3 Ways to Protect Your Privacy when You don’t Use a Traditional Office


Author: Alyse Garrard; original source

PrivacyWhen you’re running a business that’s not conventionally housed,  your privacy and the privacy of your clientele is often put at risk.  Here, I’ll walk you through some of the ways home-based business owners, outside sales reps, and on-site service providers (people who don’t traditionally do business from an office; un-officers) have their privacy compromised and how using a virtual office protects against these privacy threats.

1. The STARBUCKS Eavesdropper

Rather than having clients meet at the home office or always relying on them to provide meeting space, the Starbucks (or Panera or Dunkin’ Donuts) meeting is a go-to for many resourceful un-officers.    After all, it’s generally quiet, has wi-fi, and is easy to find. Yet, while you’re having a one-on-one with your top account, there’s way-too-loud-headphones Joe and slurppy-coffee MaGee not three feet away.  While Joe and MaGee might not have prying ears,  they are a bit of a distraction.  You don’t notice quietly-reading-a-book Janice behind you.  Occasionally, Janice peers over her book and turns to her open laptop to jot down notes.  She just so happens to do this every time you or your client mentions sensitive information.  Quietly-reading-a-book Janice could be a competitor, who had had an earlier Starbucks meeting and was elated to see you and your client walk in.  But, the more likely case is that Janice is a criminal looking to steal more than your top account.

Let’s replay your Starbucks meeting; only this time, you’re at Your SMARTOFFICE Solution.  At SMARTOFFICE, we have an state-of-the-art piece of technology that you’ll never find  at the Bucks. “What is this ground-breaking innovation?” you ask.  Why, none other than a door! Rather than sitting in open air and sharing your space with Janice, Joe, and Magee, you have a private meeting room with a door that you can shut prying ears and eyes out of.  To top it all off, at SMARTOFFICE, the coffee’s free.

2. You are HERE.

Trade shows are a great opportunity to get exposure to hundreds of potential clients, and your booth is one of the most popular.  You spend all day in 1-2 minute conversations giving your elevator pitch and handing out marketing materials to every Joe, Janice, and Magee in the joint.  About midday you get stuck in conversation with Sleazy Sammy, and it’s obvious that Sammy is interested in more than just your services.  While your giving your elevator pitch for the hundredth time you notice that Sammy’s held your handshake way too long, and he’s standing a bit too close.  As you rap up your conversation, Sammy doesn’t acknowledge your services but asks you out on a date with a suggestive wink.  You politely decline and hold off on handing him your business card.  You move to the next trade show guest but notice that Sammy picks up a card from your booth.  What’s on your card?  Your home address and your cell phone number.  Sammy, now, knows just where to find you for a follow-up.

You’re probably thinking that all that can be solved by having a PO Box and a Google voice number.  Well, what does that do for all the  non-Sleazy Sammys you met.  They see PO Box and think, who am I really dealing with that doesn’t have a REAL address.  And, those Google voice numbers are good if you answer the phone every single time. But, what if you can’t get to it, the robot voice comes on and who likes dealing with those.

Same scenario with SMARTOFFICE:  You use 710 East Main Street and the remote receptionist number that comes with your virtual office package.  710 East Main St. with no box number or suite number gives the impression that that’s your building.  And, rather than your clientele getting the robot voice, they get a friendly and helpful receptionist.  And what of Sammy?  If he stops by 710 East Main, the receptionist will let him know that you’re only available by appointment.  So, he calls and the receptionist transfers him to you.  You might have to talk to him that first time, but you can then let the receptionist know to dodge calls from that particular number.  He’ll give up eventually.  None of the sketchier prospects will ever know exactly where to find you.

3.  Privacy for Productivity’s Sake

As an un-officer, you’re likely the only person in your business clients interface with.  You’re the one solely responsible for providing the services, answering questions, and troubleshooting when there’s a problem.  Most of your clients understand this and trust that you’re working to provide services quickly and efficiently.  But there’s that one who wants all of your attention all of the time day and night.  Let’s call her Needy Nancy.  Now, you don’t mind Needy Nancy as a client.  Her account’s pretty easy to service, and she always pays on time.  But, her constant calling on your cell or home phone (the only one for your business) gets in the way of you getting things done for your other clients. She’s even been bold enough to call after your business hours.  When you didn’t answer, she showed up at your house (the address on your business card).

The Needy Nancys of the world are a problem, but they need services just like the rest of your great clientele.  So what to do?  SMARTOFFICE to the rescue!   You remember that remote receptionist? She gets all of Needy Nancy’s calls now.  Generally, Nancy just wants a human to talk to and pass the time.  She calls with a question, the receptionist doesn’t try to answer it (which might cause a complication for you) she lets Nancy know that you’ll get the message to you and asks Nancy how her day is going.  After a brief chat, Nancy feels attended to and doesn’t call for the rest of the day.  Nancy does drop by 710 East Main from time to time, not because she feels neglected, but because she wants to shoot the breeze.  The real bright side for you is that after 5pm sharp; no business calls come to your cell. They go straight to your professional, personalized voicemail, where your clients can leave a message that you can get to when time permits.

Yes, privacy can be difficult to maintain for un-officers, but a virtual office at Your SMARTOFFICE Solution can certainly make that task a lot easier with a professional address at 710 East Main Street, a cheerful receptionist, and private meeting rooms.