Your company’s address used to be one of the defining factors in how successful your business would be. If you were based in a prime location you could rely on higher footfall or the prestige of being based in a thriving commercial district.
However in this new globalised world, where a great deal of business is done over the internet or with people on the other side of the world, is being based in a prime location still as important? The answer to this lies very much in the type of business you run.
Technology Gives Us Freedom
It’s true that for many businesses there may not even be a need for an office space of any kind. Virtual offices can give us a physical address and developments in VoIP connectivity means we can be reached by colleagues and clients wherever we are in the world. We also have access to instant messaging, online chat, screen share and even video conferencing so business meetings can be arranged virtually over long distances.
If customers need to reach out to us for support, whether technical or otherwise, it’s now easy to offer a range of ways for them to contact us. Even pre-sales conversations can be offered at the click of a button with ‘click to call’ options able to be embedded on websites, in online advertising and even within emails.
A New Way of Working
Cloud computing enables us to access our files from anywhere and to collaborate with other members of staff wherever they are based. This has led to a rise in the use of freelancers and crowdsourcing for many skills such as web development; customer support; graphic design; translation; or any skill needed on a project by project basis. This has led to a decline in the office space needed for full-time employees as many contractors will work from home or will only need to check in to the office occasionally and therefore hot-desking proves sufficient.
Keeps Costs Down
A virtual office space, fewer overheads and a decline in the use of full-time permanent staff helps to drive costs down and this can prove a great model for many businesses, especially when they are in the start-up phase and cash flow is vital for survival.
Stability and Trust
However, while all this is true it doesn’t mean that having a business address in a prime location doesn’t still offer a distinct advantage. For many clients being able to visit a brick and mortar office will instil a level of trust which might not be present if meetings were only held virtually. A prestigious address also reinforces that a business is thriving and therefore makes it easier to win over new clients. If your business is one which relies heavily on face-to-face meetings, both in the pre-sales stage and as the business partnership develops, then having a home base can be a distinct advantage.
For your core employees working in nice surroundings in an easily accessible location can also be a boost to employee satisfaction. While some people prefer to work from home many others enjoy a thriving team environment. It is often easier to increase employee engagement when you can connect daily with staff and motivate them to sustain productivity. If you are dealing with sensitive or confidential information it’s also helpful to discuss matters face to face.
Many businesses have found a balance between the flexibility of virtual working and the advantages of a business location by opting for a serviced office. This offers a prestigious address in a prime location; it includes infrastructure and support services; it’s a great environment for employees to work in; and it offers a place to meet with clients and win that all-important new business.
Whilst it’s true that your location isn’t as important as it once was, when your business relies heavily on connecting with clients it offers a key advantage. If you look to the blue chip companies it is clear they still recognise the importance of location to give them a competitive edge.
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by Sintra Consulting