While we have often told our readers about the benefits of virtual office arrangements over using a P.O. Box, this week we learned of a lost business opportunity caused by a small business owner that uses a P.O. box.
One of our newest office-space rental prospective clients told us of a recent incident whereby his sister-in-law experienced running her home-based business through a P.O. Box. Seems that this entrepreneur made a major deal with a new supplier and then did not get the contract because the P.O. Box provider would not sign for the receiving of the confirmation letter from the originator of the contract, but instead sent it back to the sender marked “undelivered.” This ended up causing them to have to re-send the contract to a friend’s business address.
Having to get a vendor, supplier or a potential customer to send mail and packages to a third-party address does not look professional and can be detrimental to any small business. Having a virtual office provider that legitimizes your business by accepting and signing for important documents makes tells people that you actually have a physical, professional office space and are not working out of a P.O. Box.
Business address optics aside, what about access to your mail? Many P.O. Box locations do not give you 24/7 access to your business mail, whereas most virtual office providers do. When considering access to your business mail, when was the last time you heard that the Post Office will forward your mail to another address? Neither Canada Post or the U.S. Postal Service offer mail forwarding from a P.O. Box. Therefore, it is your job to go pick it up or have a third party forward it to you.
Even if your P.O. Box is not actually with a postal service and instead with a mailbox-type retail store, your customer or client can still look it up on Google Maps. When they do a search on map programs, will they find a professional looking business – or will they find a storefront mailbox-type retail store?