Small Business Resources and The Power of a Virtual Office
Guest blog post by Mike Kawula
Today there are so many small business resources and tools available for small business owners, making it an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. The power of the Internet has made starting a business seamless and chipped away at many of the competitive advantages a larger business might have over small businesses. Technology has lowered the cost, lessened competition and has made providing better customer service easier.
BrickCity Tech Meetup, a vibrant entrepreneurial Newark NJ Meetup group, was visited by Ceo & Co-Founder of Phone.com Ari Rabban. The meeting kicked off with host Anthony Frasier introducing Emily Manz of Brick City Development Corporation who announced the development of co-working space in Newark for entrepreneurs. George Lister, program coordinator of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, shared that starting in August they’ll have many exciting entrepreneurial events leading up to the opening of the co-working space.
Starting the meeting off discussing co-working space tied in nicely with Ari’s message. Co-Work spaces provide virtual offices for entrepreneurs at a fraction of the price of what a traditional office would cost. They typically have many different options available for small business owners like mail services, administrative support, event rooms, conference rooms, Wi-Fi Internet access and much more. One of the largest flexible workspace providers Regus has offices available worldwide with cost ranging from $40 – $400 depending upon your office needs.
Ari shared with this entrepreneurial audience that technology and other developments has made becoming an entrepreneur much easier. Take Phone.com for instance, you can now have an affordable business phone system with call recordings, call screening, extensions, multiple voicemail systems, hold music, conference calls and so much more all for less than $15 a month. A solopreneur can now have an extremely professional image for a fraction of what large corporations pay.
There are countless other examples of how costs have been reduced for those looking at starting a business. Take Stamps.com, you can now have you own small business mailroom on your desktop, eliminating costly machines and wasted space. Cloud accounting software like FreshBooks, has eliminated the pains of invoicing and greatly reduced the number of hours needed to manage a business’s accounting. New business owners can now also legally protect themselves online with companies like CorpNet for a fraction of what lawyers charged in the past. CorpNet even has a new Free cloud based corporate compliance tool that emails you when you need to file taxes, tax deadlines, print documents and many other needed small business requirements that small business owners had to pay accountants for in the past.
Cloud based software has made legal, accounting, phones systems and much more easier for small business owners. Though there are countless other tools that are helping entrepreneurs, one of the best has been in the development of staffing. Companies like Elance have made increasing staff and decreasing during slower times so easy. Elance has over 400 categories of freelancers ready to help business owners. They have programmers, writers, web-design, sales people, bookkeepers and so many other freelancers a small business owner can access within an hour to help them in their business at a fraction of the cost of an employee. Today you can simply jump on Elance and hire an employee for a project or for a long-term employment need, absolutely amazing.
Ari’s message really resonated with the entire room of entrepreneurs of how exciting it is to be an entrepreneur today. He closed though with sharing that regardless of technology, customer service still remains number one today. Phone.com has invested heavily in assuring small business owners have the best experience, something I can surely attest to having used countless other providers that don’t have phone support when a small business owner needs it. Regardless of technology, Small Business Owners need to remember:
“If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”
About The Author, Mike Kawula
Mike Kawula is the Founder of Self Employed King, where they review Digital Products, Online Tools and other Business Resources to help new and existing entrepreneurs navigate the endless resources available. Self Employed King motto: “Before you buy, make sure it’s Koalafied”