Author: alien

When Your Small Business Closes: Tips for Entrepreneurs

Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and when things don’t work out the way you want them to, it can be a devastating blow. Many entrepreneurs have had to cope with the aftermath of a career setback, but it’s not always easy to determine where you should go next. You may be worried about cash flow, how to set up your next big idea, or how to practice self-care to prevent stress or depression from getting to you.


Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make the most of this time. Keep in mind that you’re not alone and that having to close a business does not automatically mean failure. It could just mean the beginning of a different chapter in your life, but the key is to find a way to turn it into a positive move. By changing your focus, you can remain motivated during a difficult transition.

Here are a few tips on how to bounce back after closing a business.


Think About Your Next Move


It can be daunting to think about what your next move will be after suffering a loss, but if you have a great idea, there’s no time like the present to start planning. You can give yourself time before making any serious decisions, but it can’t hurt to start thinking about what you need to get started. Freelance professionals, for instance, can help you do everything from setting up a well-designed website to marketing and selling your products, but you’ll need to do some research to find the right fit for your needs. The right remote staffing agency can easily help you find candidates who can help you take your idea to the next level.


Pay Your Taxes and Other Debts First


You may have several financial considerations to make once your business closes, but it’s crucial to make sure you get any taxes or debts paid for before you do anything else. Let your creditors — suppliers or vendors — and employees know the plan for closing and seal up any loose ends. Not only will this help immensely when you’re ready to start a new venture, but it will also give you peace of mind and reduce stress as well.


Take Care of Yourself


You can hardly expect to move forward with a positive mentality when you’re feeling low about a setback, so it’s important to take good care of yourself during this time. Self-care encompasses many things, so think about what you can do to feel better. You might set up a sleep routine that will allow you to get better rest in order to reduce stress, or you might take a mini-vacation if funds allow in order to reset and recharge. Getting your mental health in order will allow you to make your next move much more smoothly.


Create a Solid Plan


Creating a plan for your next business move can take time, so be patient and give yourself space to figure out what you want. If your former business was in an office space, consider setting up an office in your home this time to make things easier — and more budget-friendly — on yourself. Reach out for support by networking with like-minded entrepreneurs in your area, and do some research in terms of your competitors so you’ll know what to expect. A good plan will give you some guidelines to help you stay motivated.


Closing a business that you put your heart and soul into can be a challenge in many different ways, but if you focus on what comes next, you can rebuild and take your vision to the next level. Think about your budget from the very beginning so you can make adjustments as you go


Blog by: Carla Lopez

Learn the real ways a mail forwarding service can help you save time in your business.

As a hard-working small-business owner, you know how important every minute of the workday is in terms of efficiency and productivity. You simply don’t have time to waste on tasks that don’t actually have to be part of your schedule in the first place. Take the daily mail, for example. Sorting, opening, prioritizing, reading, filing – this one chore alone can eat up a good chunk of your time. Fortunately there is a great solution. Using a mail forwarding service will ensure that your mail is handled efficiently and that you can add time back to your day.


When you use a mail forwarding service, your mail will be delivered to a professional address where it is opened by a virtual assistant and handled according to your specific instructions. Consider these ways that using a mail forwarding service can benefit your business:

  • Don’t waste time on junk mail. Are you tired of solicitations, advertisements, catalogs and other mail that does nothing but waste your time? Using a mail forwarding service eliminates the need for you to sort through the junk, because it will all be tossed for you by your service. If there are specific types of ads or catalogs that you do want to see, just let your mail forwarding service know and they will hold those for you.
  • Enjoy a clutter-free desk. When you use a trusted mail forwarding service, the mail that you do need to see can be scanned and sent to you electronically. This lets you print what you need to and save everything else on your computer or in the cloud. You can request that hard copies be forwarded to you, or you can choose to have originals shredded at the forwarding service.
  • Don’t miss important packages. If your business depends on package deliveries, it’s possible that you spend too much time running out to the post office or FedEx to pick up packages that couldn’t be delivered while you were away from the office. With a mail forwarding service, all of your packages will be delivered to your service and held until you can pick them up at your convenience.
  • Your absence doesn’t cause a mail pile-up. For business owners who do a lot of traveling, returning from a trip often means losing valuable time catching up on the mail that’s accumulated while you were away. Using a mail forwarding service takes this particular worry  out of your business travel. The mail will be delivered to your service every day, no matter where you are. You can still receive email notifications about important correspondence and       documents, and you won’t come back to find a mountain of mail waiting at the door.
  • Avoid delays in payment. If you receive checks by mail, you can give instructions for them to be deposited directly into your checking account by your forwarding service. This will save you time and help you avoid delays in depositing much-needed funds while you’re away. You can instruct the forwarding service to send the original checks to you for your records, or to email you a scanned image and destroy the original.

Since time is a precious commodity to any small-business owner, you can see how these features can be a great benefit to your business. Take back the time you spend each day on the mail and use it to do your real work, the work that defines your business.

When to know if a virtual office is right for you?

In today’s world, where small businesses are facing stiff competition, traditional offices are getting costlier to procure & maintain, more and more people are considering the option of working from a virtual office because of the sheer flexibility and reduced cost. Let us review the options. Working from a virtual office has some unique advantages. To start with, you can cut down all of the overhead of having an office, e.g.,

  • Rentals
  • Utilities & municipal expenses
  • Canteen expenses
  • Stationary expenses
  • Equipment & Furniture

Many successful small business owners say that they are more productive from their home office. There are many reasons – one of the primary ones being, absence of the usual “office gossip”. Then you have the added time you earn as you don’t need to commute. This gives you the added freedom – remember one of those days you wished you could stay back home with your unwell son without affecting work? Working from a virtual office allows you the opportunity to dedicate more quality time for your children and family.


But first, you need to make sure you know if working out of a virtual office is going to work for you.


To start with, how social are you? It is indeed easy to “get used to” the inter-personnel communication & direct-contact collaboration in a conventional office scenario. Working in your living room all day long can suddenly make you miss it. If you’re very social and love to work with people around, the quiet of your virtual office from home may drive you nuts. Many virtual office workers are family-people, but singles may feel terribly cut-off in such a scenario. Give it a thought – can you conduct your business or carry out your responsibilities without face-to-face contact with coworkers, clients or the public? If not, you will probably need to make do with the option of a conventional office.


Next: Have you set your expectations right? Some people believe, albeit wrongly, that a virtual office will allow you start work after noon. Sorry pal, that won’t work if you want to see some success in this strategy. Definitely, you will have a lot of flexibility, but if you allow yourself to misuse the freedom, you might not be able to stay in the competition. There are a few things that need getting used to. Truth is, the “flexibility” you enjoy from a virtual office may be at times more stressful than you imagined – as your clients and co-workers located remotely may expect you to be available all the time, even for extended odd hours.


Again, does your living conditions allow you create a virtual office around you? In order to accommodate a virtual office work style, you might basically need a computer to start with – but you may also need reliable internet connectivity, or multiple internet connectivity options (so that if one fails, you have another option ready), power back-up, scanner, printers, fax, phone conferencing & recording gear and so on. A quiet corner of your home has to be earmarked to set up the virtual office, especially if you have a family with kids around. You sure won’t want non-office-like noise around you during the day. Household chores may be a hard-to-resist constant distraction, when you would rather procrastinate, getting that sales report out. Discuss with your family – it would be difficult for them to appreciate that just because you’re home may not mean that you are “available”. Shutting your office door to enforce office hours might need some time to go down well.


So is virtual office the right option for you? Be honest with yourself and ask the mirror. And if you are still undecided, ask some friends you trust.

Learn three reasons why a virtual office solution is perfect for your business

If you are a small-business owner or an entrepreneur just striking out on your own, you know the challenges of keeping up with the day-to-day tasks of running an office while you are working so hard to build your business. It would be great to hire office help, but that’s an additional expense that you might not be able to manage right now. Fortunately, there is an ideal solution that will put time back in your schedule without breaking the bank. Using the services of a virtual office is the key.

  1. Professional business address.Working from a home office is a great way to save money, but it might not be the best way to promote your business image. Choosing a virtual office solution gives you the advantage of a virtual business address in a recognized professional area. This can be very important when you’re wooing potential clients, who are more likely to be impressed by a professional address than one that is clearly a home address. A virtual business address instills more confidence than a post office box, lending your business a more well-established and professional image.
  2. Fully equipped conference rooms.Working from home or a very small office presents a challenge when you want to meet with clients. You’re likely to feel less than professional if you have to walk a potential client through your kitchen to get to the office, and worrying about your image can throw you off your game. With a virtual office solution, you’ll have the ability to reserve fully equipped conference rooms for your meetings. You and your guests will have access to internet, scanners, faxes, conference- and video-calling. You can even arrange for refreshments. Rooms can be reserved on a regular schedule or on an as-needed basis.
  3. Mail forwarding service.Even the most organized person can find it difficult to keep the business and personal mail separate. It can be tempting to let the mail pile up, but that might not be very good for business. Using a virtual office solution saves you time and increases your efficiency by providing mail forwarding service. Your business mail will be delivered to your virtual business address, where it will be opened and handled in keeping with your instructions. Your virtual assistant can respond to correspondence, file documents in the cloud, even deposit checks that you receive. Important mail can be scanned and emailed to you, eliminating clutter in your office. Maybe the best part of a mail forwarding service is that all of your junk mail can be trashed before you even see it. You can let your assistant know exactly what you do and don’t want to receive, saving you the time of going through it all yourself.

To save money, increase your efficiency and have more time to be productive, choose a virtual office solution. You will have the confidence of knowing that your office is running smoothly and your clients will have the confidence of working with an established professional.

The new trend for small businesses… the virtual office

With some many opportunities and resources out there for small businesses, in these past years, more and more people prefer to venture out and open their own business than working for someone else. With this trend numerous small businesses are being created every year, the number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49% since 1982; however, these businesses come into a market where they have to compete on a daily basis with the established business world. For these start-ups, any advantage they can get their hands on, can have a big impact, especially on their budget. I’m talking about the serviced and virtual office offering, as more companies pop up, the more industry services are needed.


The new movement, a virtual office.

Well, it’s not really new, its first commercial application happened in 1994, but let’s just say that it’s becoming more and more popular. This new movement is being adopted by startups and small businesses that need the flexibility. A concern among new and small businesses is the way they are presented to the outside world, that professional image with an established office. Also the advantage of having a wide array of business services at a fraction of the cost, since all services are shared among this virtual community, business owners receive prime services that otherwise would be very hard to get either because they are already paying a traditional office space that is eating up their budget, or they are working from home and don’t have access to commercial grade services such as high speed internet, receptionist, meeting room, day offices, among others.


Key Concepts for the virtual office popularity:

  • The virtual office seems to blend perfectly with today’s work styles, you can now keep working from home and have your virtual office for all your professional and business needs, as it blends efficiency with home and work.
  • Keeps office expenses low, while retaining a professional image of a traditional, high-cost office.
  • Will contribute to a low-cost expansion with no long-term commitment.
  • Virtual office receptionist to meet and greet, answer phone calls in your company name, receive your mail and parcels, and maybe even some administrative tasks, all without the payroll burden and only paying for what you need at a fraction of the cost.
  • Open envelope and scanning its contents– upon authorization, envelope can be opened and scanned, emailing the digitalized documents for immediate access to a cloud-based file storage system.
  • On-site amenities a full service virtual office will provide broadband internet, fax-printer-copier-scanner, advance phone features, meeting room, day office, lounge or co-working space, business worthy reception area, kitchenette.
  • On-demand use of meeting room or day offices for meetings or interviews (hour, day or weekly) that can be rented on short notice.

Even though it seem the virtual office is a brand new concept, it has been around for quite a while. It’s main benefit and popularity seems to revolve around the fact that by sharing all the amenities of a hi-end traditional office it only costs a fraction of what it would normally cost. Start-ups and small home based businesses have been adopting it more and more, why? Well because it just makes a lot more of sense. No long-term commitment, all the flexibility, and on-demand pay only for what you need services and amenities, making the most of today’s technological innovation and thanks to the information age.

Why Coffee Shop Meetings Can Hurt Your Small Business?

Who hasn’t had a meeting in a coffee shop? To perform an interview, to be interviewed or just to have a regular business meeting or workshop, the increasing popularity to use such venues for startups or small businesses has morphed into a work space of sorts. But what are the problems of mixing business with pleasure?

Privacy: Maintaining the privacy of your conversations and your documents is quite a challenge, there is an unspoken etiquette of working in a coffee shop and you want to keep a brief conversation at a lower voice. Who wants to be interviewed where anybody can hear you? Imagine how many people just passing by can see your financials or bank statements. Imagine trying to close that big business deal over the phone with everybody listening.

Noise: Coffee houses can be very noisy at times and there is no way to foresee this, trying to concentrate on an interview or phone conversation with the noise of a busy coffee shop can be very distracting, not to mention the negative impact when receiving a business call while the barista is calling out your name for you to pick up your drink and the sound of espresso machine in the background.

Security: According to an article done by LoJack, the second most common area for laptop theft is a coffeehouse. And while a laptop can be easily replaced at an expense, your loss of data is not, and can really hurt your business, with problems ranging from the loss of income to legal investigations the fact remains that it will be a real problem that can be prevented.

Professional image: Even though it’s a common practice to hold your meetings at a coffee shop, it can really hurt your business professional image. Some coffee houses have music and while this can be very soothing for some it’s really not the most professional image you want to transmit to your customers or future employees, with so many scammers or ghost companies out there, you really don’t need the added doubt, it’s tough enough as it is already being a startup or a small business trying to establish your brand and be taken seriously.


What is the Solution?

Hiring the services of a virtual office or business center with day offices and meeting rooms, where you can hold your meetings at a private, secure and professional building that will give your customers and guests the right setting, and what is best is that the cost of leasing a day office for an hour is about the same as most coffee drinks out there and at the business center you will also get that coffee included for you and your guests. You will have access to all the amenities the business center has to offer like a live receptionist to greet and meet your customers

Learn the real advantages of using a mail forwarding service for your business

The real advantages of using a mail forwarding service for your business

As a small-business owner who is responsible for every aspect of running your office, you know that handling the daily mail can eat up a good portion of your workday. You don’t want to let the mail pile up, so part of every day is spent sorting through it, deciding what’s junk, what can be saved for later, and what you have to take care of right away. Documents have to be filed; certain things must be shredded. It all adds up to a major interruption of your day. Fortunately there’s a great solution – using a mail forwarding service will put time back into your day and give you the confidence that your mail is handled professionally.

When you use a mail forwarding service, your business mail will be delivered to a secure, professional address where it is opened by a virtual assistant who will handle it according to your explicit instructions. Consider these benefits of using a mail forwarding service:

  • Eliminate junk mail. A mail forwarding service will take junk mail right out of your office. Solicitations and flyers and advertisements for things you don’t need will be discarded without distracting you for a second.
  • No more clutter. The virtual assistant at your mail forwarding service will not only toss out junk mail but will also scan your important mail and send it to you electronically. If you need hard copies, they will be sent to you, or you can ask to have them shredded at the forwarding service.
  • Secure package delivery. When you work alone from a small office, it’s easy to miss a delivery when you’re out at a meeting or running errands. That means extra time spent rescheduling deliveries or running to the post office to pick up packages. With a mail forwarding service, packages will be delivered to your designated address and handled according to your instructions. You can make arrangements to pick up or receive the items at your convenience, on your schedule.
  • Delegate the details. You receive lots of correspondence that has to be answered but doesn’t necessarily require your personal attention. Your virtual assistant at the mail forwarding service can respond to general inquiries for information, acknowledge testimonials from customers, and even deposit checks for you.
  • Stay in the loop when you travel. Returning from a business trip means spending hours going through a week’s worth of mail. It’s frustrating and time-consuming, and when you use a mail forwarding service you won’t have to worry about it again. Your mail will be handled promptly and efficiently while you’re away, and you’ll still receive scans of the important mail while you’re on the road.

These benefits show just how much a mail forwarding service can help you run your business more efficiently. You’ll have more time to be productive, and you’ll have the confidence of knowing that your mail is being handled by professionals who are working with your best interests in mind.

Learn three real ways a virtual office saves money and increases productivity for the small-business owner.

3 real advantages of a virtual office over a traditional office for the small-business owner


As a small-business owner, you know all too well the number of different jobs that have to be done on any given workday. Aside from the actual business of your company, whether it’s designing websites or building widgets, you’ve got to run the office. This means answering phones, responding to email, opening snail mail, making appointments, keeping the books… at times the list seems endless.

You could certainly hire staff to do these jobs for you, setting up a traditional office with an administrative assistant and bookkeeper to handle the day-to-day aspects of the business. This would require office space for them to work, dedicated phone and fax lines, computers, printers and scanners. If establishing your office is beginning to sound very expensive, there’s a great solution that can provide all the services you need at a fraction of the cost. Using a virtual office is the ideal choice for many small-business owners.

Here are three real advantages of choosing a virtual office over a traditional office:

  • A dedicated virtual assistant. A virtual office gives you all the services of a traditional office without the need to hire individual employees for different jobs. Your virtual assistant will work as your secretary, handling calls, emails and mail according to your instructions. Think of the time you can save when you only have to take calls or answer emails that require your direct attention.  Your assistant will take care of paperwork, prepare and file documents, issue estimates and invoices, and anything else that you require.
  • A professional business address. Renting office space can be extremely expensive. A virtual office eliminates this worry by providing you with a professional address in an established business district. This will add a bit of prestige to your company’s image, since potential clients tend to trust a recognizable business address more than one that implies that you work from home, or a post-office box.
  • Conference rooms and meeting space. When you work from home or a very small office, scheduling meetings becomes a challenge. It’s awkward to invite clients to your home, and meetings held in public places can be unproductive and frustrating. A virtual office will give you the professionalism of a traditional office by providing access to fully furnished conference and meeting rooms, where your guests will be greeted by a professional receptionist and treated with respect.  You will have access to all the technology you need to conduct a meeting,  including internet, fax, scanning, and video- and conference-calling. You can set up a recurring schedule or book rooms as needed.

If you are considering setting up a traditional office but are worried about the expense involved, consider using a virtual office instead. These three advantages are just a few of the ways that a virtual office can save you money and time, and help you to become more productive in your business.

Learn six great reasons to open a United States branch of your business with a virtual office

If you are an international business owner who wants to expand into the United States, opening your US location with a virtual office is the perfect way to achieve your goal without spending a ton of time and money. When you use a virtual office, you will have the confidence of knowing that your new office will be professional, efficient, and run according to your instructions.

Consider these six ways that using a virtual office to open your US location will make your life so much easier:

  1. A professional US business address. Using a virtual office will provide you with a virtual business address in a known professional area. You won’t have to physically scout for a good location, and can relax in the knowledge that your customers will have confidence that they are working with a trustworthy company in a well-recognized location.
  2. Professional live receptionist. Your virtual office will give you the option of having a professional bilingual receptionist answer your calls. This will save you time, since your receptionist can handle general calls and inquiries without you having to take every call. Calls can be forwarded to you as needed, or messages saved for you to address later.
  3. Mail forwarding service. A virtual office simplifies your international mail delivery because all of your mail will be delivered directly to your virtual office address. Working according to your specific instructions, your virtual assistant will open and sort all of the mail, taking care of routine matters and forwarding only those items that need your direct attention.
  4. Secure cloud storage for your files. Using a virtual office will eliminate worrying about receiving important files and documents from across the border. Your virtual assistant can store all of your documents in the cloud, where you can access them at your convenience. This will also save time when you require your assistant to make changes to documents or contracts since you won’t have to wait for items to be delivered by mail.
  5. Professional meeting space. When you travel to your US location to meet with clients, you’ll have the security of knowing that you can use a professional meeting room at your virtual office. You can reserve rooms that are fully equipped with internet, fax/scanners, conference- and video-calling, and other features that will enhance your meetings. Your guests will be greeted professionally and welcomed into a professional environment.
  6. Stay in contact from any location. When you choose a virtual office for your US location, you can stay in touch with your virtual assistant from anywhere in the world. Whether you are in your home location or traveling, you can check in at any time. Your assistant will know how to reach you for important matters so you are never out of touch with what’s going on in your company.

Choosing the advantages of a virtual office is a great solution for business owners who want to open an office in the United States. This option eliminates the need to look for office space and hire a full staff. Using a virtual office gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your business is being run professionally and efficiently, no matter where you are located.