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Why start-ups and microbusinesses should consider virtual offices

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According to research group, the Institute for Employment Studies, around half a million people are expected to lose their jobs at the end of the furlough scheme in October. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, we are expecting to see many start-ups, microbusinesses and freelancers emerge as people take the plunge and set up on their own.

June this year saw a surge in new start-ups as a record number of new companies were created during lockdown. A report by the Centre for Entrepreneurs, based on analysis of Companies House data, found that there was a 47% growth of new businesses formed in June, from 52,779 in June 2019 to 77,574 in 2020.

Embarking on your own businesses is exciting but can feel daunting. Depending on the type of business, there are the initial set up costs, and then there is the debate around where you base your business. Long-term office leases aren’t always the best option for new businesses testing the water, so it’s useful to look for more flexible and short-term routes to help your business get off the ground.

Virtual office space is one alternative to an office or co-working and hot-desking facilities, particularly during these uncertain times when you may not feel comfortable being in space with lots of people you don’t know.

Virtual office options allow you to look professional and provide flexibility and affordability to suit your current needs, minus the substantial overheads whilst you work from home in the early days.

What is a virtual office?

Virtual office options enable you to take advantage of having a registered business address, access to meeting rooms, and in most cases, optional add-ons of call forwarding and hot-desking and co-working facilities. Managed workspaces are available in most towns and cities as locations adapt to changing, more flexible working practices.

Having a registered business address, rather than your home address, as well as meeting rooms at your disposal creates the impression that your business is professional and well-established, and therefore more likely to turn leads into clients.   You may even have been trading for a number of months at home and are ready for the next step in your journey.

Flexibility is also a key advantage. Working from home has become the norm during recent times, however, while working from home is more cost-effective, if you haven’t got the right set up or have distractions, maintaining concentration and motivation can be challenging. With a virtual office package, you can benefit from the best of both worlds, by adding on a ‘pop-up’ office, rented by the day when you need it, or by booking a meeting room for a client session.

The University of Huddersfield’s Enterprise Hub is based at the 3M BIC and provides a supportive test-bed for Huddersfield students and graduates looking to set up their own business, many of whom go on to starting in business after University.  Phil Clegg, Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield, said: “We support a diverse range of clients from across the seven schools of the University of Huddersfield. Whilst their start-up ideas are varied, we offer our clients access to impartial support and business advice, introductions to local and national networks, and an environment in which to focus on the realisation of their plans.”

Using 3M BIC as your virtual office

At the 3M BIC, we are on hand to support early stage entrepreneurs, start-ups, microbusinesses and freelancers and now offer the benefits of a ‘virtual office’, through our 3M BIC Membership package.

From £200 + VAT per year, small businesses can benefit from a professional business address, discounted access to meeting rooms and add-on services for call handling post-forwarding and, once re-opened post- Covid 19 restrictions, hot desks in our coworking space.

‘Pop-up’ office space may be rented for exclusive use by the day from £30 + VAT for a two-person office, between 8am to 5pm, bookable up to one month in advance, subject to availability.

For more information about our 3M BIC Membership packages, contact the team on 01484 505601 or e-mail info@3mbic.com. You can also visit www.3mbic.com.

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