Ritu (www.gtexecutivecentre.com) is managing The Greater Toronto Executive Centre, a business centre with two locations in Mississauga. Her workshop centred around sharing options on how to take your business out of the home, either full-time or part-time, and into a more professional environment. I work from my home, or out of my Starbucks “office”, because writing is a very solitary but mobile profession, but I don’t really want to be meeting my clients in my home. I don’t have a designated office space, and I live with 5 other people, so my home is most often not client-ready. Ritu was able to present business people like me a range of option for all budgets.
The Virtual Workplace
Your workplace is a key part of your business strategy. You must ask yourself some questions. Am I comfortable seeing clients at my home? Do you have a budget? Does my staff need to be in my space to do their job?
Office space can be represented in many different manners, from large and pricey, to small and affordable, with pros and cons presented for each.
- Traditional office: personalized to your needs vs high operational costs; potentially wasted space in the form of conference rooms that don’t get used very often.
- Can potentially have a shared space with another business: cost sharing, but potential for conflicts
- Business Centre: savings in set up costs; immediate usage; flexible lease options; vs rules and regulations; no branding; privacy issues
- Co-working Space: open environment; shared amenities; collaboration opportunities; significant savings; vs no privacy, no fixed space
- Virtual Office: an office without a physical office:m—you have a consistent meeting spot; mailing address; they’ll take your packages; professional image; meeting space; no long-term commitments; vs no permanent space; meeting rooms subject to availability
Other aspects to your business that can be virtual (i.e., shared or low cost) include:
- Operational Items
- Telecom: look around for a plan, lots of short term commitments available
- CRM and software: go cloud based—google and all its associated apps
- Virtual receptionist
- Virtual admin
- Virtual concierge
- Offer internships and co-op positions
- Alternatives to traditional advertising
- Networking groups
- Social media marketing: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, buy and sell groups; boost posts, and Facebook ads
- Trade Shows
- Offer expertise: express your opinion; blog; write articles
In conclusion, there are so many ways to look at a successful business these days. It no longer means the brass plate on the door and the plush carpet on the floor. You’re in control of your business, and you are entirely in control of what success looks like to you. Create your own vision of success.