One of the challenges of being a lean business or a start-up is winning the confidence of your prospects or clients. It’s often that you may be a small outfit – if not a one-man show – but you are more than capable of handling their business or project.
So, here’s some of the simplest signs that prove you are not helping them to think otherwise: Do you answer all your business calls via your mobile phone? Is there an alternative number or someone they can leave a message with when you are busy? Seriously, if you need to attend to every call immediately, just how capable are you?
No, of course I am not suggesting you to hire a receptionist tomorrow because that’s bound to cost you more money and time. Besides, where will you put her? Rent an office or convert your garage into an office so that you can have your receptionist there to answer all your calls?
Here’s a solution for you: hire a virtual receptionist. A virtual receptionist is a call answering centre’s professional at which you will be provided with a designated landline number. When someone calls your number, the virtual receptionist (a real human, not a machine) will answer your call on behalf of you in your company’s name.
Imagine your calls being answered with a smiling, professional voice…“Good morning, Mr Lonely’s office.” Mr. Lonely is no longer lonely. J
If you are still not convinced, imagine another scenario where you are doing your million-dollar presentation to a very important client. Half way through the presentation, your mobile starts buzzing – it’s your other million-dollar client! Do you pause your presentation or do you continue? I guess that’s the million-dollar question now. Can you afford to take this risk?
Well, Mr. Lone Ranger is not exactly a one-man show. He had his sidekick – Mr. Tonto. Capability shouldn’t be a doubt at this point anymore. *wink
By now you may be wondering; is hiring a virtual receptionist as expensive as hiring your own? Absolutely not! Most call answering services are on a monthly or yearly subscription. They are very affordable and the setup is fast and easy as ABC (possibly easier).
Here are a few quick tips while you shop for the right call answering service:
Most budding entrepreneurs feel that starting a business is a complex process especially if when one carries a first timer’s badge. In order to smoothen the process of starting a business with less obstacles and headaches, it is better to know precisely what you need to start a business.
First of all, you will need to have the right business plan to kick-start a business. Once the plan is in place with proper business budgeting and projection, you will need to choose the right business entity for your upcoming trade. Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) offers a few types of business entities like Private Limited Company (Sdn Bhd), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Sole Proprietorship or Partnership for you to choose from. Both Sole Proprietorship and Partnership are easy to set up with low costs but come with unlimited liability to the owners. However, Private Limited Companies and Limited Liability Partnership both offer limited liability to the owners with the difference of Private Limited Companies having higher set up and maintenance fees. Judging from the blatant comparison, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) undoubtedly becomes the leading choice for new start-up businesses.
Once you have decided on the business entity, choose a strong name for your business. Your establishment’s name plays an important role in building your business image – a good brand name will set you apart from your competitors.
Following that, you need to decide on an address for your business. As a start-up, it is all about keeping the business lean in order to maximize profit. Virtual offices is an ideal solution for new start-ups as most start-ups do not require a physical office which comes with crazily high costs for rental and maintenance. You can rent a prestigious business address for your business with affordable fees and still be able to boost your business image and simultaneously your clients’ confidence in you.
When your business registration is complete, start obtaining business licenses from local authorities depending on the nature of your business. Look for a bank that is convenient for you to open an account with for all your business transactions. As a business owner in Malaysia, you will also need to register your business with Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) for tax related matters, Employees Provident Fund (KWSP) and Social Security Organisation (SOCSO- Perkeso) for your staff welfare as required by the Malaysian law and Royal Malaysian Customs for Goods and services tax (“GST”) if you foresee your turnover exceeding the threshold of RM500,000.
In order to keep your business operations cost effective, it is wise to outsource part of your operations like answering phone calls and bookkeeping to third parties. Outsourcing will not only save your time in managing and hiring the staff to carry out tasks, it also gives your clients/suppliers an impression that you are not a lone ranger.
By having a virtual receptionist to answer your calls, you need not worry about missing a million-dollar call from your prospects whilst you are engaged in a meeting. It is also crucial for the business to let the client feel that there is always someone answer their calls. Furthermore, it is also important and required by the law to keep your business accounts in a proper and accurate manner. With up-to-date bookkeeping for your account, you will be able to know the health and efficiency of your business and offers you the insides of your business performance. It is costly to hire a full-time accountant to handle your business accounts especially if you just started out hence outsourcing will be a great choice and directly contribute to your ability in focusing on running your business.
Sales and marketing are a crucial part of any business. In running a trade, the manner of which we obtain sales is crucial to reaping profit. As a fresh character in the market, you need to find a lucrative way to provide clients and potential clients accurate information about your business. Traditional advertising via mass media is unfortunately very expensive and is difficult when it comes to tracking results. However, owning a website that promotes your products and services coupled with the efforts of Google Adwords is a very effective form of advertising for start-ups. Not only is it economical, you are able to specify your advertising budget and determine your specific target audience, it also allowing you to track the results of your Google Adwords advertisements.
Hopefully, with all the helpful information we’ve provided, you are now ready to start your business! We at Business Butler Business Centre offer various business support services at reasonable prices so that you can focus on the growth of your business instead of handling mundane tasks. We strongly believe in the concept of crowdsourcing and resource sharing. Our goal is to help as many micro sized small and medium business (SME) owners as possible to stay lean and efficient whilst making profit and maximizing their margins. “Business Butler takes care of you; you take care of your business!” is our tagline.
The Virtual Office idea is one of the by-products of the Information Age. The nature of this era has created the demand for a faster and more flexible solution for business owners.