1. Virtual Office Industry Overview
2. Starting a Virtual Office Business
3. Tips for a Successful Virtual Office Business

Updated November 9, 2020:

Wondering how to start a virtual office business? The right way to start is to conduct proper research, determine a suitable business structure, prepare a business plan, build an aggressive marketing strategy, complete the legal formalities, rent an office in a business area, equip your office with the necessary infrastructure, and hire competent employees.

A virtual office provides a physical address for your business without putting the burden of maintaining an office facility. A virtual office service lets you own a business address in a high-profile area at a minimal cost.

Due to increasing demand, starting a virtual office business can give a good return on your investment. However, you should research well and also buy the best software to operate in this industry. Other basic things you will need include a mailing address, a physical office address, a virtual assistant, and a call center.

Virtual Office Industry Overview

Virtual office businesses usually provide physical office addresses and meeting rooms for receiving mail, holding meetings, and receiving visitors when required.

It's a growing industry, especially in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. There are more than 700 registered virtual office businesses in the United States, which collectively employ more than 3,000 people and do an annual business of $2 billion.

Starting a virtual office business is quite easy and the startup capital required is pretty affordable. In fact, you can start this business right from your home.

Starting a Virtual Office Business

Market Research

Almost all types of businesses, big and small, avail the services of a virtual office. Hence, try to make your target market as broad as possible. You may also want to stick to a specific niche in the industry. For instance, you may specialize in offering customer relationship management services, leasing telecommunication services, providing document management services, and so on.

Make sure your financial analysis includes not just the cost of space, furnishing, and infrastructure, but also the cost of branding, advertising, and client acquisition.

Business Structure

  • Sole proprietorship can be an ideal structure if you are starting out at a small scale with a few virtual offices in a small neighborhood.
  • If you plan to expand your business with virtual offices and corporate clients all across the United States and in other countries, a limited liability company (LLC) or a general partnership will be a more suitable structure for your business.

Strategies

Be proactive in marketing your services. You will be more likely to succeed if you provide your clients with value for their money. Your marketing strategy should focus on easy reachability, high reliability, promptness of service, aggressive pricing, and excellent customer support.

Following are some sample marketing ideas for a virtual office rental business:

  • Send introductory letters and brochures to webmasters, bloggers, banks, and financial institutions.
  • Advertise online on websites, search engines, and social media.
  • Create a website for your business.
  • Participate in roadshows involving your target business communities.
  • Join local associations of virtual office businesses.
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industry.
  • Advertise in newspapers, TV, and radio.
  • Get listed in yellow pages and trade directories.
  • Encourage personal referrals (word-of-mouth marketing).

Business Registration

Meet all the legal requirements to operate a virtual office business in your state and city. To be on the safe side, you should incorporate your business to limit your liabilities. Obtain all the necessary licenses, permits, and taxpayer ID. Consider buying a suitable insurance cover and draft your legal documents well. Be aware that people often subscribe to virtual office services to carry out illegal activities.

Leasing and Equipping an Office

People avail the services of a virtual office to get a business address in a posh business district at a minimal cost. Hence, you should lease your office facility in a high profile business area and equip it with the latest infrastructure. Make sure you always maintain a professional environment in your office.

Tips for a Successful Virtual Office Business

  • Understand your product well. Dig deep below the surface to get a better understanding of all related aspects, like the purpose of your service from a customer's point of view, ease of access, mode of delivery, cost competitiveness, terms of use, etc.
  • Focus on what you do best and what you love doing. You can offer anything from transcription to data entry to customer support services.
  • Write down a business plan that covers all aspects of your business.
  • Choose a unique business name that aptly describes your services.

If you need help on how to start a virtual office business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.