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Davinci Virtual Blog



How to Appear More Professional to Your Clients: 5 Ways to Start

Over the course of my career, I’ve had a chance to meet and interview hundreds of executives around the globe from enterprises such as Vodafone, United, BNY Mellon, Ford, Sealed Air, France Telecom, Visa, NASDAQ, Thai Airways, eBay, Barclays, and countless others. One of the key takeaways from these interviews and interactions is the professionalism—the individual executives as well as the companies they represent. Nearly every one of them talked, acted, and dressed their role. Rarely did I meet with one of the executives and leave doubting their professionalism or that of the company they represented.

For solopreneurs and small businesses seeking to gain the professional respect of their clients, the same holds true. Show up to meetings late dressed in blue jeans and a tee-shirt, and you garner a different professional impression than if you arrived a few minutes early wearing business attire. But, of course, this is just one of many ways in which you can appear more professional to your clients. The upside, with the availability of digital technologies and services at your disposal, is that you have any number of tools at your fingertips that can help you convey the first and lasting professional impressions that you want your clients to have.

The following is a list of some of the ways you can make your business look and act like a much larger business:

1. Email Communications.

First impressions count, and you often have a matter of seconds. In this case, you want to ensure that you a use company email suffix (viz., don’t use Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) and have a company email signature. Additionally, you need to write emails that are grammatically correct and represent your brand.

2. Client Meetings.

Client meetings at hotel conference rooms and coffee shops lack the professionalism that you typically want for those types of meetings. Hotel conference rooms are expensive to rent, and there can be surrounding distractions such as noisy guests and meetings in adjacent rooms. Coffee shops are also noisy and have an utter lack of privacy. Instead, for many of your meetings, you need to consider rented conference room space. It is up to half the cost of hotel conference rooms. Plus, rented conference room space such as Davinci Meeting Rooms comes with the presentation tools and technologies, not to mention lobby greeters, needed to facilitate successful client meetings. 

3. Office Address.

The physical address for your business is important. A great business address goes a long way in saying what your business is about. For solopreneurs and small businesses without an office location, virtual office addresses enable you to have an address that makes you look much bigger and exudes the professionalism you want your business to convey. And for businesses looking to expand into new locations, virtual office addresses are an inexpensive and easy way to do so.

4. Receptionist.

Incoming calls from clients need to be answered in real time. Pushing clients to voice mail or having their calls ring directly to your mobile device isn’t the experience you want them to have. Rather, solopreneurs and small businesses can answer incoming calls and even make outbound calls using live receptionists such as Davinci Live Receptionists. This enables you to appear much larger than your actual size.

5. Live Web Chat.

Clients want omnichannel engagement choices, and digital channels such as live web chat and text are quickly becoming preferred options. But few solopreneurs or small businesses have the resources to staff live web chat and text. The good news is that there are other options such as Davinci Live Web Chat, where professional agents proactively engage with clients to answer questions, resolve issues, and close sales.

The digital age has transformed how solopreneurs and small businesses use office space and interact with clients. The emergence of coworking space and rented day offices and conference rooms and the ability to outsource digital engagement services shrinks the gap between large and small businesses and solopreneurs, helping them to appear more professional to their clients.


Why A Virtual Office Is A Smart Move for Your Legal Practice

Running a solo legal practice has its pros and its cons. On the one hand, going solo means that you are able to give clients a more personal treatment and offer more competitive prices; on the other, there are costs and risks associated with running and maintaining a successful solo business. 

Real estate and office costs are usually the main expenses of businesses and freelancers. Whether you are working solo or with a partner, chances are that rent for a traditional office space is quite high and too much of a risk for a small practice. Yet, lawyers know that they can’t have a home address listed on their site and business cards; the same goes for residential or lesser known neighborhoods. In order for lawyers to close client deals they need to portray a professional image at all times, and having a premium address can go a long way when it comes to establishing credibility and professionalism. 

That is one of the main reasons why virtual offices are a smart move for solo lawyers or small legal practices. But the benefits of virtual offices for lawyers go beyond having a renowned address. 

1. Premium address at an affordable price (and flexibility)

The cost of virtual offices is significantly lower than that of traditional space and it helps present a professional image to potential clients. There is also the added benefit that virtual offices can be hired on a month-to-month basis, and they usually require only a few days’ notice if you are going to cancel the service. 

2. Mail and reception services (including live-answering)

Virtual offices often bundle additional services like mail handling and forwarding and reception services. Reception services are particularly important for when you are meeting a client and want them to feel welcome and comfortable. Virtual office staff are trained in hospitality and customer service, which guarantees that you and your clients will receive amazing treatment at all times. Moreover, virtual offices also offer the option of having a live-answering service, meaning that someone can take your calls and messages and forward them to you if you are unable to take the call. 

3. Fully equipped offices and meeting rooms

For those days when you need to ‘go into the office’ or meet with someone, virtual offices are designed to have members come in, plug, and get to work immediately. Additionally, these offices integrate cutting-edge-technology including cloud storage, A/V platforms, VoIP numbers, SaaS, and secure network connection. Again, all of this helps create an image of professionalism which clients seek in their legal representatives. 

4. Community (referrals)

Individuals in different lines of work benefit daily from the use of virtual offices. As an independent lawyer, you likely enjoy the possibility of working from home several days a week; however, there are always times when you will need to go into the office--to meet with clients, pick up mail, or simply to be more productive. Interacting with other virtual office users will help you expand your network and find new business opportunities; community plays a strong role in the development of relationships, both personal and professional, and individuals are more likely to trust you with their legal matters if they’ve had previous interactions and encounters with you. 

In the end, virtual offices are a strategic move to help position your independent legal practice while lowering your expenses and maintaining your professional presence.


8 Myths About Virtual Office Spaces & Why It’s Time to Put Them to Rest

Today, we debunk eight common myths about virtual offices and prove just how feasible they can be.

Myth #1: Virtual Offices Are Expensive

The truth is, businesses can often save thousands by setting up remote employees with a virtual office space and downsizing from their current space, while those that work from home can gain much from the services offered by virtual offices, many of which come complimentary, like onsite high speed internet, lobby greeter services, and use of the office kitchenette.

Myth #2: Virtual Offices Don’t Have What You Need

In reality, virtual offices represent the most flexible way to work while providing them with the services they need, when they need it. It’s just a matter of finding the best virtual office services for your specific business requirements.

Myth #3: Virtual Offices Are Security Risks

Virtual offices are as safe as any other option. Much like a traditional office, virtual offices these days use secure connections. Choose one that does. They’re doing everything they can do to keep your information safe. The rest is up to you, and how security-savvy you personally are. 

Myth #4: Arranging a Virtual Office Is a Hassle

Setting up a virtual office space, unlike signing a lease on a traditional office, is straightforward and simple. Most virtual offices are rented on an on-demand basis, meaning there’s no long-term contract. You use the office for what you need, and only pay for what you use, so signing up is easy.

Myth #5: Virtual Offices Disrupt Communication

Digital communication has made the world a lot smaller: 20 years ago, working from home would preclude most forms of collaboration—telephones and faxes constituted the best options that technology had to offer. The intervening decades have changed that with instant messaging services, live web chats, and documents that feature live updating, all of which enable real-time collaboration. Working from a virtual office can, in fact, provide an employee with a productive space to communicate and collaborate with the team. 

Myth #6: Virtual Office-Based Professionals Are Less Productive

Managers have been afraid for years that if an employee isn’t present and accounted for in the office, they aren’t doing their job. Much to the contrary, engagement rates in the office have been slipping, while those who work remotely have seen an increase in productivity, and employee satisfaction.

Myth #7: Companies Without a Physical Location Can’t Be Trusted by Customers

While it’s true that customers and clients can be suspicious of businesses whose primary address is residential, using a virtual office eliminates this shortcoming. Virtual office lobbies provide you with a professional mailing address, rentable meeting and office space, and even an area that provides professionalism and reputability. Meanwhile, you can work from home when you want, and only pay for the office time you use.

Myth #8: All Virtual Offices Are Alike

Like any other service, there is a spectrum of quality and level of service. Some provide you with only the bare minimum, while others offer a more comprehensive suite of amenities and features, to ensure you have everything you need. Do your research to determine what features and services you need, and then find something that fits in your price range. 

While there are many misconceptions, few hold any real weight. Virtual offices are a productive alternative both to working from home and working in the office, at a fraction of the cost of leasing your own office space.

Interested in learning more? Contact Davinci Virtual Office Solutions today and find out more about our locations and services.


Workplace of the Future: 10 Tips for Preparing Your Business for The Future

Today’s workplace looks much different than it did a few years ago. There are various factors driving this change. Demographics certainly are playing a role. Over 50 percent of the U.S. workforce is comprised of Millennials today, a number that will grow to approximately 75 percent in 2025. These workers look for employers that foster collaborative, inclusive workplaces. And while they value the time they spend with other workers when they are in the office, they also seek flexibility, with nearly 75 percent indicating they look for employers with work from home and work remote policies. 

These expectations are changing the dynamics of the workplace. Companies that remain tethered to the workplace of the past put their very businesses at risk. Unable to recruit and retain the best workers, improve productivity, and facilitate collaboration and ideation, they will slowly wither, struggling to compete in a business landscape that bypassed them. 

The good news for solopreneurs and small businesses is that the workplace of the future places them on even footing with much larger businesses. Yet, to prepare themselves, they need to understand the implications and what they must do to prepare for it. Following are 10 areas that organizations need to heed when embracing the workplace of the future: 

1. Where You Work

There is a “sheep” mentality among some leaders in the business space (one does it, generates publicity, and others follow suit), and numerous companies jumped on the bandwagon of prohibiting remote workers when Marisa Meyer banned remote workers at Yahoo after being hired as CEO. I even know of one well-known technology company that began taking “roll” at 9 AM and 5 PM each day to ensure their workers were at their desks at the beginning and end of the day. 

But the reality is that many companies concluded this policy simply wasn’t for them. Offering flexibility gives them the ability to recruit—and retain—workers who they simply couldn’t attract. Data also shows workers with flexibility and those that work remote perform better—from collaboration, to working more hours, to delivering better business outcomes.

2. When You Work

Before the arrival of the 20th century, the 40-hour work week was not the norm. Previously, companies often subjected their workers to 12-hour workdays and expected them to work six or seven days a week. Henry Ford was one of the first to introduce the 8-hour workday, a decision that proved successful in terms of both productivity and profitability. And the 40-hour work week largely remained the norm for the next century.

However, with the advent of technologies, a deconstruction between work and personal lives took place. Many workers can sit at their desks for eight-straight hours and accomplish very little. Measuring whether someone’s butt is in a seat is an arbitrary—and often inaccurate—measurement. Indeed, neurological analysis shows that the brain is capable of deep concentration and focus for only two hours. Further, peak productivity is different for everyone—some wake up at 5 a.m. and do their best work before 10 a.m., whereas others may do their best work in the evening hours. Requiring employees to be in the office and at their desks from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is not only antiquated but counterproductive to the success of the business.

3. Expansion to New Locations

Organizations tied to the workplace of the past find it difficult to growing their businesses. This is particularly true for small businesses that lack the capital to acquire and maintain permanent offices in new locations. Instead, they can tap virtual office addresses and leverage coworking spaces, day offices, and rented meeting spaces that help them to expand quickly and cost-effectively. 

4. On-Demand Office and Meeting Space

While some solopreneurs and businesses require permanent office space, many do not. On-demand coworking space, day offices, and rented meeting rooms are a much better option—from cost, to the opportunity to collaborate and interact with other businesses, to professional environments with the latest technologies and top-notch business services. 

5. Network of Alternative Work Spaces

Sometimes, workers simply cannot come into the office—whether it is a permanent location or a coworking space or rented day office. Poor city planning and civic irresponsibility has led cities where work commutes take three or four hours a day. Making that commute five days each week simply isn’t feasible. Workers also have family and personal commitments, particularly when both spouses work, requiring them to take children to school or an elderly parent to the doctor.

And while some may simply work from the home office, this isn’t always possible. Here, businesses need a network of alternative work spaces. These may be coworking spaces or a rented day offices. 

6. A New Culture

Culture is a critical linchpin for any business. For businesses seeking to embrace a workplace of the future, they must redefine their company culture. “Where” and “when” work is performed is no longer connected with an actual physical location and a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. Further, performance—and getting work done—becomes how workers are measured. Businesses also need to establish ground rules when to meeting attendance—when workers should attend in person versus virtually.

7. Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Workers find themselves struggling to maintain their personal lives as technology encroaches on their work-life balance. Eleven percent of workers in the U.S. say they work more than 50 hours a week. Thirty-three percent indicate they work on the weekends and holidays. Research shows there is a direct correlation between workers who lose a balance between work and life and their productivity and retention rates. In this case, businesses that embrace the workplace of the future need to ensure that their company culture and performance expectations account for worker work-life balance. 

8. Recruiting and Retaining Workers

The workplace of future enables businesses to attract higher quality talent and to retain them longer. Workers want to work for companies with cultures that promote collaboration and openness. It should come as no surprise that many businesses with permanent office space are re-architecting it to remove communication barriers and tear down hierarchical organizational structures. For businesses using on-demand offices, coworking space is an enabler of the new workplace. 

9. Partner-Customer Meetings

Small businesses with permanent offices often find their office location and space less than compelling. Their partners and customers concur when they attend on-site meetings. But for businesses relying on on-demand workspace, this is no longer a problem. Rented conference rooms come with the latest technologies as well as business services such as a lobby greeter, audio and video conferencing, and catering to add the professionalism every business needs. 

10. Technology as an Enabler

To take fully advantage of the new workplace, businesses must have the right complement of technology tools in place. I recently spelled out seven technological tool areas that businesses need to leverage to be success—from team chat and conferencing services to project management and productivity tools. The importance of these vary based on business requirements.

Just as many businesses refused to embrace the new work week during Henry Ford’s day, some businesses today will remain steadfast in adhering to past concepts of the workplace. They also will find themselves extinct unless they change. For solopreneurs and small businesses, the turn to the workplace of the future is much easier and faster than larger counterparts. The time to reap the advantages—including the competitive opportunities—is now.


How to Be More Productive with a Virtual Assistant

If your schedule is wall to wall with no end in sight, it may be time to consider a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants drive up your productivity and can make you look like a rock star with your clients or employers by removing the low-value tasks that drain your time and creativity.

Call them what you want—a virtual assistant, a virtual secretary, a virtual administrator, or a VA, these faithful workers work like a secret weapon in your business war chest. They can help you battle for your time, ward off productivity killers and otherwise guard your ability to press through to the end of time-sensitive projects.

Concerned about missing important calls while on the road? A virtual assistant can answer your calls for you when you are in a meeting or otherwise unavailable—and screen calls when you have your head down into a project. Virtual assistants can block and tackle distractions so you can keep your eyes on the prize. They can even schedule appointments with clients and answer questions while you may be occupied with othe clients.

The key to driving productivity with a virtual assistant is to let go—really let go. The temptation is to hold tight to tasks you’ve been performing for many years because it seems easier to do it yourself. If you are control freak, you need to change your mindset and consider your quality of life and your long-term success. Refusing to let go leads to burnout. 

The “it’s easier for me to do it myself” mindset hinders your productivity—and your virtual assistant’s efficacy. Sure, it may take more time in the beginning to train someone how you want tasks handled—but it’s worth it in the long-run—and it may be the only way you can dig out of the hole in which you find yourself. 

Realize no one you hire will do things exactly like you because they are not you. But consider this practical wisdom: Give your virtual assistant some flexibility to accomplish a task in a new way. Who knows? It may even be a more efficient way than you’ve done it.  

Write down everything you do in a day that someone else could do—then hand it off. That list may include business administration tasks, scheduling appointments, and even handling personal issues like booking your next vacation. 

It may take you a few weeks to truly let go, especially if you have been doing everything yourself for many years, but when your mind is freed up from the mundane, creativity—and productivity—abounds.

 Interested in learning more? Click here to contact us now! 

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