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Posted on
November 01, 2018
Although recent studies have found that working from a virtual office can make employees happier, healthier, and more productive, lawmakers and industry policy shapers have by and large kept silent on the issue. However, the advent of the virtual office has so revolutionized the world of work that local policymakers in San Francisco, California recently considered a groundbreaking new bill that could play a large part in bringing virtual office arrangements into the mainstream.



The San Francisco Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance: What You Need to Know



Under the Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance, employees who have children or are designated guardians or caretakers would be given the legal right to request that employers implement scheduling and work accommodations. This also means employees who care for elderly relatives or ill spouses would be able to request a more flexible employment arrangement. Eligible employees would have the legal right to ask employers for a different starting time, a part-time schedule, a partial year schedule, a telecommuting arrangement, or a more consistent schedule. The ordinance creates a formal request process for employees, but does not apply to businesses with fewer than twenty staff members.

Employers' Obligations Under the New Law



The new law mandates that upon receiving an employee request for a flexible schedule or telecommuting arrangement, the employer is legally obligated to give serious consideration to the request. The employer must participate in a meeting with the employee to discuss the request within twenty-one days of receiving it. Upon making a decision, the employer must provide the employee with a written response. If the employer declines the request, that employer is legally obligated to demonstrate that approving the request would cause undue hardship to the business.

Business owners are obligated to inform their employees about the ordinance as soon as it goes into effect.

Employers who fail to comply with the new law could be fined up to fifty dollars per day that they are in violation for every employee whose request was not treated properly.

Future Implications for Industry and the Local Economy



IBM recently surveyed 42,000 employees in 79 countries, and found that among employees who considered leaving the company, a lack of work-life balance was the second most popular reason for wanting to leave. After instituting a flex time policy, Eli Lilly found that employee performance remained the same, yet employee satisfaction increased.

A study by the Cranfield School of Management in the United Kingdom discovered that remote workers and workers with flexible schedules worked harder and more efficiently than those without, and also reported lower levels of stress and higher levels of job satisfaction.

These findings are typical of most studies on the subjects of remote work and flextime. These results also hold implications for industry and the San Francisco economy. The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance could likely increase job satisfaction, reduce workplace stress, and result in gains in job performance.

As researchers continue to prove the benefits of virtual offices and flexible work arrangements, more and more companies and governments will look to institute flexwork policies like the one being implemented in San Francisco. The Family Friendly Workplace Ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2014.

Posted on
November 02, 2018
If you currently own business or if you are thinking of starting a new one, why not consider a virtual office! A virtual office can be a blessing when it comes to eliminating major start-up fees. Many people who run an office are stuck with having to pay bills for energy and rent, and they also have to pay for the equipment, supplies and furniture to keep it functioning properly.

Three Business Costs That a Virtual Office Can Help Eliminate

Nowadays, many business owners are deciding to build their business empire virtually. If you are thinking of taking the plunge but still need convincing, consider these three business costs that a virtual office can help eliminate.

Reduce Your Overhead and Save Big on Business Expenses


Imagine the amount of money you will be able to save on renting office space, employees, insurance, office furniture and more if you choose to make your business run online. Your overhead costs will reduce dramatically and you only have to pay rent when you use the virtual office address you have picked.

Employee Costs No More: A Virtual Office Can Be a One Person Show


If you can handle all the tasks involved within your own business you can run the business yourself. However, with a virtual office telephone answering services and administrative support are provided. You can forget about extra computers, payroll taxes and benefits package expenses. Any the extra help you need is likely already provided by City Office.

Advertising and Marketing Costs are Greatly Reduced


If you plan on doing a lot of advertising for your business or product, a virtual office allows you to do all of it online. You can forget trying to purchase space in loads of magazines and paying high costs for brochures. You can advertise your services on numerous websites across the Internet, and many of them are free. There are a large variety of advertising resources and online marketing tools available to virtual business owners and you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to succeed.

There are numerous advantages to starting a virtual business and creating an online office space. You'll be able to benefit from minimal business expenditures, and you will also benefit from flexible work hours, more quality time with your family and loved ones, more marketing opportunities and reduced marketing costs. Virtual offices will also help to secure profits, will access to more online customers and will provide you with more freedom as a business owner.

Still wondering if you should build a virtual office? Imagine starting your work day with a five minute commute, having time in your day for family members, and being able to enjoy your work day on your own terms. Another bonus is that with all the right passwords, you can have the control over your virtual office from anywhere with an Internet connection, whether it’s from a laptop on a sandy beach side or a ski resort in the mountains. Go virtual with your business.

Posted on
November 03, 2018
Myths fill the business world, and this includes myths about virtual offices and solopreneur businesses. Here, the truth is revealed when it comes to the successes that one can have in owning their own virtual business.



Starting a Virtual Business Is Difficult



If a person is business minded and they have been able to succeed in a traditional business, then starting a virtual business should come just as easily. The learning curve with starting any business can be daunting to some, but the truth is that every individual business has its own challenges and highlights, and the challenges are not any more so with a virtual business.

Working From Home Doesn't Pay Well



When a person starts to work from home, they may notice that they are less productive. This can be the case if a person has a hard time managing their time well. This can also occur when a person doesn't look at their new virtual position as their new job. Any business takes time and perseverance and the same is true of something that is virtually based.

Virtual Office Services Are Unprofessional



Virtual office assistants are actually highly trained professionals that often have years of experience. Virtual call-answering services, for example, are handled by people who are determined to ensure that customers are happy and that professionalism is at the forefront of all interpersonal dealings with clients.

You Will Always Be Tied to Your Job



A person needs to begin a virtual office business with the expectation that "Working from home" means that work sometimes will "come home with you." It takes a person's own will to decide when the business is open and when the office hours are complete for the day. Once a rhythm is established, and business is moving along at a good pace, it can actually be freeing for people to own their own business. It can be a lot easier to take holidays when there is no boss except oneself.

Brick and Mortar Businesses are Stronger Than Virtual Businesses



There are definitely benefits to owning a physical location, particularly for a business that does better when a shopper has the opportunity to touch and feel the products before they purchase them. Even though brick and mortar businesses can become wildly successful, it is not the truth that all of them do. Oftentimes, physical locations close down due to high expenses, too much square footage, and a plethora of other location-based reasons. The reality is that virtual offices are gaining popularity, and it has much to do with the fact that a virtual office owner has a lower overhead than if they were to own a typical brick and mortar storefront.

Virtual and solopreneur businesses can be a lot of hard work at first, but the payoff is substantial for someone who sees past the myths and works toward the truth, which is that virtual businesses can provide a person with the time and money freedom that they are so desperately looking for in their busy lives.

Posted on
November 04, 2018
Having a registered office address can only help your business grow, especially if you own a small or start-up business. Even if you currently work from home, having a registered address will aid your business by making it look more established and than it really is. This will leave a positive lasting impression on new clients. If you're considering a virtual office with City Office, read on for three reasons why a registered address will help your business.

What Can a Registered Address Do for Your Business?

Present Your Business as Established and Prestigious


One of the advantages a registered address can have for your business is that it can present your company as well established and prestigious. City Office has a variety of office locations all over the world. You can choose your registered address to be in the business district of New YorkLondon or Singapore, or you can decide to be situated in a trendy part of San Francisco or Sydney. Having a registered address in a prestigious location can convince clients to do business with you, as it is far more professional than seeing your home address on your website. Additionally, having a registered address provides you with the opportunity to expand into other cities and even other countries without having to worry about rent or utilities.

Never Miss a Package Delivery


If you work from home and put your home address on all your marketing material and on your website, then all of your mail will come to your home address. Not only is this an issue of privacy, but it is also an inconvenience; you are unable to separate your professional life from your personal life. With a registered address, your mail will be collected on your behalf, and either held for collection or forwarded to you. Packages will also be signed for on your behalf. Unlike Working from home, with a registered address someone will always be available to pick up your mail or sign for a package. This provides you with stress-free time to work on your business, and it also ensures you receive all the mail you're expecting in a timely manner.

Always Have a Sophisticated Meeting Area Available


Without a registered address, chances are you are meeting clients in a local coffee shop. While this might be convenient for you, it will not leave the same lasting impression that a sophisticated meeting room in an impressive building will. When you register for a virtual office location with City Office you have access to the meeting rooms in the building you select. In addition to large meeting rooms, a registered office provides you with access to high-speed Internet, a trained receptionist to escort your clients through the building and video conferencing capabilities. This meeting space is far more sophisticated than a local coffee shop and is sure to leave a favorable impression. A registered address will only help your business and aid its growth. In addition to convenient mailing services and sophisticated meeting areas, you have the freedom to select your location. Your choice of location will make your business look both prestigious and well established, making connections with clients easy.

Posted on
November 05, 2018
If you're about to move your business operations into a virtual office, you may be tempted to christen your new space with a startup weekend or some sort of social event. This is a great way to help your employees bond, meet some of the business owners and staff who work on your floor, and really make your new space feel like it's yours. It can also help to raise brand awareness in your immediate vicinity, and it offers a low-key environment in which to network. Here are a few easy tips for hosting a startup weekend or event in your new space.



Plan the Event for an Appropriate Time



You want your virtual office event to be a light-hearted and fun event for your staff, but scheduling it while your team is still moving into their new office will only create unnecessary stress. If planning an office-warming social, plan your event for about one week after your employees have moved into the new space. A week is enough time to move your equipment and files, get everyone settled, and get a sense of your new surroundings. It also gives you some time to get to know the other professionals and businesses in the building, whom you may wish to invite.

For other events further into your tenancy, such as startup weekends, be sure to take major projects into consideration, and try to schedule events when you and your staff have some down time—like immediately after you've finished a major project.

Be Sure to Invite the People Who Matter



When sending out invitations for your startup weekend or event, it can be easy to forget someone. When organizing invitations, separate invitees into groups to keep things organized. For instance, you can separate your contacts into clients, employees, industry partners, and neighbouring organizations. Inviting important industry contacts to your startup weekend can demonstrate that your business is at the cutting edge of your field and help you to solidify business relationships. By keeping your invite list organized, you can get the word out and make your event a success.

Have a Program and a Plan



Although it's nice to simply spend time with other industry professionals, your startup weekend or event should be strategically planned to increase brand awareness. An event like this is a perfect opportunity to market your business. However, this is not the place for the hard sell. A startup weekend is about ideas that matter, and social events are primarily intended for recreation. Attempting a hard sell in such an environment will be ineffective. Instead, focus on fostering real connections with other professionals and business owners. Ask them about what they do, and try to listen more than you talk.

If you've recently moved into a virtual office, a startup weekend or industry mixer could be a great way to get to know your neighbours, have a fun time, and foster connections with other business owners in your area. By planning ahead and staying organized, you can make your event a major success.

Posted on
November 06, 2018
When the economy begins to spiral downward, there are several ways for small businesses to beat the storm and increase their sales. The global recession caused a lot of companies to tighten up their spending and take a good look at what cuts could be made. The downturn caused a lot of these companies to become more efficient at carrying out operations. In order to be a company that can keep sales up while the economy is weak, read the three tips below. The economy is still not at its strongest, so certain steps should be taken to increase sales if your company is lagging behind.

Keeping Your Sales Up When the Economy Is Down

Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket



Companies that put too many eggs in one basket were hit the hardest during the global recession. In order to increase their sales, these companies had to take a look at ways in which they could diversify and appeal to a greater range of customers. Depending on what type of small business you operate, there are a variety of initiatives you could carry out. For example, it's important to take a look at some of the companies and individuals that are cutting back on expenses. If these companies and individuals are among your client base, then you should rethink who you are marketing to and then expand beyond this demographic.

Justify Your Business



Each business should already have a good reason for customers to buy their product or service. Make sure that what your company offers is a priority to every customer. If you justify your business and market it as a priority, you can ensure that your product or service won’t be cut from the expense column. Refining what your company offers and working on its sales pitch will help ensure that your company's product or service is one of the last expenses your customer eliminates. Align your message with the economic situation.

Find Former Customers



While your company may not have needed them when the economy was strong and doing well, those old clients could be your business' best chance of increasing profits. Each business should have a database of clients. Using that list, you can contact individuals who used to be customers of yours, and target your marketing to this demographic. These customers were interested in your product or services at one point in time, and they likely still have some interest in your company.

The downturn in the economy is still affecting many companies, and it is unlikely that your small business hasn’t been affected in some way. While it will take a while to move out of the economic recession, by following certain guidelines you can ensure that your company is able to keep their sales up during this time. By thinking of the downturn as a way to sharpen your business's operations, you will be further ahead when the economy fully recovers from the effects of the global recession.

Posted on
November 07, 2018
Even when a company is growing, its office space footprint may be becoming smaller. The reason for this is that many corporations and other organizations are beginning to see the value in moving their traditional businesses from brick and mortar to virtual. This is true of companies who decide to go entirely online and of companies that maintain a smaller office space and then hire people to work from their homes, which could be far away from the office. Can this transition be a positive one?



Moving Away From the Traditional and Moving Toward the Virtual



A traditional working environment, such as an office building or storefront, costs a lot of money, both for monthly rent and utilities and for upkeep and expansion. Business owners pay for everything- from the cost of lighting to the expense of parking spaces for employees. If there was a way to get away from all of those expenses while providing a more flexible way for employees to work, many employers would take the opportunity – and this is exactly what is happening.

Virtual offices and Working from home has become so big, in fact, that companies are hiring individuals to work for their companies entirely from their homes. It does not seem to matter, now, where in the world a person resides. If they have the skills, knowledge, and training to do their job effectively in an office space, then they most likely can do that same job from home.

Virtual Businesses and Lifestyle Flexibility



People are becoming more and more aware over time that they want balance in their lives and that working non-stop does not always create that life balance. When a person works from home, they can find it to be challenging not to "take work home" because work is at home. With some practice, life balance can be had, though, and it can be had more easily with a job that is based from the home than a job that is elsewhere. For people that want to be able to attend their children's sports events or school functions, for example, a work-from-home position can allow for that flexibility.

Where In The World Can People Go Virtual?



The most excellent part of a virtual office working environment is that a person has the chance to work from wherever in the world that they are located. Most often, the only caveat is that the worker needs to be able to frequently access an internet connection and a telephone signal. Another benefit to working virtually is that virtual offices are located all over the world, and often in destination spots. So, when a person wishes to have a family vacation, for example, a vacation can be had somewhere close to a virtual office and life balance can be experienced.

Working virtually is becoming a worldwide trend that is not slowing down. For a corporation that wants life balance for their employees and who wants to lower their traditional expenses, going virtual can be one of the best moves to make.

Posted on
November 08, 2018
If you are a small business owner who is looking to save money, but are still hoping to grow your business, you have probably considered making the switch to a virtual office. Having a virtual office means you no longer have to pay to rent out a physical office space, you will no longer have to pay for utilities and you don't need to hire a receptionist. While it might seem like a big step for you and your business, if you follow these five tips you'll find that making the switch to a virtual office is easy.

Five Steps for Making the Switch to a Virtual Office

Choose City Office



The first thing you need to decide if you're making the switch to a virtual office is what company you are going to register with. Do your research and decide which company offers benefits that you and your business require. City Office is a virtual office provider that keeps the needs of small businesses in mind. You will not just have a registered address, but you will also benefit from administrative support, you will be offered a user-friendly management account system and you will not be locked in a contract.

Select a Registered Address for Your Virtual Office



After deciding on a provider, you can decide where you want to have your registered address. City Office has locations all over the world. You can select an address that is in the city closest to you, or you can choose an address that is on the other side of the world. With office locations all over the UK, all over the USA, throughout North Asia, East Asia and the Middle East, you will be able to choose a location that makes your business look sophisticated and well established.

Put the Registered Address on Your Business' Contact Page



After you have decided on the location of your virtual office, you will need to put the registered address and phone number on all of your business' promotional material. It is important to do this in order to take advantage of City Office's phone answering and mail forwarding services. All mail will be sent to the registered office, and then either forwarded to you or held on your behalf. Phone calls are also answered for you, so no call is ever missed.

Host Meetings at Your Virtual Office Location



The next step is to host meetings in one of the meeting rooms available at your office location. City Office provides a range of meeting spaces, all with high-speed Internet, video conferencing capabilities and refreshments. This environment beats the local coffee shop, and will maintain your business' professionalism.

Grow Your Business



The final step is to simply watch your business grow. With all of the support provided by City Office, securing future business with clients has never been easier.

If you are looking to make the switch to a virtual office, keep these five steps in mind. Making the switch to a virtual office is easy and stress-free, and the benefits to your business are enormous.

Posted on
November 09, 2018
Working from home and working from a virtual office are incredibly flexible ways to do business. More and more people are moving away from their typical working environments- in offices and in cities- and they are moving toward the concept of working from the comforts and conveniences of their home. When a businessperson has employees who also work from home, there is the fear (and sometimes, the reality) that productivity can head for a steady decline. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are three secrets to improving employee productivity when employees are working away from the office.



Develop and Practice Incredible Communication Skills



Communication skills are the most highly valued of all business skills, and especially this is true in a situation where employees and management are in different locations. In terms of communicating with employees, the most important thing to keep in mind when managing from afar is to always maintain a communication link with all employees. Be available to answer calls from staff members, and make sure that they know that they need to be reachable. Stay on target with deadlines by maintaining communication via email, telephone, and Skype or another videoconference style application, on a daily basis. The more communication a leader can establish, the more likely productivity goals will be met.

Provide Employees with Decent Incentives



As with a brick and mortar business, a virtual business needs to be exciting for employees. It can be easy for an employee of any job to become bored and for productivity to decrease. When incentives are introduced and maintained, employees are able to set goals and achieve them. Incentives need to be decent- not a free lunch- something that will be worth working hard for. Don't break the bank for the incentive, but realize that with the incentive in place, more dollars are rolling into the business, so putting some of that money toward a reward is logical.

Discover Employee Strengths and Plan Accordingly



It is more than likely that productivity will decrease if the people out in the field are not using their natural strengths in their position. Sure, a person can be hired as a transcriptionist, for example, but that person's natural strength may be in client care. Just because an employee holds a particular position within the company, it does not mean that they are bringing to the table their unique strengths and abilities each and every day. If your employees aren’t working in disciplines that match their strengths, you are being wasteful with your human capital – and this can take a toll on productivity. Set up time to help the employee discover what it is that they can uniquely bring to the company and make sure that they have the opportunity to bring those abilities to the work environment, on a regular basis.

The truth is that productivity can excel in a virtual business setting, but productivity could also crumble. Be sure to make communication the top priority in all employer/employee situations, and be sure that goals are set and are being worked toward. When it comes to maintaining productivity, always let a person's unique strengths come through in their position- no matter what their position is in the company.

Posted on
November 10, 2018
Economists and politicians hailed the economic crash of 2009 as the worst financial disaster since the Great Depression. Economic empires collapsed. Wages dropped. Countless small business owners declared bankruptcy. The nation's largest banks had to be bailed out. The phrase "too big to fail" was thrown about with reckless abandon.

Three Tips for Surviving a Recession and Coming Out Stronger

Yet somehow, as Wall Street giants were felled at the knees, the most determined small business owners not only survived, but thrived. This is positive proof that given enough determination and ingenuity, a business can be successful in the midst of economic ruin.

Back To The Drawing Board



A recession can mean lost revenue. As such, losses are to be expected. This means the savvy business owner is free to experiment with alternative business strategies and models. If a long-standing successful strategy still fails during a recession, why not try something new? The worst losses have already occurred, so there's no harm in experimenting with new products or services or distribution models. Many household brands had their start during a recession. James Dyson launched his vacuum company during the recession of the 1990's, while Bill Gates founded Microsoft during the recession of 1975. If a company seems to be stagnating and if the typical strategy is failing, then a recession is the perfect time to find the flaws in the plan.

Plan and Prioritize Your Business



Maybe the business model isn't the problem. Maybe it's the business mentality. What activities fill a typical business day? How much revenue does one day generate? Is a typical day filled with activities that drive the business forward, or with activities that occupy time? Are there too many priorities for one day?

Take a step back and evaluate the business' top priorities. Attach a dollar value to each priority. How much revenue does each priority generate? List daily tasks in order of importance, and then accomplish them in that order. Don't use e-mail or filing as a distraction; tasks that are required to keep the business operating should be top priority. Top priority tasks include generating client leads, finishing contracted jobs, and meeting with new clients.

Get To Know Your Clients



Your clients are the reason you have a business at all. As such, a responsible business owner should be learning as much as possible about his clients. Do market research and find out why your clients purchase your product or service. What do they think of your business? What do they read? Who do they go to for advice? Make a list of your most important clients and gather information about how to expand your client network. Host a client appreciation day with free coffee and appetizers where you tell your clients about the exciting new work your business is doing. Especially during a recession, the key to a successful business is a growing client list.

Recessions don't last forever. Within a few years, the economy could change completely, and you may find yourself with more work than you can handle. The key is to survive long enough to get to that point. Surviving a recession takes a lot of diligence, ingenuity, and organization. Take care of your small business, and it will take care of you.

Posted on
November 11, 2018
Not too many people in the country can afford pricy San Francisco Bay Area office space. It's no wonder, what with real estate prices and values being what they are in that corner of the country. A serviced office or a virtual office can be a wonderful solution to this problem of high real estate prices in the San Francisco Bay Area. With serviced offices, you get to save a lot of money since you have absolutely not costs associated with the physical space you'd be renting! Take a look at these virtual offices if you can't afford pricy San Francisco Bay Area office space.



Los Angeles, California



Sitting on West Fifth Street, this Los Angeles virtual office is a great and more affordable alternative to the pricier burden of a San Francisco Bay Area office space. Located on the 26th and 28th floors of a skyscraper going 73 floors in the air, this serviced office allows access to several conference rooms, a couple of copy rooms and even two cafes right on site! Of course, the entire site is completely secure, thanks to 24-hour site security. This office is inside of a highly prestigious building, which will only help to increase your profile in your clients' eyes.

Burbank, California



Another great alternative to the pricy office spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area, this site in Burbank is on the 5th story of a nice, 10-story building that was constructed in the sandstone style. Sitting in the San Fernando Valley, right on the corner of Buena Vista and West Olive, this serviced office site comes complete with a veritable treasure trove of great features and amenities. It has security and access round the clock, copy rooms, conference room facilities and a café that is ideal for networking. The great thing about this site is that it's also near a great selection of eateries that clients will absolutely love.

Woodland Hills, California



Finally, this serviced office in Woodland Hills is available at a much more reasonable price than anything in the super-pricy San Francisco Bay Area. Inside of this great glass and stone edifice, you'll discover a brilliant virtual office on the third floor of this great building. The great thing about this location is how convenient it is, being easily accessible from Freeway 101. It also features great amenities such as conference rooms galore, a café, copy rooms and a location that's in the heart of everything.

These virtual offices are a great solution to issues arising from problems with being able to afford traditional offices space in the ultra-pricy San Francisco Bay Area. These offices are ideal for impressing clients, but also for saving precious money. With offices of this nature, you do not have to spend as much as you would when paying rent for a traditional and physical office space. What's more is that you still receive the amenities that your clients are expecting. All this adds up to a great deal for you.

Posted on
November 12, 2018
Running a small business can be difficult and stressful, not to mention expensive. However, it does not have to be stressful or expensive. There are a variety of ways to reduce your business' overhead costs that can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Four Ways to Reduce Your Small Business Overhead Costs

Work from a Home Office



Leasing office space can be very costly, so why not work from home? If having an external office really is not necessary for running your business, a home office can be a great option. Home offices are convenient and less expensive. In addition to cutting costs by eliminating office rental fees altogether, you can also save money by eliminating the need to commute to and from work. In some cases, you may also be able to recoup a portion of your rent or mortgage payments via a tax deduction.

If you are concerned about not having a business address or access to a professional meeting room, you need not worry. It is possible to book meeting rooms, rent mail boxes and receive phone answering and fax services from a virtual and shared office space provider. If need be, you can always move your operations to an external office space at some point in the future if you require more room as your business grows.

Track Your Expenses and Create a Budget



It is amazing how much money you can save if you establish a budget for your business and track your company's expenditures. You may discover that you are spending too much on office supplies or that you can negotiate a better deal on your business insurance, for example. Set up a budget so you will know what you are able to spend and when you will be able to spend it. Some foresight and planning can allow you to search for the best products and services for the most affordable prices, helping you keep some of your money in the bank.

Outsource Everyday Business Services and More



If you do not have a lot of time or resources, you may want to consider outsourcing some of your business services such as accounting, IT, marketing and payroll services. You can even outsource your reception services. Outsourcing allows you to focus on your core areas of expertise to run your business, generally resulting in increased revenue. If you spend too much time with the day-to-day administrative tasks, you will have very little time left for the actual work that is the lifeblood of your business.

Use Technology to Your Advantage



There are so many ways to utilize technology to streamline your processes and make running your business a lot easier. Having a strong online presence will give your company greater visibility without having a physical office space. You can also simplify many administrative tasks by using cloud-based software, online teleconferencing services, accounting software, online payment services and email and social media marketing.

Once you have taken a look at your expenses and successfully reduced your overhead costs, your efforts do not end there. Examining your expenditures and periodically revamping your business' budget are ongoing tasks. Even the smallest savings can add up to quite a lot of money in the long run. Reducing your overhead costs is an easy way to increase revenue without negatively impacting your products or services. Continually looking for ways to reduce these costs will ultimately help your business succeed.

Posted on
November 14, 2018
One of the advantages of registering with a virtual office is the telephone answering service your business will benefit from. With City Office, the telephone answering service provided is so much more than simply a voice for your clients. City Office's telephone answering service provides your company with a dedicated number, a professional receptionist, a personalized voice mailbox and transcribed messages. Unlike City Office's competitors, this telephone answering service goes the extra mile to aid your business.

Not Just Voices: Alternate Services Provided With Telephone Answering

Receive a Dedicated Number



City Office's telephone answering service is specific to you and your company, which is possible with the dedicated number. A dedicated number is a phone number allocated just for your business, and will last the duration of the time that you are a client with City Office. All calls to your dedicated number are answered in your company's name, making your business look bigger and more established than it possibly is. You also decide whether you want to pay to have your calls answered during business hours or if you want to pay to have calls answered 24 hours a day.

All Calls are Answered by a Highly Trained Receptionist



A highly trained receptionist answers all calls directed to your dedicated number. Your clients are greeted by so much more than a voice. Each client will be greeted in a friendly and professional manner, and each call is answered. You will be able to concentrate on the business side of your company knowing that no telephone calls are missed, and that each of your clients are addressed professionally.

Receive a Personalized Voice Mailbox



In addition to the reassurance that all your calls are answered and that no business is lost, City Office also provides each client with a personalized voice mailbox. All calls that are directed to your dedicated number outside of office hours go directly to your personalized voice mailbox. This way, even if you don't pay for the 24-hour telephone answering service and you receive calls out of regular office hours, all messages left for your company will be picked up by a trained receptionist the next day.

Messages are Transcribed and Sent to You However You Want



After the trained receptionist dedicated to your company picks up messages left in your personalized mailbox, the messages are transcribed and sent to how however you wish. Details of the missed call might be sent to you via telephone, SMS, email or fax.

Registering for a virtual office with City Office means your company will benefit from the telephone answering service. However, this service provides your company with so much more than simply a voice. City Office's telephone answering service provides each of your clients with a professional welcome. You can focus on your business knowing that no telephone calls are missed and that all of the details will be sent to you in a timely manner. Due to the dedicated number, each telephone call is answered in your company's name, only adding to your business' professionalism. City Office's telephone answering service is not only a necessity but a way of ensuring your business maintains an air of sophistication, which will only aid the growth and success of your business.

Posted on
November 14, 2018
If you’re running a small business in Vancouver, a virtual office can be a great way to keep costs low while still having access to all the amenities of a large business. If you’re looking for virtual office space in British Columbia’s largest city, there are several options that could satisfy. Here’s what you need to know about Vancouver virtual offices.



Work Locally, Network Virtually: How One Professional Uses Virtual Offices to Network



When Sandra Dakin was taking her communication consultancy to Vancouver, she wanted to test the waters before signing an expensive lease on an office. Now, three years later, her business caters to clients on both sides of the Georgia Straight -- but she only maintains one office. Thanks to the advent of virtual offices, Dakin is able to maintain a presence in Vancouver complete with receptionist, tech support, a boardroom for meetings, and an address for correspondence.

Virtual offices offer flexibility and freedom to mobile professionals who want the advantage of a high-end office space in which to meet, and impress, clients. Putting the roster of unoccupied offices to work is a way for corporate real estate managers to turn tenant austerity into cash flow.

"It makes my business card look spiffy, when I can show that I am distributed to both major centres in B.C.," says Dakin. "I only go to Vancouver once every two weeks, where I meet with clients. As far as they know, I offer full service in that city, and I don't have to maintain a staff or a second lease."

Address to Impress: Get a Leg Up on the Competition



Consultant Darryl Anderson feels the virtual office model gives him a competitive edge. His distributed business thrives on the authority and prestige of a well-appointed brick-and-mortar presence. Operating a nationwide network of virtual offices in each city from his seat in Victoria, Anderson says, " "If you show you care about your surroundings, you're showing that I trust and care about you and it's that intangible that will separate you. Because if they don't trust you, they aren't going to do business with you."

The arrangement is tidy: real-life receptionists are trained to recognize the business name, and clients coming for meetings have no way of knowing that the office is not a permanent feature of the company they are dealing with. "I don't try to fool anyone, but it does help to bring a few personal things to dress up the room," laughs Dakin.

Bigger Savings, Better Contracts: Minimize Overheads and Maximize Revenue



Thanks to the low overhead and flexibility of the virtual office model, Dakin estimates she has been able to secure an additional half-dozen contracts per year in Vancouver, worth $5,000-$12,000 apiece.

The virtual office concept may allow smaller businesses like Dakin's the edge they need to take on larger players. Rather than investing in infrastructure, small firms can spend more on research and development, training, and recruitment, all the while maintaining the advantage of having offices in the regions where their clients are based. Costs run from $50 per month for basic mail services (allowing one to put the office location on one's business card) to $225 per month for a receptionist, dedicated local phone number, and access to meeting spaces.

Virtual offices are a great solution for freelancers, consultants, and professionals of all stripes. A virtual office allows you to make a great impression when it comes to negotiations and meetings. The website www.yourcityoffice.com has directories of virtual office services for every major city in Canada, with offices and office suites in downtown Vancouver offering mail and receptionist services along with meeting space, voicemail and boardroom access. Contact Your City Office and find your business’ new Vancouver home today.

Posted on
November 16, 2018
Procrastination is a source of stress and guilt. Sometimes we procrastinate because a task seems too challenging, or sometimes we procrastinate simply due to a lack of enthusiasm. Procrastinating on a task doesn’t feel so bad at the time, and then later when the deadline looms, comes the sense of impending doom. Ditch the panic and guilt with these simple steps.

Five Ways to Defeat Procrastination So You Can Keep Working

Know How Long It Will Take



One of the major reasons that people procrastinate on tasks is because they overestimate how long a task will take. The project seems so much larger and so much more difficult than it actually is. One ends up dreading the task, and procrastinating in the vain hope that putting it off will somehow mean the task doesn't have to be done at all.

An easy way to conquer this obstacle is to time how long it takes to do the task just once. This will give an accurate impression of the difficulty of the task, which can improve motivation in the future.

Forget Your Troubles and Get Happy



Psychologists have identified a concept known as "creative flow", which is a name for a mental state in which one is in a positive mood and highly productive. Research at Ohio State University shows that people who have a positive mood are 10% more productive than those with a negative mood. Being in a good mood when tackling projects is thought to increase motivation and enjoyment of the task, thereby improving productivity.

One Big Task? Or Several Small Tasks?



Large tasks can seem daunting and insurmountable at first. The expression "biting off more than you can chew" may come to mind. When a task appears to be too challenging, it results in decreased motivation. A great way to avoid this problem is to break large projects into a series of small jobs. Need to write a 20-page business report? Break it into segments - introduction, first main point, second main point, third main point, charts and figures and then the conclusion. The academic essay format loved by high school teachers also works in business reports. The process can be broken down as well: research, outline, first draft, editing and the final draft. Tackle one step at a time and the project won't seem quite so large.

Start At The End And Work Backward



A deadline can be a powerful motivator. Tasks that have deadlines are easy to organize. After breaking the task down into parts and after learning how long each part will take, set a deadline for each individual part of the task. This will keep things on track throughout the task completion process.

Use A Reward System



This may be the most powerful tool of all. Studies on behavioral conditioning psychology show that using a system of rewards and punishments can be very effective in discouraging procrastination. Have you finished a big report? Reward yourself with an episode of your favorite television show. Did you miss a deadline? Force yourself to eat a food that you hate. After just a few rewards and punishments, you'll be motivated to finish all of your work on time.

Procrastination can be a major problem for any profession. However, by following these simple steps, you'll be working productively, and enjoying it, in no time.

Posted on
November 17, 2018
A great way to bring your small business to the next level, a virtual office is a new term that you might not know a lot about. If you're contemplating hiring your first employee but your company is still too small for a proper office, here's what a virtual office can do for your business.



A Virtual Office Provides You With a Physical Address



Whether your employees decide to work out of an office or at their local coffee shop, a physical address is something that comes along with a virtual office. While you won't have to pay the high cost of an office rental, you'll still have the mailing location to give your business the appearance of one that is in full swing.

Creates a Sense of Professionalism



As your first step towards the appearance of a stable and functioning business, a virtual employee who answers your calls and deals with the concerns of your customers will give the sense that your business is professional and credible. When you choose to make use of a virtual office, you can take advantage of telephone answering services by trained receptionists, as well as hire a virtual personal assistant, who will be able to give your customers the sense of a business that is on the up and up.

Allows You to Refine Your Workload



As a small business owner, it can seem like quite a big step to decide to entrust some aspects of your business to receptionists or a virtual assistant. Fortunately, having virtual employees field emails and phone calls can be a great way to get some unnecessary work off of your plate so you can put your time and effort into the stuff that will really help your business flourish.

Offers Growth Without the Associated Costs



One of the most difficult aspects of being a small business owner is trying to decide what way to expend your capital so that whatever you decide to invest in is worth it. Since your employees will be working mainly out of their own homes, you won't have to worry about an office rental, building maintenance, or any additional costs of a full-time office and that means your hard earned money can be put towards what really matters!

Gives You an Employee and a Second Opinion



If you're going at it alone as a solo entrepreneur, it can sometimes be hard not to get stumped by the issues you're faced with. While a virtual personal assistant may not be able to help you with all of the big issues, they may be able to offer their outside opinion and give you a renewed perspective since they're involved in the business with you. It's even possible they might perceive a better way of doing things that can increase workflow and make your business more efficient.

If you're a small business owner who is curious about virtual offices, you may want to visit us at https://www.yourcityoffice.com for more information. As small business owners are always trying to utilize their capital more effectively and invest wisely for the purpose of growth, a virtual office can be a great way to kick start a professional business.

Posted on
November 18, 2018
It's hard to imagine life without apps. Barely five years old, these tiny marvels have almost completely taken over our lives and influence our entertainment choices, our lifestyles and even the way we do business. This is excellent news for anyone facing the challenges of working in a virtual office. As the amount of people working in their pajamas has increased, so have apps designed to specifically to enhance your working day. Available through your laptops, smartphones or tablets, these applications are indispensable for those doing business from their home offices.

Essential Mobile Apps for Anyone Running a Virtual Business

Avoid Missing File Panic



One of the most frustrating things for freelancers and their employers is the transference of important documents. There's always the option of Cloud technology, but for the work that really matters knowing that it's floating somewhere in the ether can be a little unsettling. This is where DropBox can become indispensable. Completely free, this app allows employees to share and access photos, videos and documents from any computer or mobile device. Unlike Cloud sharing, the files are stored permanently in your hard drive as well as on the DropBox website. Now you can share a link rather than clogging people's mailboxes with attachments. Additionally, you can enjoy the security of knowing your files are accessible with or without an Internet connection. Effectively banishing stress over vanishing documents, DropBox has received great praise by critics and users alike.

Conference By the Pool, Anyone?



Fuze Join transforms your smartphone or tablet into a portable HD video conferencing center in barely any time at all. Consistently applauded, this program gives users the ability to host and join webinars with the simple touch of the screen. Also allowing for content sharing and audio conferencing, the app includes many clever features to make an awkward video-conference experience considerably easier. Users can “flag” to get the attention of the host, privately chat with other members of the conference and simultaneously share content such as video, graphs or text documents. Ingenious and completely free, this app makes your mobile device a virtual office superhero, all without the use of a telephone booth or ridiculous uniform.

Grown Up Chat For the Business Minded



Looking for an instant messaging app that is reliable enough to conduct your business affairs? You need look no further than IM+. Known for its stable performance and multiple functions, IM+ is used by businesses and freelancers worldwide who are looking for an all inclusive chat experience. Allowing for both individual and group chats along with the capacity to simultaneously exchange documents, this app makes all other instant messaging systems obsolete. While chatting with co-workers and clients, IM+ also keeps users informed with constant email notifications from multiple accounts, as well as access to Twitter and Facebook for easy social media updates. Truly a modern essential, this app keeps you constantly connected to your clients giving you an edge in the already competitive virtual office arena.

What did we do without our apps five years ago? For many of us, it's hard to remember life pre-Angry Birds and frankly, few of us want to. If entertainment-based applications have made such an impact, imagine what the right app can do for your business’ productivity. If you are establishing yourself in the virtual office world, the above apps are must-haves. Not only will you enjoy the way they transform your business, but the fact that they are all free makes them even more beneficial.

Posted on
November 20, 2018
Any job can be stressful at times, but owning a small business comes with its own unique challenges. On top of worrying about day-to-day operations, as a small business owner you must also be on constant watch for the survival of your company, especially in today's economy. Add in relationships, childcare or personal fitness to that equation and stress can get overwhelming. But there are many techniques you can use to make stress both manageable and productive.

Mental Yoga: Four Ways to Manage the Stress of Running a Business

Take Time Away from the Office



As the owner of a small business, you might work out of your home most of the time. Even if you have a room in your house that you use as your office, if you work from home it can start to feel like you are always "at work," and that you should always be working. Be sure to set parameters around your day that determine when you are at work and when you are at leisure. This will also ensure that you are more productive with your time. If you think of yourself as "on the clock" from 9am-12pm, you will be less likely to spend that extra thirty minutes reading the newspaper before you sit down at your computer.

Delegate and Eliminate Where Possible



Sometimes the sheer number of tasks you have to complete can create stress. Figure out which tasks you can outsource to create more time for what really matters. Spending a lot of time scheduling appointments? Hire a virtual personal assistant to do that for you. Writing a blog because you feel like you have to? There are plenty of ghost-blogging outfits out there that can help you out with that. This will allow you to focus on the kind of work that you truly excel at and that you enjoy doing.

Keep Your Employees Stress-Free



If you have any employees working under you, making sure they manage their stress effectively will help you out in the long run. Businesses lose millions of dollars every year because stressed-out employees call in sick or are not productive. Hold stress management workshops in your office or try team-building activities that will help bring your group together. If your office feels like a safe environment, employees will be more likely to come to you with their problems before they escalate.

Make Your Stress Work for You



Stress can become harmful to your health if you constantly think about it negatively. But if you view your stress in a positive light, it can actually make you more productive. Maybe you have an important new client who is taking up a lot of your time. Instead of griping about how high-maintenance your client is, view this as a learning experience in managing people. Once you decide that a particular kind of stress is worth having in your life, you will begin to see the value of that experience and how it can make you better at what you do.

Owning a small business does not need to be stressful all the time, although some days will undoubtedly be busier than others. If you confront stressful situations head-on instead of avoiding them, you can ensure that stress stays manageable all the time.

Posted on
November 22, 2018
More and more business owners are using virtual offices. Start-up and operation costs are typically much lower than businesses that have a physical office space, but it can be difficult to build an online business empire from your virtual office. Success stories are out there, so how do you create your own success story?

Building an Online Business Empire From Your Virtual Office

Have a Clear Plan



When starting out, you may not know where to begin. Sometimes it's easier to just plunge headfirst into the task at hand with no direction or plan in place. Establish a clear plan and direction for your business with goals and guidelines to follow. The more organized and focused you are, the more likely you are to achieve your business goals.

Know When to Ask for Help



As you build your business, at some point you will likely become overwhelmed and will need some assistance. If you've been running your business completely on your own, it can be difficult to let go and relinquish some control in your business. However, if you really want to build an empire, you will need help; no one can build an empire alone. You can start by outsourcing your day-to-day administrative tasks. With a virtual office space, you can enlist someone to respond to your emails, answer your calls, and send and receive your mail. These everyday tasks can be removed from your list of responsibilities and free up some time to devote to other business-related tasks.

Believe in Yourself and Your Business



In order to build an online business empire, you will need to be persistent and believe in your business. It can be all too easy to give up when things become difficult. All businesses have highs and lows, but the lows can be especially hard to take when you are working on your own. With a clear plan in place and a great support network, you can negotiate the difficult times a little more easily.

Build a Network and Partnerships



Attend networking events and join groups that are affiliated with your business. If possible, establish a mutually beneficial partnership with a business that is related to yours, but is not directly in competition. You can also join social media sites and online groups that are relevant to build your business network. Developing strong connections and relationships built on mutual respect can help to get your name out there and generate referrals.

Launch an Intensive Online Marketing Campaign



Building a strong online presence means more than just a pretty website. You will need to implement a multi-faceted, online marketing campaign to bring more people to your website and generate interest in your business. If you don't know much about SEO, consider hiring an expert to handle your SEO strategy for you. Launch an email marketing campaign, create a company newsletter, join social media networks, and create your own networking groups.

To build an online business empire, you need to be prepared to use all of the tools available to you to your advantage and make sure to ask for help, or outsource tasks you can't manage. It is very possible to build a successful online business empire from your virtual office if you have the right attitude, connections and knowledge to back up your business.

Posted on
November 23, 2018
Growing a small business is a lot of work, requiring an abundance of focus and attention to detail. One of the least expensive methods of communicating and marketing is using email to send messages directly to the inboxes of people who may be interested in the products or services you offer. When you follow these four tips, you will notice a rise in the number of people who open your emails and engage with your small business.



Divide Your Contacts to Conquer



The contacts in your database should be segmented according to the various demographics that allow you to tailor your email blast according to the type of message that best reaches your target. For example, if you divide your contacts in terms of geographical location and cater the title of your email to the region in which they live, your reader is much more likely to open the email.

Compelling Subject Lines Focus Your Audience's Attention



The subject of your email is perhaps the most important piece of writing that takes place in your virtual office. An excellent, compelling title grabs the attention of your audience, vastly improving the odds that your reader will decide to invest time in hovering their mouse over the email you sent and clicking to read the contents within. Use commanding verbs and concepts that are easy to understand to make sure that people quickly realize why they should click on your email.

Make Them an Offer They Can't Refuse



When you send a marketing email, consider the point of view of the people who will be opening your email. Specifically, what's in it for them? Why should they bother spending the time opening your email when it's quicker to ignore and delete yet another sales pitch? Give your reader something of value and make sure the subject line clearly communicates your offer. A free e-book, how-to video, or white paper, or a coupon offering ten percent off a product or service is much more effective in grabbing the reader's attention compared to not offering anything at all. Motivate your audience to take action by pandering to their sense of self interest.

Interact With Your Contacts and Persist



When someone reacts to an email you send, make sure to respond to their response. Taking the time to interact with people who show genuine interest in your communication ensures that they are more likely to open the next email you send and spread their positive experience to others on your email list. However, just because you do not receive a response from a particular contact in your database doesn't mean that you should stop trying to reach this person or organization. Continue to send them carefully considered and tailored emails with compelling subject matter and offers that pique their interest. The only time you should stop trying to communicate with your audience is if they specifically ask you to stop sending them emails.

Considering the fierce competition for the minds of people on the Internet, sending excellent emails that increase the exposure for your small business ensures a greater share of attention. Sometimes, it's not easy, especially if you travel a lot or lack a physical office space. If you need to set up a virtual office, visit our website at www.yourcityoffice.com. We can make it easier to follow the advice in this blog, letting you increase the number of people who open your emails, regardless of where you conduct your business.

Posted on
November 24, 2018
Having virtual assistants can be fantastic for you and your business. Assigning tasks to virtual assistants means you can focus on the business-side of your company and not worry about falling behind on the small tasks. However, keeping your virtual assistants happy and motivated is also essential to ensuring the work is done well and efficiently. The three tips below are low cost ways to make sure your virtual assistants remain happy and motivated, and that all the work for your business is done well and in a timely manner.

Three Low Cost Ways to Keep Virtual Assistants Happy and Motivated

Communicate Openly and Frequently



If your virtual assistants work at home, or in a different city or even country, it can be difficult to maintain communication. However, open and frequent communication is integral to maintaining a good work relationship and to keeping your virtual assistants satisfied. Try to organize a weekly chat over Skype or the telephone. Speaking one on one will allow your assistant to ask questions and voice concerns, while at the same time feeling appreciated as an employee. Regular email updates and summaries will help your virtual assistants feel that they are being kept in the loop. Additionally, keeping in contact over the phone or Skype can help you avoid confusion or miscommunication when it comes to deadlines. Communicating often and showing that you appreciate your employee along the way will keep them satisfied.

Don't Expect Work Out of Regular Office Hours



Just because you assign a task after midnight doesn't mean you can expect your virtual assistant to also be working on your business out of regular office hours. Keep in mind that your virtual assistants might have different timing and scheduling from you. Expecting work to be returned by the end of the business day is reasonable; expecting work two hours after you sent it on a Friday night is not.

Assigns New Work and New Projects



In order to keep your virtual assistant motivated, make sure you keep at least two days' worth of work in the system. This way if you're away from the Internet for a while, your assistant will still be able to work. Having a surplus of work is also a good idea in case your assistant completes tasks faster than you had anticipated. In addition to supplying your virtual assistant with enough work, try to change the projects. Providing your assistants with new work provides them with new challenges. The same work will become mundane, whereas new work provides new challenges that will keep your assistants motivated and willing to work for your business.

These three tips to keeping your virtual assistants happy and motivated are all extremely low cost and simple to maintain. Frequent and open communication is integral, especially when you're not seeing employees in an office every day. Being reasonable is also a necessity; if you are impeding on your employees' family or free time, they will not remain satisfied for long. Finally, challenge your employees and don't underestimate them. Providing them with new tasks and challenges will keep them on board with your business.

Posted on
November 26, 2018
With stiff competition everywhere these days, every little advantage counts towards making your business successful. Because clients are faced with so many options to choose from, one minor detail can often make the difference between losing a prospective client and gaining a new one. If there seems to be even a tiny lack of professionalism, for example, your potential client may simply turn to their next option. This is where a virtual office can help. Here are four reasons why a virtual office is an important tool to help make your business look more professional.

Four Ways a Virtual Office Makes Your Business Look More Professional

Maximize on Quality Communication with Clients



Inevitably, there will be times when you are unable to answer calls from clients because you are busy with another client or in a meeting. If you are a small company just starting up, it is also likely that you cannot yet afford to hire a receptionist. Unfortunately, the majority of callers will hang up and not try again if their call does not go through the first time. This means that every time you miss a call, you risk losing a new client or even risk losing the business of a frustrated client.

A virtual office can help by providing vital phone handling services. With a virtual office, a trained receptionist answers client calls under your company name. The receptionist will then be able to transfer the call directly to your personal line or immediately forward the details to you via email, fax, or SMS. This will help convey the impression that your company is professional, organized, and well-run.

Borrow a Prestigious Address and Impressive Space



If your business is small or just starting up, you will be hard-pressed to afford office suites for your company in a prime location near the financial hub of the city. A virtual office space is an affordable way to have an office suite with a prestigious address in a major city. Having this address on your business cards, company website and letterhead will make an instant impression on clients.

Moreover, a virtual office often allows you to rent the meeting and conference rooms in your office building, giving you the ability to hold larger meetings and give presentations to groups of clients. Using these luxurious meeting rooms will give the impression that your company is bigger, more experienced, and more professional, even as you avoid the high costs of owning these meeting facilities.

Get Organized with Mail-Handling Services



With a virtual office, you no longer have to worry about being overwhelmed with business mail. Mail can begin to pile up within a few days, and a crammed mailbox can easily lead to a disorganized and messy office space, which risks important letters and packages being misplaced, lost, or damaged. This is an even bigger concern if you run your business from home, as you will find your business mail is frustratingly mixed with your personal mail.

A virtual office can offer mail-handling services and collect all of your business mail for you. The mail will then be delivered as one organized package to your house or office in a timely manner.

Expand Your Business by Developing Branch Offices



Not only does a virtual office give you a professional business front in a major city, but some virtual office companies can even enable you to open virtual offices in numerous big cities. This is the perfect way to branch out and expand your company quickly and efficiently, without compromising your business with hefty costs. Furthermore, establishing branch offices in many major cities across the country, or even in different parts of the world, enables your company to stay competitive and relevant. It adds professionalism and credibility to your business because it shows clients that your company is constantly growing, networking, and evolving to fit the demands of the market.

If you've been looking for that next step to give your company that extra boost and propel it into continued success, then a virtual office may be just what you need. Having a virtual office instantly professionalizes your company and attracts new clients. It also provides access to executive meeting spaces and other conferencing facilities, making your business look well established. If you are looking to make your business more professional, a virtual office is definitely the way to go!

Posted on
November 26, 2018
Hiring new staff? Congratulations, looks like business is good! But for first-time bosses, and even some more seasoned at the job, navigating the interpersonal minefield of leadership can be daunting. Here are five tips to improve your leadership ability.



Lean In and Listen



Starting out as a boss is an intense time, and your mind is full of all sorts of plans and possibilities. It can be very easy to steamroll ahead and do more talking than listening. This is an honest mistake, but a mistake nonetheless. Why? Because your staff members are some of your best assets. Employees bring with them a wealth of ideas, talents, and experiences that can greatly enhance your business—but not if you never let them talk.

Communication Is Key



Even the best ideas can run out of gas and fall flat without timely communication. Ensure your team members adopt excellent habits for responding quickly to phone calls, emails, and notes. How? By setting an example. Rather than waiting until you can frame the perfect response, fire off a line or two to let the other person know you haven't fallen off the planet. Let them know that more details are coming, and then follow through on that promise within one business day. For sensitive matters, remember that the human voice is far better than writing. On the phone you can pick up on tone of voice and avoid unnecessary (and time-wasting) misunderstandings or embarrassments.

Earn Respect, Don't Demand It



Inexperienced leaders often make the mistake of taking a hardline, authoritarian approach to their employees. But talking down to people—especially people older than you—tends to breed resentment. It’s far better to seek the expertise of your workers humbly, listen to them, and respect their diverse backgrounds. Ask for their ideas and input. This doesn't mean being a pushover; the decisions still rest with you, and if need be you can remind them of that. But when people feel generally valued in the workplace, they respond with loyalty and hard work. This way, everyone wins.

Give It Some Thought



As a leader, it can be tempting to answer every question and make every decision very hastily. After all, leaders always know what's best, right? Wrong! There is nothing wrong with taking time to think, or with saying so. If you let your staff know that you are weighing and considering your options, you will look a lot more secure in your leadership than someone who just fires off responses nervously. Taking your time projects confidence, allows you to make better decisions, and may save you cleaning up a mess later when your speedy moves backfire.

It's Lonely at the Top—and That's Okay



While approachability is a good quality in a boss, you aren't there to be everyone's friend. The power structure is such that your staff will see each other as colleagues and you as something different—maybe even something that's not always positive. Your task is to understand this without taking it personally. Let them have their fun and joke about you behind your back; you have bigger fish to fry than worrying about that. As long as they are working well and aren't actively trying to undermine your authority, there is nothing wrong. These dynamics are very normal and mostly just help people get through the day. Fulfill your need for friendship outside the workplace, ideally with other business owners and entrepreneurs who understand the unique challenges you face.

As a business owner in charge of staff, it's up to you to set the tone for the workplace, whether that workplace exists in bricks and mortar or via a virtual office. This foundation is extremely important, since everything about your working life will flow from it. Keep it positive, respectful, and communicative, and you will reap the rewards with a working environment that is both efficient and pleasant. Good luck!

Posted on
November 28, 2018
It's an undeniable fact that in business, image is everything. If you're a young company you need to ensure that your image isn't restricting your business. You need to learn how to create an appropriate image and present your image to clients accordingly.

Five Ways to Make Your Small Business Appear a Lot Bigger to Clients

A Bad Website Means Bad Business



Even if you offer the ultimate customer service or have an indispensable new product, if your site is poorly designed and stuffed with terrible content, chances are you will be dismissed with a single click. You must ensure that your site is constantly updated with fresh, interesting content and is professionally designed for ease of navigation and maximum visual impact. If you're concerned with expense, the money you spend will not be lost; your website is today's storefront window with the potential to bring in incredible amounts of profit.

It's All In the Details



The days of monogram note-papers are over, but the principal of personalization remains the same. Pay the extra cash to have a graphic designer work up a logo and template for all your correspondence. If you want to project the image of success, a commonplace email simply won't do. Opening a message from a business and seeing a professionally designed header and footer makes your clients realize they are dealing with an established company, not just someone behind a computer.

Amusing Email Addresses Just Don't Cut It



If you want to create the illusion of being a major company when it's really just you and your mailing list, you may want to consider altering your email address. Chances are that as a small company, you do almost every task yourself but your customer doesn't have to know that. For example, by having a variety of email addresses for the various departments of your company, such as billing and admin, you instantly create the illusion of being a large, fully staffed corporation.

A Virtual Assistant Is Better Than None At All



If you're not yet in a position to have a personal assistant taking messages and routing calls, you can turn to VoIP (Voice over IP) as a low-cost alternative. A unified Internet communication system used by millions in the business world, VoIP bypasses traditional phone companies by supplying clients with a variety of communication services. Even if you or your staff are scattered throughout the city or country, VoIP can greet clients and redirect calls as if you were all cubicles apart.

Tweeting and Liking: The New Business Essentials



Social media has a remarkably huge presence in the everyday lives of millions. As a small business, you would be amiss to ignore the potential of sites like Twitter or Facebook. Creating a strong presence online by gathering followers means greater brand recognition with little or no expense on your part. Using these networks means you can almost constantly keep your clients aware of deals or offers while at the same time creating a progressive image.

In an unforgiving economy, people are looking to deal with companies that they feel they can trust. They want to know that you take your business seriously, that you are both firmly established, and that you’re constantly growing.

Posted on
November 29, 2018
The Social Media landscape is changing rapidly. As 2018 arrives, the world is nearing the midway point in a decade marked by constant internet access through mobile devices and the blurring of 'professional' and grassroots campaigns across a variety of new social platforms. Even the smallest businesses should be compelled to embrace social media marketing in 2018 to maintain relevance, expand their audience, and collect valuable feedback.



It's important to be aware of the biggest social media changes emerging on the eve of the new year. The top trends and technologies gaining ground now will soon be mainstream venues for critical marketing and outreach. By investigating - and even embracing - these trends now, you can make sure your business will be on the cusp of exciting new opportunities in communication and brand management.

Shift Your Focus to Niche Networks



What were once niche platforms like Tumblr and Pinterest are rapidly growing in mainstream popularity, and consequently a slew of big brands are appearing with their own content on these and even smaller platforms. While active monthly users for these platforms are still estimated to be fewer than 100 million, the audience may be critical for your business. As the average age for established platforms like Facebook and Twitter increases, younger users are populating more trendy and 'alternative' social networks. It may not be necessary to create brand new content to gain a presence on these platforms; explore ways to cross-pollinate, using each platform for its respective strengths. For example, both Pinterest and Tumblr are a great place to aggregate images, links and videos that you can link to from Twitter.

Think Beyond Your Borders for a Worldwide Reach



The biggest growth among internet users isn't in North America at all. As growing markets with massive populations like India and China explode into cyberspace, the respective value of Western social media platforms is diminishing. Typically, social networking and media sites do not translate well across borders. In China, for example, the biggest trends are multimedia-messaging apps like WeChat and twitter-esque sites like Tencent Weibo and Sina Weibo. If your business has a global focus, it will be critical to employ content experts in other countries to expand your reach. Due to the cultural - and technological - differences, posting the same content across platforms overseas is not an option, even after translation. The trends, idioms and content strategies that work in Western countries are not the same ones that work in countries like China and Japan. These emerging platforms could also indicate what trends will strike the western world in the coming years, so staying current on the Asian social media scene in particular should be a priority.

Embed Content for More Control



Major media corporations have been eager for years to find ways to bring their content to social media sites without losing control or sacrificing ad revenue. New platforms that specialize in embedded content are giving them that opportunity, and quickly growing as a result. The best example of this is Storify.com, which excels at SEO compatibility and analytics support. Users create and organize content on Storify and then embed it on their own corporate websites, personal blogs or other social networking platforms. This ensures that search engines will pick up and accurately track the content they create, while maintaining the broad-reach advantages of traditional social platforms.

Mix and Match with Multimedia



Multimedia is hardly a new idea, but sites like Vine Videos and Upworthy have spotlighted in recent months how most viral content is not written content. Videos and podcasts also have the advantage of playing in ambient spaces; people watch and listen to content while they work or browse other sites. Posting videos on Vimeo or YouTube also expands your audience, while embedding videos on any blog or social network brings a visible diversity to your content. More than ever, even small businesses are investing in audio and video creation as the most effective way to grow their voice. In the audio space, creators and listeners alike are shifting away from proprietary platforms like iTunes to use sites with built-in social features like SoundCloud.

Content Contests are More Competitive Than Ever



Asking consumers to participate as content creators through contests is an affordable, engaging method of content creation that has exploded in the past two years. Due to its popularity, it's now more competitive than it ever has been. Companies will have to respond in 2018 by offering bigger prizes. Without sufficient incentives, participation will be low as big corporations offering higher stakes draw creative viewers into other contests. Companies will also have to find ways to help users create content easily without losing quality, as more and more events vie for their attention. It's important to get content contests right; nothing looks worse than a fancy contest page with a mediocre prize and no participants.

Don't Forget About a Physical Presence



Having a physical address and traditional contact information like a phone number is still as important as ever, and that's not about to change in 2018. Services offering a virtual office like yourcityoffice.com enable businesses that are otherwise internet-only or inaccessible to traditional communications to gain the same benefits. Not only will it expand your prominence and reach, but it will also strengthen your brand by building trust and legitimacy.

Next year promises to be an important one for social media marketing. Start using these opportunities to post and promote your brand now, and you'll soon find yourself in a prime position to capitalize on the most exciting trends of 2018.

Posted on
November 30, 2018
Even though we are emerging from the last economic slump, beginning a new business is still tough. Customer spending habits have changed and businesses must be prepared to keep pace. Fortunately, the basic principles of establishing a successful business remain the same. Here are four ways to help yourself get set up.

Managing Money: Four Ways to Ensure Your New Business Doesn't Go Broke

Become Part of the Market



Before becoming the star of the industry, you should expect to be a minor player. Familiarize yourself in your market and immerse yourself in it. A great way to gain a foothold is to locate the biggest players in your field and find out what services they fail to provide. Every company focuses on one or two niches and naturally misses out on some opportunities in closely related areas. Even the largest companies struggle to maximize the breadth of their offerings without compromising the depth of their quality. This is where you come in. Find out what services they could use and provide it for them. Show the larger companies how you can be an asset to them and find your footing within the market. It's a great foundation on which to build more exciting projects.

Focus on Your Sales



Capital is the first thing a small business needs. Often, small businesses try to perfect their brand or image before beginning cash transactions. Don't fall into this pitfall. Instead, be confident that your brand will nuance itself as the business progresses. In the meantime, start making sales. Find those leads that could make you money and follow up on them as soon as possible. When you locate clients, ask for up-front deposits on products or services to give yourself some security. Install monthly payment plans for repeat services. In other words, find ways to generate capital immediately.

Know the Figures



Successful businesses know exactly how successful they are. Keep detailed records of the assets you have and of upcoming expenses. This will make the twists and turns of daily business less surprising and prepare you for difficult sacrifices you will have to make eventually. Knowing the figures will give you realistic expectations along with some peace of mind.

In addition, keep records of target revenues. Success is often slow to arrive and it can be frustrating to wait for it. Detailed goal setting can help you remember where you're headed and how fast you can expect to move forward.

Plan With a Grain of Salt



We all know what happens to the best-laid plans: they don't always work out. Despite your rigorous number crunching, your analyses and research, something could always happen to disrupt your business. Instead of panicking, see these times as an opportunity to grow. Re-evaluate often to make sure that you're finding and employing resources in the best manner.

Remember that the ultimate goal is to optimize net profit and be aware that your long range or even short range planning may have to be altered, especially in the early days. Most important of all, be excited about your business. Be confident in what you offer and in the parameters you've set up for operating. The enthusiasm you bring in will make tough times bearable and good times even better.

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