Adam Bates is one of Hampshire Workspace’s ‘virtual office’ clients but there’s nothing ghostly about Adam and his business, AJ Computers. He may not have an office in our Southgate Chambers building but we see Adam pretty much every day.
A virtual office provides all the services of an office without the need to rent actual office space. There are many reasons Adam likes having a virtual office at Hampshire Workspace. ‘Having my business anchored here helps because it provides a physical place in the centre of Winchester where customers can walk in and leave or collect their devices,’ he says. He also appreciates being able to mix with people. ‘For me as a business owner, it means it’s not just me in a room- it’s encouraging that there are other businesspeople at Hampshire Workspace.’
Adam gave up a physical office because, as the need for on-site visits increased, he was so often not there. He recalls, ‘I found I was just going backwards and forwards- and still working a lot from my workshop at home.’ So he took a virtual office at Hampshire Workspace. It’s the best of both worlds for Adam at Southgate Chambers- his customers enjoy a central location that provides customer service while he is free to concentrate on his work.
‘I spend a lot of time out and about. I tend to do on-site stuff during the working day and workshop repairs at other times.’ For this reason, he finds our phone answering service particularly helpful. ‘When something has gone wrong, a client wants to be back up and running as soon as possible. It’s good to have the phone answered as AJ Computers when I’m not available.’
Mail handling is another service Adam appreciates, as he receives a regular stream of computer parts that we sign for.
AJ Computers started as a part-time venture for Adam in 2005. Five years later, he went full-time. ‘I do home and business computer repairs and give IT support. This encompasses laptops, smart phones, tablets, cloud and backup provision and security software,’ he explains. ‘A growing area is business support, so there’s the added pressure of people needing a quick response.’
He continues, ‘I mostly deal with micro small businesses- the self employed and companies with up to 10 employees- the size of businesses that can’t afford in-house IT.’ Adam likes working with this size of company: ‘I prefer the personal relationships that you get in small business to small business.’
Adam shares the experience of many one person businesses. ‘There is only me and I work long hours. The worst aspect of a one man business is that you can’t delegate. You have to deal with everything and that can mean a lot of extra hours at times.’ He is looking to expand at some point but acknowledges, ‘It can be harder to manage but I may need to expand with some staff because of the levels of business.
For the moment, it’s all down to him, ‘There’s always a conflict between managing time and helping clients, but my aim is to provide an excellent level of service, so that has to come first. Without a virtual office at Hampshire Workspace I simply would not be able to achieve this. I’ve found the level of service and support provided by Hampshire Workspace to be top notch and I know I can fully trust them to do a good job looking after my clients when I am busy elsewhere’.
Read more here about a virtual office at Hampshire Workspace.
Read more here about AJ Computers.
This blog was written by Paul Lewis, owner of the marketing consultancy Seven Experience based at Hampshire Workspace, and former Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. You can connect with him on Google+ and LinkedIn.