhen people hear the words “virtual assistant,” an image of a polite receptionist comes to mind, one who handles phone calls, takes messages, and may even work with customers about orders and service problems. But, did you know that a virtual assistant can do much more than reception? Did you know that a virtual assistant can provide much more benefit than just a face and a voice to answer phones and to talk to customers? Here are six great benefits to hiring a virtual assistant outside of the normal phone calls, messages, and customer service:

  1. Work on the Blog – Just because this person is virtual, doesn’t mean the person is without skills and can only contribute in a few select ways. If your virtual receptionist also has an interest in blogging or online marketing, then have that person take up some of those tasks too. Have them write one or two posts per week with keyword optimization, or contribute to an already existing company blog by finding keywords to optimize or blog posts by competitors to respond to.
  2. Perform Research – Gotta do a big presentation for some investors or a possible client? Or do you need help considering a new provider for cloud services or commercial cleaning? A virtual assistant can help with that as well, determining which provider has the best prices or finding the background information you need to do your presentation well.
  3. Create Marketing Materials – Sure, the blog is a form of marketing. But, if you need help with your company newsletter, proofreading your website (or any other documents), or putting together/managing an email list, then a virtual assistant can help with all those things as well. Just make sure that he/she also has some writing and editing abilities.
  4. Set Up Travel Plans – If you have a virtual office, then it’s likely that you may do a lot of traveling. After all, if you travel a lot, it would be expensive to rent office space all over the country, and kind of a waste to rent office space in one location where you hardly spend any time. With both a virtual office and a virtual assistant, this person can set up your travel plans and even find you some great places to be productive when you’re on the road.
  5. Keep Your Finances in Line – Budgeting can be tough, and let’s face it, some virtual receptionistpeople aren’t the best with numbers. But, your virtual receptionist might not be all that bad. Have him/her look over your spreadsheets to make sure everything is accurate, or put together charts and graphs to represent this information. If your virtual assistant is extra talent, perhaps he/she could even make financial projections for your business.
  6. Organize Meetings and Events – While numbers are a tough spot for some, organizing and keeping track of dates may be the weak spot for others. Have your virtual receptionist send you reminders about meetings, book you event spaces, and schedule your meetings around what you already have going on.

With all that in mind, doesn’t it seem like a virtual assistant is an asset instead of a burden? Who knew there were so many benefits to hiring a virtual assistant?

Small Business Phone Answering Portrays Big Business Image

small business phone answeringOne of the last things a small businesses wants is appear small and incapable of doing what a big business can do. Sure, some small businesses don’t want to become a behemoth with tens of thousands of employees, but all small businesses want to assure their customers that they are professional and  able to handle everything that a big business can. One way small businesses can portray that big business image is with small business phone answering.

Small business phone answering, also known as a live receptionist or a virtual receptionist, is a person who handles all phone calls directed toward your and your business. This person isn’t based at your headquarters, but acts as a representative of you business. The virtual receptionist will screen calls, take messages, forward calls, schedule appointments, and process orders. Depending on the size of your small business, all that can be a lot for one live receptionist, so with Allied Offices you can have up to five virtual receptionists who can handle all of those tasks. This leaves you the chance to focus on your core business, instead of worrying about answering the phone.

Small business phone answering creates that big business image by streamlining your communications and having someone representing your business that is knowledgeable, personable, and organized. Never again would have to deal with a customer calling your cell phone while you are on the business line speaking with another customer. Never again would a customer have to leave a voicemail, or simply have the phone ring. A virtual receptionist will always be there to answer the phone and to handle the call appropriately.

Small business phone answering will also improve your bottom line in the long run. A live receptionist can process additional orders for you, and costs less than a traditional receptionist. Since this person also portrays that big business image, you end up with more people interested in becoming customers, and more of them can now become customers because someone is there to make that happen. A live receptionist can also help with customer service, working with unsatisfied customers and possibly retaining them and customers for your business (instead of a competitor).

Implementing small business phone answering may not seem like a huge change, or something that can make a big difference to your business. But, think of small business phone answering as adding one more person to the team, and having one more person on the team can make a lot of difference. If a big business is what you want, then a virtual receptionist could be the solution to make that happen.

What to Look for in Executive Office Suites in Atlanta

executive office suites in AtlantaWe’ve previously discussed how to get the most out of an executive office suite or a virtual office space, but before you get the most out of one, you need to find one first. In Atlanta, what should you look for in your executive office suite? What sets one apart from the others? Here are a few factors that can help:

What’s Surrounding the Executive Office Suite?

This is more than considering the location of the executive office suite in Atlanta, but looking at what’s on the same block or across the street. This includes the other businesses in the building, the restaurants within walking distance, or important landmarks (such as the courts or a conference center). An executive office suite in Atlanta ought to be convenient for a professional in its services as well as in its surroundings.

Is There Lodging Nearby?

If you or your business meets with a lot of out of town clients, or if you have an executive suite in Atlanta because you come to Atlanta office, then looking for nearby lodging would be helpful. You would want lodging that’s close enough for your or your clients to get to quickly and easily. Lodging doesn’t have to be something fancy, as Doubletree Hotels and Garden Inns work just fine.

How’s the Parking?

Parking is crucial if you plan to drive to your executive office suite. Some may be able to provide it for free. Others may only have street parking. Some may have nearby parking in a garage or lot for a monthly fee. Parking costs need to be considered as a business expense, so don’t take them lightly when looking for your executive office suite in Atlanta.

Are there virtual receptionists available?

Virtual receptionists and live phone answering is a great for solopreneurs, or professionals that travel often. It can be hard to keep track of communications if your business is just your, or if you travel often and could be in a variety of time zones and places. A virtual receptionist would be a dedicated person, provided by the executive office suite, who could handle all those communications for you. You then wouldn’t have to hire anyone to handle it for you, you wouldn’t have to give away your cell phone number, and you wouldn’t have to take care of those phone calls yourself.

Executive office suites in Atlanta come in many shapes and sizes, and meet the needs of many different people in many different ways. Finding one that meets your needs takes careful consideration. Hopefully, this list helps in pointing out what ought to be carefully considered.

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.

Virtual Office Services a Big Benefit for Small Businesses

virtual office services
Teleconferencing is one of the many virtual office services that can help reduce costs for small businesses.

One of the biggest operational costs for small or budding business is that of the office space. Rent, office supplies, utilities (maybe), electronic infrastructure, can all add up to be a big hole in the wallet of small business. Yet, it would be very hard for a business to operate without printing, Internet, or a phone system. What’s a small or budding business that’s short on costs to do?

An option that has worked for small businesses and independent professionals is virtual office services. Virtual office services provide all the benefits of a permanent office space without all those big office expenses. With virtual office services, a small business can have a permanent business address, conference and meeting rooms (if necessary), and a virtual receptionist.

On top of all that, imagine the personal benefits of virtual office services: no need for a morning commute (which means less traffic and less money on gas), the chance to work from home more often and maintain a work/life balance, and the opportunity to work flexible hours and to do things you wouldn’t normally have time for. With virtual office services, you could have a home office while having a professional space to hold meetings. With virtual office services, you could work at night if you’re a night owl, or work around the schedule of your kid’s school or babysitter.

Virtual office services are also a good choice if your small business is in any green industries, or is conscious about sustainability. By using virtual office services instead of a traditional office space, you can eliminate over 13,000 pounds of CO2 that is released into the atmosphere during the commute every year. Now, that would be a statistic to brag if you’re a business that’s serious about going green or reducing carbon footprints!

Overall, virtual office services may be a new concept, but they are a great option for small businesses and independent professionals who need to cut their operational costs and keep their budgets small. Virtual office services can provide everything necessary to function and to appear like a big, bustling firm without the hefty price tag.

Why a Virtual Receptionist is Better than None at All

live receptionistFor small and micro-businesses, having someone dedicated to answering the phone and receiving customers is a bit of a luxury. You need every able bodied person to be doing everything from serving customers to managing inventory, from creating marketing materials to doing the accounting. Sometimes, you and your employees are just too busy to answer the phone!

This is where a live receptionist can come in. A live receptionist isn’t another employee, but someone with a virtual office or virtual receptionist firm who acts as the professional representation of your business. A live receptionist will be able to screen calls, forward them when appropriate, and take messages if necessary. Having a virtual receptionist will allow you and your employees to focus on the core of the business without having to miss a sales or customer call.

Of course, this live receptionist will be trained in the specifics of your business. If you need the virtual receptionist to schedule appointments or to take orders, that can be done. If you happen to need more than one live receptionist to handle customer service calls or phone orders, that’s available as well. Essentially, a virtual receptionist can help a small or micro-business to grow by answering more calls, taking more orders, and opening up more time for you and your employees to do other things. This means more money for the business, plain and simple.

virtual receptionistHaving a virtual receptionist is much better than having none at all, or even one of those automated answering systems that are always difficult for customers to work through. It’s a real live person answering the phone, able to meet any needs of the caller, without taking time away from whatever you need to be doing. It’s a consistent, professional impression that seamlessly connects with your business, without having to pay the costs of another employee at your company. A live receptionist is a must have for any small or micro-business, especially if alternative is no receptionist at all.