Davinci Virtual Blog



Survey: Virtual Offices Offer Competitive Advantage

More businesses are tapping into virtual offices to help them reign in costs. So says a new financial study from the Office Business Center Association International.

The OBCAI survey found that virtual offices offer everything small business owners and entrepreneurs need to conduct business in a professional setting from a permanent mailing address and phone number to call answering services and administrative support to on-demand meeting rooms and various other business services. What’s more, the survey found that virtual offices provide all this for a fraction of the cost of a full-time office space—and do so without harming productivity or image.

"Coworking or virtual space has been the largest growth component of our industry over the past five years,” says Carolina Rendeiro, president of OBCAI. “Most noticeably during the past two years of the global economic downturn; it was the ideal solution for start-ups and companies right-sizing. The virtual office provided a great ROI for these groups, and in turn, for the office business center."

Rendeiro is pointing to numbers that show 18.3 percent virtual office growth in 2009 compared to 7.8 percent growth in 2008. OBCAI credits the impact of the late 2007 recession on businesses, a shift in workplace habits and preferences, as well as the growth of inexpensive enabling technologies, with driving the uptick.

Davinci Virtual Office Solutions helped OBCAI with some statistics. Our virtual working data show that more than two-thirds of U.S. workers are engaged in some virtual work, 46 percent engage in virtual work at least once a week and 14 percent do so daily. The vast majority (91 percent) agree that virtual work saves their companies time and money.
OBCAI also came to some additional conclusions:

  • For years virtual office clients were typically small companies needing a professional front face to appear larger with a business address and receptionist to answer their calls. After the economic downturn the concept's appeal gained ground for business professionals.

  • While the virtual office concept is nothing new, its current application is. Today, the virtual office is the workplace of choice for a number of forward thinking business people.

  • The greatest benefit, especially in the current market environment, is that there is zero out-of-pocket expense and no risk or variable costs involved, including administrative support that's flexible with business needs.


How Your Small Business Should Deal With Late Payments

If your small business has been open any length of time, you’ve already had to face the unfortunate reality of late payments—or no payment at all.

About 40 percent of firms the National Federation of Independent Businesses Surveyed say receivables—money the are owed—is coming in late. That can cause plenty of pain for a small business owners that depends on regular cash flow to keep the ship afloat.

So how you can you deal with late paying clients? You can get proactive up front, and also follow up  with penalties on the back end, to discourage clients from paying late. Here are a few tips:

1. Be crystal clear about terms.
Be sure to spell out your payment terms on your invoice and other related paperwork, such as contracts, estimates, statements of work, etc.  If you expect a deposit up front, make it clear. If you need to be paid in increments, print it out. If you need payments within 30 days, say so. Put it in writing.

2.Charge interest for late payments.
You can put a note on all your invoices that late payments will be assessed interest at the current bank rates. In this case, the payment would be due within 30 days of billing in order to avoid the late charge.

3. Offer an early bird discount.
Offer to take 5 percent of the cost off of the project for paying on time. This is the opposite approach to charging late fees, but it can be an incentive for clients to pay early.

4. Know who to invoice.
It’s not always the best route to invoice the actual person at the client company with whom you work. You need a contact in accounts payable to be sure your invoice is landing in the hands of someone who can actually cut a check.

5. When the payment is late…
Don’t wait more than three days to reach out and inquire about the payment.

6. Contact an attorney.
Pre-paid legal services typically allow you to get an attorney to write a demand letter for free as part of a small monthly fee to the firm. The fee can range from $15 to $30 and can also come in handy for reviewing contracts and other small business services that come as part of the subscription package.

Check out this YouTube video for more tips on dealing with late payments:


Career Approval Comes From Within

Most people look for approval from the outside. They want to feel good about their choices and career path. They want validation that they are doing the right things at the right time and are being understood and respected for their decisions. After all, who doesn't want to hear the sound of applause or cheers due to their efforts? The truth is approval makes us feel better about ourselves.

Approval becomes a problem when you need it too much. Or, when it holds you back because you can't move forward without it. Many people believe approval means they are loved and accepted; words that make them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

True approval comes from you; your inside opinion and view of what you are doing and where you are headed. Outside views may give you validation, but inside approval gives you peace, calm, and a sense of direction.

So how do you give yourself career approval? Follow these 3 steps:

1. Ask Yourself What Would Make You Happy In Your Career

Write your answer down. List the duties you wish you were performing. The environment you wish you were working in. The boss and co-workers you wish you would have. The best location and the amount of money you want to make. Your goal is to get your thoughts out of your head and down on paper. This way you can clearly see your thoughts, and once you can see them, you can do something with them.  Do not screen or talk yourself out of your ideas as you write. What would make you happy is inside you. You just need to open the cage door so it can get out.

2. Listen To Your Answer

The pathway to a fulfilling career is when you listen to yourself. Think back to a time in your career when you did listen. Did things work out well? I have a feeling the answer is yes. Now, recall a time when you did not listen to your inner voice. I bet things worked out differently. No matter what messages you've heard when you were younger, or now as an adult, they are just someone's opinion. People have their own perspectives and experiences and we can learn from them. Sometimes someone's words of wisdom can be very helpful in our journey to a great career. But ultimately the person you need to listen to is yourself. You won't be happy in your career until you do.

3. Expect To Be Misunderstood

This way, it won't surprise you. I know it's hard when you are going after a goal and people don't approve of what you are doing. Or, they don't give you the support and reinforcement you need to achieve it. The people in your life mean a lot to you, and their words of encouragement can make a difference. But if you are waiting until everyone rallies behind you before you act, you may be waiting a long time. I believe that the people in our lives mean well and usually do come from a good place when giving advice. But, they are not you. They don't have the same dreams as you, and as a result, may not understand them. When you expect that not everyone will understand you, then you can learn to rely on yourself. And when you have those moments of doubt, (we all do) you can rely on the person who knows you best, and that person is you.

Getting approval from yourself takes courage and I know you have that courage in you. Good luck.

So, what do you say? You only have one life to live, so it might as well be a life you love!

Check out this video on creating life boards"

Deborah Brown-Volkman, PCC, is president of Surpass Your Dreams, a career, life, and mentor coaching company, and author of "Coach Yourself To A New Career," "Don't Blow It! The Right Words For The Right Job" and "How To Feel Great At Work Everyday."

Listen, Entrepreneurs: Here’s How to Find Funding…


Dealing With the Realities of Workplace Bullying

Did you ever have to deal with a schoolyard bully? If so, then you probably have bad memories of the taunting and teasing. Now that you are all grown up, though, bullies are a thing of the past—or are they?

Workplace Options recently conducted a survey that reveals bullies are alive and well—in the workplace! Indeed, 47 percent of workers say they have witnessed, or know someone who has been a victim of workplace bullying. What’s more, 31 percent say they have personally been a victim of bullying in the office.

What is workplace bullying? In many ways, it’s much like the bullying you remember from the schoolyard. The simplest definition is when individuals or groups use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate.

Workplace bullying may manifest as verbal, non-verbal, psychological or physical abuse and humiliation. According to the survey, 38 percent of respondents feel verbal abuse, including disrespect and malicious rumors, is the most debilitating form of bullying in the workplace, followed closely by harassment from superiors, at 23 percent.

“When individuals are treated negatively at work, it can significantly affect their ability to concentrate or function in a healthy and productive manner,” says Dean Debnam, CEO of Workplace Options. “Many employees may be uncomfortable or embarrassed discussing this abuse with their direct supervisor or HR director. If an employer can offer a third party for the individual to use as a sounding board, it may give them the confidence they need to speak up.”

So how do you deal with workplace bullying? The survey reveals that individuals are more likely to report incidents of bullying if they can speak to a third party source as opposed to someone internal to the company. Specifically, when individuals witness a co-worker being bullied, 37 percent say they are not comfortable discussing the incident with human resources or their supervisor. However, if an employer were to offer assistance dealing with a bully in the form of a third party, 65 percent would take advantage of this service.

In another significant finding, more than 90 percent of respondents believe workplace bullying can cause feelings of frustration and hopelessness, panic or anxiety about going to work, and physical symptoms such as an inability to sleep or loss of appetite. According to the survey, half of respondents do not think their employer takes appropriate measures to discourage and reprimand bullies, or are unsure if any measures are taken.

“If employers do not ensure that workplace bullies are acknowledged and held accountable for their actions, members of their staff may begin to suffer mental and emotional damage,” says Alan King, president and COO of Workplace Options. “The quickest way to identify a bully is to provide your employees with an outlet to report the abuse, whether they are a witness or a victim.”

Check out this video on workplace bullying:

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