Doing Business Virtually
It's possible, in today's interconnected, 24/7, global economy, to set up your business in any variety of places.
In many cases, you must be present to review the workplace, or you need in-person meetings - these include on-site audits, manufacturing visits, higher-level meetings, or work that needs to be performed at the job location. However, in a growing number of cases, you can handle your work through internet and phone.
Most people already have or can get access to e-mail, voicemail, fax-through-email, Dropbox, phone and toll-free tools like RingCentral or Grasshopper, phone conferencing like through FreeConference.com, web conferencing tools like WebEx, Google Hangouts, or Skype, an ability to manage projects using simple online tools like Asana or Basecamp, an ability to invoice using online billing software like Quickbooks Online, and an ability to accept payment using PayPal or Google Checkout.
When it comes to an actual physical address or office location, you have options for mailing only, receptionist service, conference meeting rooms or board rooms, and/or day office use.
With many businesses needing an address or physical presence within a particular region, city, or state, there are many available options to help establish that presence. Consider three of your options:
1) Get an address in the city of your choice. Have physical mail sent to that address faxed or scanned to you, such as with Earth Class Mail. There is no physical meeting space available to you at that address.
2) Get a managed office in the city of your choice. This allows you to have a physical address, as well as a receptionist and the ability to book rooms for meeting space and receive administrative support, such as with ServCorp. These offices are typically in central locations in financial districts, easily accessible for in-person meetings.
3) Get a "virtual" office. With this option, you do not have space for an in-person meeting but can organize videoconferencing and online meeting through a central "hub" through which you may organize your information. For example, you can find Virtual Offices in Sydney, Australia.
The top North American cities in which to have a presence include New York, Washington D.C. Boston, Atlanta, and Miami on the east coast, Los Angeles and San Francisco on the west coast, and Houston, Dallas, Chicago, in between, as well as Mexico City D.F. or Panama City.
International financial or commerce hubs in Europe include London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Milan, Prague, Brussels and Geneva. In the Middle East, centers are in Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia. In Asia, prominent growth is happening in India, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, as well as in Australia and New Zealand, while additional centers that figure significantly in economic outlook are in South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Depending on your business needs, what time zone you're located in, where your staff or virtual assistant team is, and what your business needs are, a combination of the above may work, in whichever region you're looking to "set up shop."
Remember to also file with the government of your desired region to create an established company. Depending on the country, this will be the Department of Commerce or an equivalent agency to handle new business formation, licensing, taxes, and other documentation.