It’s not just on the Internet that nobody knows you don’t have a real office


Sure, your company don't have an office, but that's okay. You can rent a fake one, with a fake receptionist, fake staff, and fake conference rooms, and whenever somebody stops by asking for you, the receptionist is trained to say that you're "out".

Comments (13)
  1. The possibilities boggle the mind. You could have a virtual family too, with a nice picture of a 5-bedroom mansion, dog, wife and children … who are trained to say "Dad’s at the golf course" or "Dad’s out bowling with friends."

    Or, for the internet startup trying to impress venture capitalists .. virtual customers who keep phoning in all day and saying "I’m having trouble accessing my profile information …" as you smile apologetically at your financers .. "Sorry … we’re short on tech staff right now and with our customer base growing so rapidly we all have to chip in"

  2. kbiel says:

    It’s definitely cheaper than hiring Jennifer Marlowe, but probably not as enjoyable.

  3. Leo Davidson says:

    A good idea until one two companies using the same virtual office happen to share a customer who discovers the ruse. :-)

  4. cristian says:

    Well, in latin america that concept is extremely popular, specially in companies which offers services, you can even rent an office per hour ;)

  5. jondr says:

    I’ve seen a CD for sale on the Intertubes that has office noises that you can play while talking on the phone to clients.

  6. Dan says:

    jondr: ThinkGeek probably has some sort of pen sized thing with traffic and other "busy" sounds on it so you can play them when you’re on the phone and get an excuse to hang up.

  7. Dan says:

    Annnnnd… I said that because your comment reminded me of something like that I saw.  Not sure if it was ThinkGeek but that’s the sort of thing they’d carry.

  8. Cheong says:

    I’ve read about this a month earlier on a TV programme.

    Actually it seems to be quite common in major cities in China, where lands in CBDs are very expensive. Certain startup business will choose to "rent-an-office" instead. They only need to paid an inexpensive cost for secretary service, and pay rents only when they need to have a meeting. Some of these offices even offer high quality video-conferencing equipments that most of those companies won’t ever affordable. I’d say it’s a quite decent solution provider business.

    After all, if you can host your e-business company on data center that provides excellent connection speed and 7 x 24 technical support, hosting your "real" business on these "rent-an-office" companies doesn’t look too strange to me. :P

  9. dave says:

    Because everyone likes to do business with someone who’ll lie to you before they’ve even met you.

  10. Brian Tkatch says:

    The cheaper way is a just to have a blog.

  11. po8crg says:

    You can get versions of this that don’t lie for you as well; there are plenty of these companies that will be completely honest that they are a shared office and an answering service.

    Rental office space is a really sensible idea if all of you work out of your homes most of the time.  After all, very few people have a properly-outfitted conference room in their house.

  12. DriverDude says:

    "The possibilities boggle the mind. You could have a virtual family too…"

    Like this?

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19920513&slug=1491524

  13. mikeb says:

    And for thiose times when a virtual receptionist just won’t be enough, you can hire an ‘alibi service’ (http://www.alibinetwork.com/index.jsp) that’ll pretend to be the desk clerk at the hotel for the ‘business meeting’ you’re in, send you some fake airline itineraries, etc.

    I’d bet that some alibi services have a nice secondary business in upkeep fees to keep your business with them from being ‘accidentally’ exposed.

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