Here is a question for you all. I was considering doing a step up and getting a decent office more in the public view. Now I am trying to weight the cost benefit of this and would like your opinions on it.
I am not talking a small office in a small building but a decent sized office on a well traveled road.
We are a profitable company and I am just trying to keep it that way . The market we are currently in we do not target at all (Gainesville, FL) but yet there are really no competitiors. (atlantic.net and a company called ********). I am thinking of going after the market locally and already have partnered up with a few web firms to do so.
Hmm, I dunno. Who would walk into an office for webhosting? People do not go shopping for it. They search the internet. (at least I think they do..)
On the other hand, if you actively try to get companies in your town/area as your clients and you visit their offices and when they ask you, "ok, give me your address and I;ll call you back" then mentioning you work from your bedroom isn't doing you much good either
It's a simple cost calculation. How much does the office cost, how much extra income do you expect to get from your local area BECAUSE you have the office and then see if it balances out.
Ofcourse there are additional nice extras to having an office. Especially if you have your staff working from your bedroom as well. Especially the nightshift working from your bedroom while you try to sleep can be rather annoying
We do have an office of sorts, but there are "extenuating circumstances" I guess you could say. We own a retail store (a nice gift shop), and we maintain offices at this location. We have a nice setup, nice desks, computers, etc., so if any customers want to come by they can.
BUT....we seldom get a customer just walk in looking for web hosting. I have a full staff of sales people, and we go out and solicit the business. The web hosting for us is something we've been doing for about 2 yrs.
We've been in the web page design, desk-top publishing, "creative marketing" business for 7 yrs. We get far more customers thru the doors for this end of the business.
To open us a "storefront" just for web hosting I'm not sure would be a beneficial proposition. If you were doing web page design, or some other type of computer related business that you actually needed the space anyhow, then maybe...but just web hosting I'd have to agree with Pilgrim, people just don't go out shopping for web hosting. You have to go out looking for them.
We don't have office space anymore, but when we did, it was in an industrial park. It wasn't a storefront. Our lease didn't even allow us to have retail customers. We had a suite in a building across from the airport with our sign on the door. We had half of a good sized building, and it was a well traveled road. But people didn't come into the industrial park to shop.
Even if we were downtown, next to starbuck's, I wouldn't expect any walk in customers. Do you know how many business there are downtown that have office space, but no one knows what they do? Because they don't have "Yes, we're OPEN" signs in the window, and they don't offer any walk in type service. They just have office space conveniently located downtown, so that they're employees can take the bus to work and eat anywhere they want for lunch, and so that they can say they're located downtown.
So I'm not sure why having office space has anything to do with bringing in customers. It's more about needing office space.
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If you were in your customers shoes looking for web hosting, where would you go? The internet or the local "hosting store"? The only time you would realy need some office space, is if you have several staff who aren't prepared to work from home. Sales people for example may not like to work from home, they may want to be at a central location where they can take calls or email or whatever, without using their home phones/computers.
Also night shift people tend to like to get together and have LAN wars when things are going smoothly - ping times are better over a 100mbit LAN than a 56k modem
On a more serious note though, it also depends if you want that clear distinction between home and work. Some people need to be able to actually leave work for the day, and leaving an office does that. If you office is your home, often you find it hard to separate your home life from your work life. On the plus side though, working from home is definately cheaper than working from an office.
Just wanted to note, you are having a very nice designed web site....
Clean and easy to navigate, attracts the visitors, brings up the trust ( because In today's always-on world, a company's Web site is critical to its ability to compete and succeed.), leads the visitor to the order form, and finally become a valued client.
The most important things were mentined above.... Clean, easy to navigate, brings up the trust, leads to order page.
Wish you lucks !
Executive Director | Micfo
delivering the divine hosting experience™ | AS53889 www.micfo.com
#1) Your sign on a big road
#2) Prospective customers like to see your office. I am just thinking of nailing my local market with some serious advertising and figuring out what the best way to do it would be.