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How Virtual Offices Hedge Against Rising Stamp Costs

Will we stop getting mail on Saturdays? Will the U.S. Postal Service raise its rates? The answer to both questions is leaning toward “yes.”

Federal regulators are pondering slashing most Saturday postal deliveries or significantly upping the price we pay for stamps. Cutting out Saturday deliveries would save the post office an estimated $3 billion a year. In the meantime, the Postal Service wants to raise the price of stamps again.

Critics of both plans say that raising rates or limiting delivery service will push businesses toward other options. Critics also warn that it will put a burden on small businesses that are already struggling in a down economy.

While the cost of goods continues to rise with inflation, virtual office systems are helping small businesses slash costs rather than compromising services. Small businesses can turn to virtual office systems to cut down on traditional mail services, as well as traditional travel. Indeed, a virtual office space is a smart alternative to traditional office space, just as e-mail is a smart alternative to snail mail in many cases.

In a knowledge-based economy with technology at the fore, the virtual office system makes smart business sense for companies looking to hedge against other areas of the economy, including postal services, that continue to get more expensive.

What is a virtual office system? It includes live answering and call forwarding services, access to fully equipped conference rooms, mail receipt, an 800 or local phone number, and more. A full virtual office system with all the options, including the virtual receptionist, virtual office, virtual assistant and web conferencing, typically costs less than traditional office space.

So while you can’t stop the price of stamps from increasing, you can curb your office and staffing expenses with a virtual office system—and you’ll enhance your small business image as you tap into these low-cost services.

To learn more about inflation and why it happens, check out this video:

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Virtual Offices, West Nile Virus and Bomb Scares

There’s the whooping cough epidemic in California cities like Sacramento, the West Nile Virus threat in San Jose, and the bomb scare at the JFK International Airport that shut down the terminal for two hours. It’s enough to make you want to stay in your virtual office until the dust settles.

New York and New Jersey Port Authority officials evacuated a terminal at JFK International after a woman called claiming there was a bomb there. That caused flight delays for at least 300 people who were in the terminal at the time. And it wasn’t the first time authorities suspected a bomb in that terminal.

Sometimes travel is necessary to get business done. But more and more often, virtual office technologies fit the bill. Virtual office technologies save time, save money, save headaches during bomb scares, and may keep you safe from infections like the whooping cough or the West Nile virus if you can avoid traveling to the affected areas.

Virtual office technologies like Cisco WebEx, for example, can allow you to hold meetings from virtually anywhere so long as you have an Internet connection. Even if there isn’t a travel delay, natural disaster or virus outbreak, more and more would-be road warriors are curbing their mileage by using virtual office technologies. (Davinci Virtual customers get attractive pricing on Cisco WebEx as part of a virtual communications package.)

Indeed, the web conferencing software and services market is thriving on the demand from global “borderless organizations.” The market is benefiting hugely from businesses' austerity drive which includes enhanced collaboration and reduction in travel costs, according to Frost & Sullivan. Combined, conferencing services and hosted/managed unified communications services will achieve over $4 billion in revenue by the end of 2014, according to Wainhouse Research.

Virtual office technologies are about more than communication. They are also about collaborating more effectively, setting the stage for greater productivity for your company. By combining a virtual office space, which offers you a follow-me anywhere number, with a virtual receptionist, which adds an even more professional edge to your operation, and a virtual assistant, which frees up to focus on business-critical tasks, and a web conferencing solution, which cuts down travel time, you can fine-tune your business for far less than it costs to rent traditional office space.

Check out this video on how Cisco WebEx can save small businesses money on travel:

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Virtual Businesses and Virtual Offices Go Hand in Hand

One of Australia’s top 50 best places to work is a virtual company. Led by 39-year-old CEO Kristin Ferguson, Sentis ranked five in BRW’s 2010 list—right behind Google.

The corporate culture at Sentis, a company that trains mining, resources and utilities companies on safety and leadership, is relaxed. The company doesn’t have fixed office hours. They wear jeans if they feel like it. And they travel most of the time.

"Because we are a virtual business and we don't get to see each other a lot, we take two days every six or eight weeks to bring all the staff off the road,” Ferguson told The Courier-Mail. “On the first day, we go wine tasting or rock climbing or go-karting and then the second day we spend as much time on the personal development of our staff as we do on professional development. We need to make sure everyone is passionate about what they do because, if they are passionate, everything else will follow.”

Sounds like the perfect fit for a virtual office. I’m not sure whether or not Sentis uses a virtual office in its Australia location. But with so many traveling workers, it would make sense. It’s possible that the employees work from home, so many use virtual office space and others may not. But the rise of the virtual business, and the recognition that such a place could be one of the best places to work, right alongside Google, is telling.

More and more, companies are exploring the benefits of virtual workers, and virtual office space for mobile workers. With virtual office space, Sentis employees could give clients a single 800 number or local number that would reach them wherever they went in the world. With a virtual office, the company could enjoy mail receipt and forwarding services, as well as rent a conference room for the virtual business to get together for staff meetings in between the rock climbing and wine tasting excursions.

Whether your virtual business is located in Australia or Atlanta, you can depend on a virtual office to handle your important calls, receive your important mail, host your important business meetings and help your mobile workers drive more productivity as they fly from place to place around the world.

Check out this video on Brisbane! Beautiful place...

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How to Find New Business Ideas

As jobless claims continue to rise, newly-unemployed, entrepreneurial-minded people may be looking for new business ideas. Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur, is offering some free advice on how to find new business opportunities.

“Number one, begin with yourself. Begin with your own talents, your abilities, your experience, knowledge, interest, background, education, and so on,” Tracy says. “Look carefully at your current work, your current business, your current position, or your current product or service. Seek for what is called your own acres of diamonds. Look under your own feet.”

Tracy recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • What qualities account for your greatest successes in life so far?

  • What personal qualities and abilities have gotten you to where you are?

  • How could you apply those qualities and abilities to starting and building a new business?

  • What product or service can you become enthusiastic about?


Tracy also recommends looking for something that is an improvement on an existing product or service, not something brand new. “Remember improving an existing successful product or service is the fastest and surest way to build a successful business,” he says. “An idea only needs to be 10 percent new and better to capture substantial market share. Brand new products or services are very risky.”

While you are putting Tracy’s advice in practice, consider how a virtual office space can help you establish a professional business image even while you work from a bootstrap budget. Virtual offices give you a prestigious business address in just about any major city in which you want to set up your business, from New York to Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Miami and beyond. You can also tap into the professionalism of an 800 number or local number in the city of your choice.

With a virtual office space, you can rent a conference room for an hour or a day to give presentations to potential investors. You can even rent day office space if you need a quieter place to work while family is visiting your home during the summer. If you want to up the ante on your professional image, you can also opt for a virtual receptionist who will answer your phone with a personalized greeting and forward the call to you, or take a message. And if your newly-minted business grows faster than you anticipated, you can hire a virtual assistant to help you keep up with the opportunities.

Check out this Brian Tracy video on 21 Great Ways to Build a High Profit Business.

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Cisco Cius Compliments Virtual Office Space

Apple isn’t the only company to launch an intriguing tablet device…Cisco is aiming at mobile workers with its Cisco Cius.

Cisco is billing Cius as a first-of-its-kind mobile collaboration business tablet that delivers virtual desktop integration with anywhere, anytime access to the full range of Cisco collaboration, and communication applications, including HD video.

Weighing in at just 1.15 pounds, the Android-based Cius aims to battle the Apple iPad in the quest to win the hearts and minds of business users. Cius offers full telepresence interoperability, HD video streaming and real-time video, multi-party conferencing, e-mail, messaging, browsing, and the ability to produce, edit and share content stored locally or centrally in the cloud.

The Cius won’t be available until the beginning of 2011, but it promises to turn the heads of road warriors that demand a business-minded tablet.

The Cius is a strong compliment to the virtual office. A virtual office lets road warriors travel from a business meeting in New York to a business meeting in Los Angeles, for example, without missing any important calls through call forwarding services. A virtual receptionist can enhance the virtual office experience with live answering for a more professional edge.

Davinci Virtual’s virtual office solutions include add-on services such as Cisco’s WebEx Meeting Center at a special price. That means a Davinci virtual office space user could use the Cius to tap into the WebEx from anywhere. Together, a virtual office space and Cisco’s new virtual office technology help road warriors and mobile workers accomplish more no matter where they are.

At the end of the day, it’s about productivity—and communications are an essential ingredient in boosting productivity. A virtual office space helps you keep your communications professional when you can’t answer calls—and the Cius helps you keep your communications professional when you are traveling. It’s a great combination.

Check out this video on the Cisco Cius:

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