More businesses than ever rely almost entirely on their online presence. They sell online, attract clients and suppliers online, and advertise online. There are plenty of good reasons for this. The most important is cost. It can cost almost nothing to operate an online business. You might be able to automate many of your sales and marketing functions, reducing the need for large teams of employees too. So where are you based? Online or in the real world?
Once you’ve started recruiting top-tier staff, you really should have an office somewhere. This real world presence is important for holding meetings, interviews, and recruitment. For many businesses that are online, the geographic location of this premises may not be that important. You can find business setup consultants in most territories that can take you through the legal steps needed to register in your chosen city.
A real world presence may be essential for many of us, but it doesn’t come cheap. We all need to find the size that suits without draining the profits. Size matters! Appearance may be important too, particularly if many of your products fall into the luxury end of your market. Your brand must be consistent, so your office needs to represent that at its best. Your business premises become the public face of your company. You might want them to be an experience for visitors so staff must be trained to honor that.
While your website might be able to grow infinitely large at no extra cost, your real world presence can’t. Your building will only have a finite capacity for employees and desks. You might not worry about clearing out the website when times take a downturn, but reducing costs in the office could certainly result in culls. Not only is this emotionally painful but it can prove costly too.
Customers love to put a face or a personality to their favorite brands. They like the idea of innovative office spaces and ways of working. Your customers want to know what you’re like in the real world. This is why it is so important to have a good real world presence. But it also means you’ll have to pass that cost onto the customer. Finding the balance between desirable brand and affordability is always tricky to do.
Personal appearances and striking building in the middle of a popular city can certainly provide a lot of positive PR. They make you real. You’re not hiding behind a website, so this can build a greater trust in your brand. You might attend events and provide newsworthy interviews with the press. There is a great value in this, although much of it might be unmeasurable. Still, we learn to keep our overheads as low as possible. Can you afford high profile offices and the time to build up a media personality?
Careful choices are essential if you want to have the business premises you dream of without eating up all your profits. Certainly, innovative and attractive websites can offer many of the same benefits. Where will you invest your money?
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