We're not in business the same way we were in the PE (pre-email) days before 1987. Small businesses are proliferating in a curious way. Non-micro enterprise businesses with between 11 and 499 staffers have declined from 12% in 1997 to 9%. Micro enterprise business, however, has grown by 95%, with 76% of that growth coming from firms with no employees at all. Over half of those new businesses are being operated out of people's homes, lofts and garages.
- Ways to get more out of their scheduling system (even if they're firms of one)
- The real need for office space (either permanently or on an ad hoc basis)
- How to get the most out of their current administrative staff, if they have one.
- How they'll supplement their administrative staff for less complex tasks (like mailing and booking appointments)
The IO staff route calls, book appointments, handle mail, create mailings while at the same time offering modest rates for premium office space for hourly, daily, weekly and monthly lease.
Part of the challenge in using a service like IO is shifting one's thinking from the traditional to the innovative. For me, that meant the 4 months it took for me to realize that I could set up my cellphone to ring over automatically to my staff at IO if I wasn't answering.
They've bailed me out in crises (mother's death, father's grave illness and husband's emergency hospitalization) allowing me to keep my business rolling rather than being forced to close up shop.
Love the book, Working from Home, by Paul and Sarah Edwards. It's a must for people who run SOHO's (small offices/home offices). Here's an interesting article on virtual office service uses you might also enjoy.