Successfully breaking into the business world is hard for just about everyone, but there can often be unique entry barriers for female entrepreneurs.
One element that can help women have a professional edge is a virtual office or co-working space, say some experts in the field. A virtual office offers small business owners an official address, communication options and flexible working space.
“It’s so flexible,” said Coco Quillen, vice president of operations at Davinci, a virtual office provider with offices in Salt Lake and Utah counties. “You get to handcraft your package, and it gives you the same edge as everyone else. And it’s just really easy.”
Home-based business owners can use a virtual office space for conferences, mail delivery, customer service and as part-time dedicated work space. Quillen said they have clients who rent by the hour, the day or the month. All offices in the Davinci lineup are very modern, with audio-visual and technology options in the conference rooms, dedicated cubicle or collaborative offices, even event space.
Quillen said many of Davinci’s clients are lawyers, consultants, tech startups and accountants, but small business owners run the gamut from a fitness equipment reseller to a tire company.
“We provide small- to mid-size businesses the tools to grow, and the competitive edge to look bigger at an affordable price. It also allows for work/life mobility,” she explained. “And it’s exciting when clients outgrow Davinci.”
Virtual office spaces can also aid established companies. Big Leap, an online marketing company, enjoys its Lehi headquarters, and is poised to expand. But Bryan Phelps, founder and CEO of Big Leap, said the company still counts itself a Davinci client.
“They are kind of like the Airbnb of office space,” Phelps said, explaining that Big Leap executives and employees use Davinci in Utah, and when traveling abroad, as a virtual Big Leap office. The virtual offices are an easy and convenient way to hold client meetings or leadership retreats.
“It gives us all flexibility,” he added.
Big Leap employees who work remotely also enjoy using virtual offices and co-working spaces. Co-working locations often encourage businesses to rent office space on a longer term. Phelps said one employee who lived in Seattle enjoyed co-working offices because he wasn’t so isolated and could build relationships with other remote workers.
“It’s a good way to get out from your home without having to pay for a big dedicated office,” Phelps added.
Helping female entrepreneurs in this way is important to Davinci, Quillen said, and the company show this in the way it’s organized. About 90 percent of Davinci’s own workforce is female. The company recently earned an award at the Women’s Leadership Institute’s 4th Annual ElevateHER Challenge, for its focus on fostering and elevating female leadership.
Quillen herself started Davinci 12 years ago as a receptionist. Her rise in leadership isn’t unique. She said Davinci is dedicated to promoting from within.
“It’s cool to watch our employees go through the same path,” Quillen said. “A large section of our client base is female, and our employees feed on empowering women.”