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Don't Mess With San Antonio!

DVO_week14_1For the last five years, Texas has been ranked as THE top climate for businesses. Unlike some states - and they know who they are - Texas right away implemented more business friendly policies with improved business tax climates. They also did some things to help lower labor costs. Heck, they even offer more workforce training. That all adds up to more companies gravitating there.

Cities like San Antonio also have that nice toasty weather, which a lot of people like. What I enjoy about the city is that it's a little slower paced, so you don't have that hectic and stressed out vibe going on.

While Texas, San Antonio in particular, is great for businesses  it's still hard for a startup to get some love. Interestingly, whenever a statistic comes along and proclaims that a city is at the top of anything, it usually means you find a lot of moneyed people at the top rung.

While that's not a bad thing, it's important to realize that a smaller company is still looking at higher costs overall. That's just how it is. When you're not established yet, you gotta pay your dues.

Or do you? I think that technology has made it possible for smaller firms to really compete in places they never could before. While it's true you can run a business from anywhere - in order to be considered respectable or appeal to a local audience -- you have to be -- well, local!

In other words, if you want some of those wealthy Texas clients, you probably should have an office there. It just makes more sense. With rents the way they are, that's easier said than done. Unless . . .

You get a virtual office! This newfangled system involves technology with old school reference points. For instance, you get a great address and all the business amenities without the high rent. In San Antonio, a virtual pad will cost around $50 a month. They'll receive your mail, answer your calls, and when you need a meeting, you can rent a space for around $12 an hour! Virtual offices are the way to go – no question!
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Minneapolis and its Virtual Office Alternatives

DVO_week13_3As costs rise, new businesses and start-ups are looking for more favorable places to live and work. No longer is it always feasible to start a business in high-cost environments. Thankfully, technology has made it possible to have a home base just about anywhere!

The reason this is so great for entrepreneurs is that they can enjoy lower cost living -- say, in a city like Minneapolis, but still do business all over the world. It used to be that you had to pick up and move the family to wherever it was that you planned to operate.

Minneapolis is one of those cities that has everything that a big city has -- but lower crime rates and lower costs. There are lovely suburbs too, but what I learned about Minneapolis when I was there is that even the areas that are considered less safe are better than many average neighborhoods in other parts of the country!

While it does cost less in Minneapolis, commercial rents are still higher than many entrepreneurs might be able to afford. However, a virtual office is just around $50 a month. Let's face it - most anyone starting a business has that! But it's really shocking what you get for that little cost. You get a respectable business address in the downtown area where mail can be dropped off and clients can be greeted.

Best of all, you can take meetings there, too -- for around $25 an hour! What's really great about all of this is that you are only paying for the services that you use. The phone system handles your calls, but if you want - there are live receptionists to take calls, messages, and even orders!
If you really want to expand a business - you have to think about having a presence in other cities. That is, if you're serious and you want other people to take you seriously -- it just has to be done.

But who can afford to have multiple offices? Today, start-ups can barely afford
an office as it is -- unless they go virtual!
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The Future of Telecommuting

DVO_week13_2Telecommuting should really be a lot more popular than it is. Unfortunately, there are still many businesses riding the late train. When Yahoo! took away those privileges, I was devastated. And I don't even work there! What made me sad is that I thought tech firms would lead the rush toward more flexible work environments and hours. So when they pulled that plug I was grateful that I never pursued working with them.

I don't like to badmouth them - but they deserve it. I mean, they took us back to the stone ages, as far as I am concerned. So glad to have virtual offices! They make it even more possible for companies to get their feet wet in the virtual world. It's a great way to experiment.

Savvy businesses can get a virtual office for a small amount of money with a nice business address, a place for clients to come, and for mail to be dropped off. The phone systems are phenomenal and they can get faxes, too. A live person will answer the phone if you want, which is totally affordable since you're not paying the rent - you're only really paying for the services.

When staff needs to meet - they can do that, too. For around $20 an hour - everyone can get together to brainstorm and share data. They can work out plans and then go back to their respective work environments - whether it is home, a coffee shop, or the beach!

It seems to me that the Internet is old enough now to have enough relevancy in terms of work flexibility and cloud processes. I just don't understand why more companies don't go virtual -- they could really save on costs. In fact, they could save jobs that way. Without such high overhead, they could actually afford to pay more workers! That's so great for the economy! And the green incentives are expected to rise over time. Right now, companies get kickbacks when they use green designs.

Regardless of what happens with the telecommuting, I'll never understand Yahoo's decision on that. I just hope they come to their senses again.
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Virtual Offices Make Doing Business in Austin Affordable!

DVO_week13_1I had an acquaintance who moved to Austin thinking he would spend less on living and business costs than he was in L.A. He'd crunched all the numbers and everything seemed cool. But after a few years, Austin started to become a boom town and guess what? The prices boomed too!

That was good for possibly turning over his home - except that the market kind of tanked. His lease ended and he couldn't find anywhere to cost effectively run his business.

 

But he still had clients there and really needed to make it work. Just about the time he was considering pulling out entirely - he found out about virtual offices. For around $75 a month, he got an even better address than the one he had.  His clients still have access to him whenever they need to. For those times, he rents a space for around $35 an hour.

He's also saving a ton on other expenses. Like utilities that used to cost a fortune. They still do, but he doesn't have to pay them! They're included in the rent for his virtual office.

The services are better than what he had before, too. He has access to a live receptionist who will take his messages and forward his calls. Before, he paid a secretary who worked a strict 9-5 and took an hour for lunch. Now, those times and more are always covered by a live person.

Since his clients get better service, it has only served to strengthen his relationships with all his customers. So he gets more business! And the referrals have gone through the roof, too. Turns out, the virtual office where he takes meetings has been a great place to meet other business people. So his networking connections have done a lot to boost his business.

The other surprising thing for him has been how his street address has helped with online marketing efforts. Local marketing is all the rage these days, so the fact that his virtual office comes up in search engine results makes it even better!
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Affordable Beverly Hills Virtual Offices

DVO_week12_3Anyone who knows about real estate prices is fully aware that Beverly Hills contains some of the most outrageously priced housing and commercial properties in the world. For start-ups and small businesses, the costs are so prohibitive that few of them even think about renting office space there.

But - make no mistake there is money to be made in Beverly Hills. Its proximity to the west side of Los Angeles and Santa Monica also make it very easy to get to. I had an acquaintance who used to make a trek out there to scout new business - but it was rough for him. The hotels are ridiculously priced there so he never thought of having a meeting in any of them.

His fantasy was to one day be able to afford to rent out a hall to entice people to sign up for one of his seminars. He could have gotten a cheaper hotel space elsewhere, but he wanted to attract people who lived really near Beverly Hills. People in California are funny. The traffic is so bad they are not likely to go if they have to leave their own neighborhood, not even for a freebie!

Today, he could have afforded to have a virtual office in Beverly Hills - the only kind that is truly reasonable there. Prices for a virtual space start at around $75 a month and Davinci includes everything you could possibly want. You can even rent a room for just $30 an hour and have lunch ordered in, so you can avoid having to spend a fortune at a Beverly Hills restaurant and gas for that matter.

The best thing about a virtual office setup is the convenience. It's always on and ready. You don't have to hire and pay staff or worry about people calling in sick, something support staff are known to do.

Nothing really beats the prestige of a Beverly Hills office. Just think - a virtual office will give you that prominent address and they accept packages and walk-in clients. It's really about the only deal out there in that region!
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