How to Create a Killer Startup Company

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Startups Authors: Harry Trott, Kevin Benedict, Dan Blacharski, Liz McMillan, Rolando Kahn

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No Office Space? How To Make Your Startup Appear More Professional To Customers

Tips To Make Bootstrapped Startups Appear More Professional To Customers

When you are just starting out, every dollar counts. Among the various expenses that you can avoid as a bootstrapped startup, office rental space comes out at the top. By not going for a professional office space, businesses can often save on a few thousand dollars each month; and that’s a lot of money. The only trouble is that businesses without office space may be perceived as ‘fly by the night’ operators who may not be trusted. So how does a business save on rentals and appear professional at the same time? Here are a few tips that can help.

Get A Virtual Office Address

Imagine owning an office space for your startup in downtown Manhattan. Virtual office addresses are like PO boxes, only better. For a small fee each month, virtual office address services let you advertise a corporate address from a city and zip code of your choice. In addition to simply holding a physical address for your business, such services also come with features like mail forwarding, check depositing, bill payment, fax forwarding, corporate voice mail box, etc.

Use A Day Office

Virtual office addresses are okay as long as you do not have clients visiting you at your office. If you run a consulting service however, you may need to own a real office space. In such cases, day offices work great. Day offices are typically a part of coworking spaces that let multiple businesses share the same office space, and may be rented by the hour or a day. If you typically have only a few hours of face-to-face meetings each month, you may pick a day office. For anything more than that, it is a good idea to rent a private suite or cabin from such coworking spaces that work out cheaper than renting your own commercial space.

Use Toll-Free Numbers And IVRS For Sales & Support Calls

Advertising a mobile phone number may seem okay for a professional services like plumbing and carpet cleaning. But if you sell a product or software, it is important to have a more professional call setup. Toll-free numbers are quite cheap to rent and are available for as little as a couple of dollars a month. You may also use IVRS (Interactive Voice Response Systems) services to capture inbound call requests like sales and support and forward the call to the right team member. Setting all this up should not cost you more than $30 to $40 a month, and this expense can go a long way in building a professional brand image among your customers.

Use A Professional Helpdesk

Do you still answer support questions over Gmail? For customers who do not have face to face interactions with you, your professionalism on the virtual medium is all that matters. Stop answering sales and support questions over email and instead migrate to a professional help-desk platform. They are cheap and a number of market leader tools are available for free or less than $20 a month. Add to this, making use of professional business email accounts for sales and support further reinforce the message that you are a professional business and not a startup run from your basement.

More Stories By Harry Trott

Harry Trott is an IT consultant from Perth, WA. He is currently working on a long term project in Bangalore, India. Harry has over 7 years of work experience on cloud and networking based projects. He is also working on a SaaS based startup which is currently in stealth mode.