Virtual office packages are aplenty in Singapore, with competitive prices ranging from as low as $8 from small operators to over $100 for big brandnames like WeWork, Regus, Justco, The Great Room, etc. just to name a few.

For those starting out on new businesses, it makes perfect sense to scale up slowly in operations and fixed costs like office space as the business grows, especially in a country like Singapore where the costs of doing business keeps rising over the years.

In any typical business, besides labour costs, rent would likely form the next biggest expenditure item on income statement.

For this reason, new entreprenuers just starting out may wish to keep costs down by working from home or in cafes, as long as the business can acquire new customers and grow existing ones with no need for renting of office space.  A virtual office package caters to this need as it provides a commercial business address for correspondences which presents a professional “façade” when interacting with customers who do not come down for sales presentations in an office setting.

Still there are important considerations to evaluate when you choose to work anywhere with a virtual office plan in Singapore:

1. Location Of Virtual Office Address

There are many cheap virtual office packages in Singapore with most of these located in fringe areas outside the city centre. When you decide to sign up for a virtual office package, do not loose sight of the primary purpose of why you are doing that – you want a good office location just like when you choose to rent at a physical office location.

Why do we say that? There are two reasons. First, a CBD (central business district) address that is easily recognized by customers would instil confidence in them to want to deal with you – this is paramount as that is the whole purpose of why you have to sign up for virtual office in the first place! Is is not penny-wise, pound-foolish to decide on virtual office address simply on price when you are trying to ensure the existence and continuity of your new business?  After all, you have already decided to save so much more by taking on a virtual office versus renting a physical desk space.  Then, go all out and get what matters most to ensure you can grow your business.

Second, think of all the times you will give yourself excuses not to go down or procrastinate to pick up all your mails weekly just because you have to go “out of the way” to do so, if you choose a non-central location for your virtual office address in Singapore.  There might even be slight financial consequences like cheques waiting for you to clear, or a penalty to pay should you be late in making some payments as you have “yet to receive” the invoice, and so on.

On the contrary, when you choose a virtual office address in CBD, you turn this “chore” or negative event into a positive one which yields great results especially when you do this weekly as a routine.  This is because instead of making a trip just to pick up your mails, you would make it worthwhile by arranging for appointments to meet friends or even clients for lunch and/or coffee who work mostly in and around the CBD areas of Raffles Place and Tanjong Pagar in Singapore. Think networking and opportunity to catch up with friends and business partners.  In fact, you will be looking forward to these meetups and picking up your mails is now becomes “by the way”,

2. Uptime 24×7

As you decide on virtual office setup in the beginning, this means you will not have a desk with a dedicated fixed line number or a DID.  Even though we are officially a millennial work force, we may be dealing with customers who are more old-school and who likes to see a DID number printed on your business card apart from your mobile. For this reason, it is recommended to sign up for a dedicated phone number (usually pre-fix 6) when you take up any virtual office plan.  Make sure the service provider has this option.  Incidentally, you should be using this dedicated number as a hotline number on your website.  How many times have you seen websites featuring a mobile number and you wonder to yourself “This looks like a one-man operation or some freelancer and I would rather deal with a company”.  Don’t give the wrong impression to prospective customers.

And if you have to sign up for a dedicated phone number, the running costs ie. the call charges become important as we know of operators who would charge very low on the main virtual office package but makes back from all the recurring services from dedicated phone number, usage costs, and other pheripheral business services.  Select an operator who can provide the best overall value in terms of a dedicated phone number with cheap calling rates or better yet free incoming calls so you know there is minimal add-on or hidden costs later.

Remember as a new business, every call is an opportunity knocking on your door.  And if you do not have a big budget to employ a whole sales team or customer enquries team, this dedicated phone number or your hotline is vital for business success and needs to be “always turned on” 24×7 (except when you sleep of course).

3. “Moments Of Truth” In Customer Acquisition

There will be times when it is necessary to impress a client who request to meet at your office for whatever reasons, perhaps to size you up before he or she would decide to give the business to you.  This is where it becomes a dilemma for the startup business owner.  As the saying goes, some costs you simply cannot do away with and you just have to invest for the future.  For this reason, we believe all successful businesses should not stay as a virtual office client for too long.  Whichever operator you choose to work with for your virtual office address at the start should be able to offer you more, if not the full suite, work space solutions later on from coworking desks, dedicated desks to private rooms.

Singapore can be a very small place for doing business, and do not be surprised more often than you think, clients may request such a meet up, sometimes at the eleventh hour.  Virtual office operators who can provide a professional meeting room at minimal costs to host your clients when such “moments of truth” occurs would help you to win over and acquire a new customer to your business. That certainly justifies paying more than market rate for the virtual office address service.

Speak to us today to find out more about our office solutions (dedicated desk and serviced office) and to arrange for an obligation-free viewing of premises.  We look forward to welcoming you to the StartWise family.

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