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Davinci Virtual Blog

ALL THE NEWS THAT’S NEW WITH DAVINCI

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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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Virtual Office Solutions: The Advantages of a Virtual Office, & Why It Beats Plain Ol’ Home Offices

For many entrepreneurs and startups, working from your home office is just the way you get business done. But virtual offices are quickly becoming a viable alternative; with locations becoming more widespread, and offering many of the benefits of a physical office space without the high price tag, entrepreneurs are transitioning to them in droves. A virtual office may not be for everyone, however, so here are some of the the pros and cons of a virtual office vs. home office, and why a virtual office is usually the smarter choice.  

What is a Virtual Office?

With the rise of telecommuting and work-from-home jobs, practically everyone now is familiar with the home office. It’s a fairly simple concept: rather than driving into the office to work with the team, you dedicate a part of your home to your professional life, and you connect with your team via email, instant messaging, video calls, and so on. 

A virtual office is the best of both worlds. It offers you the freedom to use office space without being tethered to it. In a traditional office, you’re paying for everything—the lease, the power bill, the heating, the internet, the phone and fax lines, the furniture. Meanwhile, working in a home office lacks a certain feeling of legitimacy, and customers can’t visit you at your place of business, or send you mail very easily. 

With a virtual office, you get access to offices that are furnished with desks, chairs, internet, office equipment, or fully serviced meeting rooms and most importantly - a physical address that can receive mail and that you can use as your location of business. The space is rented out on an “as needed” basis—to small businesses, entrepreneurs, consultants, and anyone else who don’t need a full-time, dedicated office space. 

Renters only pay for what they use; office space can often be rented in increments as small as an hour, and as large as a month. They rent conference rooms when they need a larger meeting space. They use the internet provided by the virtual office. They have a secure location for mail to be delivered, and a unique address they can put on business cards that helps them apply for professional licenses and get listed on business directories. Many virtual offices even have live receptionists (should be “lobby greeters” or “reception staff”) who can greet clients, take calls, and forward communications on to the renter’s cell phone. 

With a virtual office, you don’t have to use permanent office space if you don’t need to, and you don’t pay for what you don’t use. Work from home, or anywhere in the world, and only come to the office location when you really need to. Let the receptionist field calls for you, and either take messages or forward the calls on to you. For businesses or telecommuters who need a physical address, but don’t need to use it everyday, it can be the perfect solution.

In fact, people working remotely is on the rise, and they’re working from home for longer periods of time—a 2017 Gallup survey revealed that 31% of remote workers work out of the office for 3-4 days a week. The survey also found that this group of people (those who were only in the office 1 or 2 days out of the week, as opposed to in the office all week or working completely remotely) reported the highest rates of engagement with their jobs. According to Gallup, the “sweet spot” is when employees do most of their work remotely, and come into the office only once or twice a week. 

The Pros & Cons of Virtual Offices

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons of using a virtual office, then compare it to using a home office. 

Virtual Office Pros 

• Virtual business address: virtual offices offer you the physical address you need to legitimize your business, secure licenses and registration for professional organizations, and put yourself in business listings.

• Prestige: virtual offices are frequently located in upscale areas, meaning you don’t have to feel embarrassed about having a rundown office in a sketchy neighborhood, or about inviting clients to your home address.

• Virtual Mailing Address: virtual offices offer you a professional, safe location for mail and parcels to be dropped off and signed for; for forms and documents, mail can even be scanned and uploaded to the cloud by the live receptionist, making them accessible no matter where you are when it arrives.

• Office space on-demand: access to work and meeting space on-demand—fully equipped and serviced, professional workspace that you only pay for when you use it, not when you don’t.

• Virtual assistant: some virtual office services come with a virtual assistant; it’s like having a receptionist who works just for you, managing calls and day-to-day tasks, all without having to hire someone or provide them office space.

• Market presence: virtual offices can help you establish a foothold in new markets, giving you a local address and phone number, without having to buy or rent a physical location full-time.

• Use as much as you need: your needs for physical space may expand and contract over time, and a virtual office is perfect for that; use as much as you need, for as long as you need it, and scale up or down as the situation requires—all while only paying for what you use.

• Easy set-up: you don’t have to remodel a space, buy furniture, or set up utilities—all of that is taken care of for you.

• Less expensive: using a virtual office means no long-term lease, no expensive overhead, no oversized rent bill—you only pay a usage fee for the space you need.

Virtual Office Cons

• More expensive than a home office, but still much more affordable than leasing or buying office space.

• Some businesses have to have a dedicated space, like auto repair shops, medical clinics, and larger companies.

• Not every business needs office space outside the home; some are 100% virtual, and never deal with clients or customers directly.

The Pros & Cons of Home Offices

Working entirely from a home office has its own benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few of the pros and cons of setting up shop in your living room or garage.

Home Office Pros

• Low cost: you’re already paying for the place.

• Schedule flexibility: you don’t have to compete with anyone for available space.

• No commute.

• No shirt, no shoes, no problem.

• The comforts of home.

• It’s your space, you can do what you want with it.

• Ability to collaborate virtually with partners, freelancers, clients, employees, etc.

Home Office Cons

• Can cause distractions (family, pets, TV, the list goes on).

• Unprofessional in many circumstances.

• No private life/professional life segregation.

• Unsafe—in some circumstances—to give out your office address.

• Harder to get business listings, licensing, etc.

• Limited space to grow.

Questions to Ask Yourself

As you consider the pros and cons of using virtual office space or sticking with a home office, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

• Is staying in your home office part of your long-term plan?

• Do you need to rent out office space to conduct business in any way? 

• How often do I need to have access to professional office space to entertain clients or present to investors? 

• Do I prefer to keep my professional life separate from my personal life?

• Is there enough room at your home office to facilitate growth?

• What are your competitors doing?

• Are the services you offer 100% “virtual?” Or do they require at least some use of office space? 

For most, the benefits of meeting and workspace on-demand that is equipped for the purpose and the amenities of a virtual office make it a clear choice—it’s time to grow out of your home office.  

If you think a virtual office might be a perfect fit for your business, and you want to learn more about how it works, visit Davinci Virtual Office Solutions. We have 1,500 virtual office locations and 5,000 on-demand meeting and workspaces around the globe, conveniently located to meet your needs. 

Contact us today, and start the process of advancing your business to the next level.

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Live Virtual Receptionists: A Look At What They Do & The Benefits of Hiring A Receptionist

Being self-employed or running your own business isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes the workload can feel overwhelming, and you can’t always afford to pay for an extra set of helping hands. When there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the work, and not enough money in the budget for the help you need, what’s a hard-working entrepreneur to do?

Well, we have good news for all those fiscally conflicted independent businessmen and women out there. You can get the help you need for a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. The key is knowing what level of help you need, whether you need someone to answer phone calls and set appointments, or you need something a little more involved. 

To help with that, this post will discuss your two main options, how they differ, and how to know which one you need. 

Live Virtual Receptionists

Virtual receptionists (sometimes called “live receptionists,” or “live virtual receptionists”) are like regular receptionists. They answer, screen, and forward phone calls, take messages, set appointments, send out appointment reminders, and occasionally supply customer service to limited degrees. In other words, they fill all the functions of your average receptionist. They just do it via telecommuting.

Working remotely, the live receptionist takes your calls and forwards them to whatever number you’d like. They provide a professional face (or voice) for your company and help ensure that you never miss a call, or a customer. They’re trained to answer questions regarding your industry, and you only pay for time they actually spend on the phone. That way, you keep your costs minimal, while maximizing your business’s professionalism.

Premium Services

Premium live receptionists services (sometimes called virtual assistants) take things a step further. Still working remotely, they offer a more comprehensive suite of administrative services and tend to be dedicated to a particular company, rather than serving a dozen at the same time. Among the benefits of premium live virtual receptionist services are:

• Answer calls and take messages

• Make outbound cold calls

• Manage your schedule

• Order processing

• Answer emails

• Manage social media accounts

• Make purchases and pay bills

• Bookkeeping

• Data management

• Customer care

• Make lodging and transportation arrangements for travel

And more

Because it’s an increased level of service, you usually have to pay extra for premium live virtual receptionists. For many businesses, though, the help with the workload, the increased efficiency, and the peace of mind is worth that cost.

Choosing One for Your Business

Knowing which service to use for your business depends on understanding your needs. If you’re a freelancer who has most of the paperwork in hand but struggles to make sure to catch calls as they come in, then basic virtual receptionist services would probably be a good fit. If, however, you tend to get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business, and need someone to go behind you and cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s, then you may be better served by opting in on a premium plan.

What Davinci Offers

At Davinci Virtual Office, we offer both basic and premium services as part of the virtual office package. If you’re looking for a straightforward live virtual receptionist, our business plans will cover that service, and provide you with a qualified virtual employee to help you handle inbound calls.

If you need some more involved assistance, our premium plans offer coverage of a wider set of functions, and will help you stay organized and productive. If you’re having a hard time deciding, we can help you determine what your needs are, and help you pick a plan that works for you. If you have any questions about what services a live virtual receptionist can provide, contact Davinci Virtual Office Solutions today.

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How A Virtual Office Can Help Ease Your Growing Pains

Solopreneurs and small business owners are busy. Unlike many larger businesses that remain shackled to the concept of the permanent office space, many no longer see permanent offices as a business requisite. Instead, solopreneurs are embracing virtual addresses and offices, which give them an agile and cost-effective option for growing their businesses. 

Business professionals who remain tethered to the idea of the 9-to-5 workday and a permanent office location are dinosaurs. Arbitrary 9-to-5 models assume workers are more productive sitting—and monitored—at a fixed desk. But the data indicates otherwise. 

68% of small business professionals indicate their teams are more productive when they are given flexible work hours. Almost half would take a lower paying job to work remotely (I have). The reality is that we live in a digital age where the divide between professional and personal lives has closed. As an example, substantial numbers of professional women and men say they prefer to do work at night—44% and 37%, respectively—and the majority report regularly working outside of the 9-to-5 timeframe. 

For solopreneurs and small business owners thinking about securing a permanent, fixed office space, think again. Getting stuck with a permanent office that comes with long-term sunk costs is the last thing you want to do in today’s digital age. Virtual offices give you the flexibility to work on demand, regardless of your location, and to schedule external and internal meetings in professional settings and to deliver the types of customer, partner, and employee experiences commensurate with your brand. Following are some of the most prevalent use cases for solopreneurs and small businesses: 

1. Temporary Office Space.

Sometimes solopreneurs and small business leaders need temporary office space. The upside is that there are numerous options such as day offices for the business professional who needs focused time alone in an office space and coworking spaces that facilitate collaborative conversations with other members of your team or simply other businesses sharing the coworking space. 

2. Virtual Address. First impressions count.

Virtual addresses enable solopreneurs and small businesses to list professional addresses in highly desirable locations, allowing them to look just like much larger businesses that can afford permanent office space. 

3. Expansion, Multiple Locations.

For businesses seeking to expand into new locations or solopreneurs and businesses that are on the road and require office or meeting space in multiple locations, virtual offices have you covered. 

4. Customer or Partner Meetings.

Virtual offices offer solopreneurs and small businesses the chance to secure meeting rooms, along with technological tools such as whiteboards, video conferencing, etc. and services such as lobby greeters and administrative support, that give customers and partners great experiences representative of their brands. These on-demand conference rooms provide the level of flexibility solopreneurs and small businesses demand. 

5. Employee Meetings.

For small businesses, coworking space and coffee shops simply don’t provide the right venue for all employee meetings (e.g., staff meetings, all-hands meetings, off-site meetings). In these instances, they can look to rented conference rooms and the various services and technology tools that come with them.

6. Employee Engagement and Recruitment.

Flexibility in terms of where and when they perform work is cited by workers as an important priority for them. Over three-quarters of employers say having a flexible work environment has a big impact on their ability to hire. With nearly half of employees saying they would take less money in exchange for greater workplace flexibility, businesses need to take notice; those that fail to do so will find their workers are less engaged and productivity than competitors that offer workplace flexibility and have greater difficulty retaining and recruiting top-tier workers.

 

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Are Virtual Office Services Right for Your Small Business?

It used to be that being self-employed or running a small business meant being caught in the frustrating limbo between working from a home office and renting an expensive office space that doesn’t see full-time use. With the advent of virtual offices, there’s finally a solution to this problem that offers the best of both worlds.

It may not be the right solution for every business, however, as some businesses need a dedicated space, and some are content with the home office. For those who need a home away from home office, though, the benefits of a virtual office can be numerous. This article takes a closer look at what virtual offices are, and whether using one will benefit your small business.

What Are Virtual Office Solutions?

Virtual offices are rentable, temporary offices and suites. It’s a service provided by some companies to entrepreneurs who need an office or meeting space occasionally, but not all the time. 

The provider owns and operates a large space that’s divided into separate functional spaces for different businesses to use. These areas include private offices, semi-private colocated workspaces, and meeting/conference rooms. Depending on the provider, these can be rented for time periods as short as a quarter-hour, to as long as a month, according to the renter’s need. These spaces are furnished and equipped with internet, so there’s no setup cost for the renter. All they do is rent the space, and use it as they need.

That’s not all virtual offices are, though. Here are some amenities that frequently accompany the offices to help facilitate productivity:

  • • A virtual assistant for each business
  • • Front desk receptionists
  • • Call forwarding to entrepreneur’s phone
  • • Fully equipped fax machines and printers
  • • Fully functional kitchenettes
  • • A physical mailing address for each business, which can be used to receive mail or to apply for licenses and the like
  • • And more, depending on location

 

 What Are the Benefits?

There are a number of reasons that a small business might want to use a virtual office. It offers many of the same benefits of a normal office, while avoiding most of the drawbacks. The benefits include:

  • • Avoiding the distractions of working from home (family, visits from friends, TV, pets, housework, etc.)
  • • Reliable internet, often at faster speeds than what you have at home.
  • • A live virtual receptionist, to help you stay organized and on top of tasks.
  • • A real physical business address in a prestigious location, which can be used for business cards, mail correspondence, acquiring licenses, and meetings with clients and investors.
  • • Professional receptionists and a waiting area.
  • • The freedom to scale up or scale down as needed.
  • • The ability to expand to new markets by using a local address and phone number.
  • • An inexpensive alternative to leasing a full-time office.

 

You can probably see why so many startups and small businesses are jumping on the virtual office bandwagon, as it offers what an ordinary office would, but at a fraction of the cost.

What Are the Drawbacks?

  • • There’s a commute when you use the office space (though usually much less than for a normal office).
  • • It’s more expensive than working from home (but only by a little).
  • • You can’t necessarily wear PJ’s and slippers to work.
  • • You sometimes have to compete for office space (though there’s almost always plenty to go around).
  • • You usually have to bring your own device (if you don’t have one that’s dedicated to work, keep in mind that getting one for that purpose is a tax write-off).
  • • You won’t have your cat to keep you company (but they’re also not going to be sitting on your keyboard, so maybe you break even).
  • • You can’t use the office space for industrial activities (like auto repair or manufacturing for obvious reasons)

 

All in all, it’s still a solid option for those whose business requires them to get out of the house every now again, or to meet with people in a professional location. 

Want to learn more? Contact us today and book your virtual office!

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