Just because you need employees doesn’t mean you need an office with all that overhead. Why not build a virtual network of employees where you communicate with each other via phone, e-mail and fax to get the job done?
An entrepreneurs couple, Greg and Anthea, did just that with their market research and analytics business, Outsell Inc., in Burlingame, California. During four years they ran the business from a traditional office space with employees. But in 1998, Anthea interviewed a highly qualified job candidate whose husband had recently been transferred to Maine. Says Stratigos, “Greg and I looked at each other, and that was the sign from the universe. We went with it.”
They repositioned Outsell to be a virtual company, with a virtual office, and soon expanding to include 35 virtual employees nationwide. Though finding a health plan to cover employees in so many states proved to be a challenge, Outsell’s sophisticated intranet, telephone and e-mail systems keep their virtual team tightly connected. Now with 2005 sales projected at about $7 million, the setup seems to be working.