Research reports continue to shine a light on the flexible workspace industry and highlight its ongoing growth in key markets around the world – which is good news for operators of virtual offices.
Virtual offices have been decades in the making, and its cost-effective approach to workplace services offer clear advantages for freelancers, startups, and growing businesses. Yet despite its prevalence within the wider flexible workspace sector, some believe the virtual office concept is still sorely under-utilised and under-valued.
“One of our biggest challenges is building awareness,” says Ramon ten Tije, founder of Dutch virtual office company Flexado. “In some markets it’s still a ‘new’ concept, and we have to work harder to educate prospects on the benefits.”
That said, Ramon believes Flexado is in a strong position to develop its virtual office product, which started with selecting the right markets — and the right partners.
“Here in the Netherlands it is much more accepted, and there is generally more awareness of flexible working and virtual office support for small businesses.”
Flexado joined the Alliance Family of Brands in 2015, and he says this accelerated their reach across Europe. “We’ve grown three-fold since joining,” he said. “Afterwards, everything became faster – we had more inventory, more enquiries coming in, and more sales. Prospects were more educated about the market too, which is helping us to strengthen our brand in new locations.”
As part of this drive, Flexado recently expanded into Belgium with a key focus on its major cities, including Antwerp and Brussels. “It’s going well'” he said, citing a lot of hard work and “deep learning” on local business laws and regulations. With this experience, Ramon plans to forge ahead in 2016 by expanding into France and Germany.
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Of course this is not without its challenges. Europe is a complex nation with a plethora of different rules and business laws, not to mention multiple languages.
“Operating within Europe means we have to translate everything – website, documents, sales communications, everything,” Ramon explained. “But first we must understand the laws of all these different countries, from setting up a bank account to running a local business. This is what sets Flexado apart. We don’t just sell virtual offices – we want to really help our clients, step by step. We already do this in the Netherlands, which I believe is why we’ve grown here so much.”
Flexado’s expansion and entry into new markets is a positive one not just for the company, but for the virtual office sector itself – creating more awareness and educating local business owners on the benefits of virtual offices, and its place within the wider flexible workspace sector.
Ramon hopes to add the UK to his list by the end of the year, although he is biding his time until the result of the EU Referendum is known.
“We’re growing, we’re happy!” he added. “We are a small but agile team and we understand what support our clients need. More business centres are joining us and our reach is growing.
“The market is ready, and I’m looking forward to introducing more entrepreneurs to virtual offices over the coming year.”
Disclaimer: Flexado is a member of the Alliance Family of Brands. Officing Today is wholly owned and operated by the Alliance Business Centers Network.