What do the entrepreneurs behind fresh new start-ups know about running an office? Most of the time, not much.

Think about it. They know about their product or service, they know about their customers, they know about their competition, they know about the latest business tech must-haves, and they know how they’re going to bring all these factors together to successfully launch and grow their business.

But what do they know about navigating long-term rental agreements, outfitting an office, staffing an office and most importantly, affording the costly overheads that come with running an office?

In my experience, these are the sticking points; the often underestimated details of running a business that not only catch new small business owners unaware, but ultimately cost them their business dreams.

Why? Because these issues sap the entrepreneur’s focus. Instead of putting all their energy into a flourishing business, it goes into unproductive days trying to organise everything from a PABX system to the kitchen kettle and sleepless nights worrying about how early profits will cover mounting setup bills.

In reality, start-ups don’t need a regular office. They need a more flexible solution that responds, in real-time, to their constantly changing needs. They need all the pros of the traditional office without the pitfalls. They need, I believe, a virtual office.

Here’s why:

It’s affordable: establishing a new office with all the bells and whistles is costly. Establishing such an office in a prime business location is off the charts. Virtual offices come with an affordable monthly terms that include access to professional reception services, call answering and forwarding, support staff, relevant office equipment and meeting rooms, all at one prestigious address.

It’s flexible: there are no long, complicated and costly property leases to get tied into, which means less capital outlay and zero long-term commitments. The monthly terms are flexible and can be customised to suit the business.

It portrays a professional image: virtual offices are typically housed within co-working centres located in prime business destinations. This provides the start-up with a highly sought-after address to put on business cards and at which to meet clients using the on-site boardrooms. Plus the professional reception services ensure calling and visiting clients get the right first impression.

It encourages networking: ‘soft’ support like interacting with other entrepreneurs is just as important to small business owners as issues like financial and operational support. Virtual offices attract similar people, allowing start-ups to engage like-minded entrepreneurs and learn from shared experiences (including the negative ones) or even potentially, source new clients.

By taking care of all the everyday essentials businesses need to operate, and providing all the support SMMEs need to thrive, virtual offices free up entrepreneurs to do what they know best: run their businesses. Because when it comes to guaranteeing start-up success, that’s the most important consideration off all.