Plugging Into the Pros and Cons of Running a Virtual Business

As online businesses continue to skyrocket in popularity, many self-run companies and start-ups have taken the plunge into virtual operations to keep up with the competition. 

While running a virtual business isn’t for everyone, it can be a lucrative opportunity for those who can manage it. If you’re unsure about the prospect of building a virtual business, read on for the pros and cons of online-only corporations.


Before you write off the idea of a virtual enterprise, take a look at the numerous advantages. 

Low overhead expenses

When running a virtual business, calculating steep property costs into your budget becomes a non-issue. Instead of wasting valuable money on rent, utilities, and other in-office expenses, you can allocate funds to day-to-day operations while you work from home.

Additionally, remote positions are becoming increasingly popular in our ever-growing digital world, so offering at-home employment will draw in a more extensive hire base. Ultimately, running virtual operations will save you money and your employees’ frustrating commutes. 

Bigger and better staff

When your employees work from home, you don’t have to account for the square footage of your office, parking availability, number of desks, and more. You can have as many employees as your payroll can handle, and you won’t be limited to the size of your office.

You also have access to a broader talent pool if you hire employees across the country or worldwide. So, if your ideal candidate lives in San Francisco but you’re based in New York, they can still be a valuable part of your team.

Satisfied employees

Not only can you expand your team with a virtual business, but most employees prefer the flexibility and comfort of working from home. Lengthy commutes become obsolete, uncomfortable business attire goes out the window, and unpleasant office setups are no more with virtual business. 

Ultimately, allowing employees to work from the comfort of their own homes can boost employee satisfaction and, in turn, strengthen productivity. 


Though there are undeniable pros to starting a virtual business, there are potential drawbacks to a fully digital enterprise. 

Available technology and IT help

When employees work from home, you have two options: supply them with the necessary devices (computer, headset, etc.) or allow them to use their own devices. The former can break the bank without required funds, while the latter can place additional pressure on employees to spend money on faster, functional devices. 

With either option, keeping devices in good working condition can be challenging without an active IT team to solve system failures and troubleshoot device malfunctions. 

Lack of visibility

Running your business online means there is no storefront to advertise your services to people passing by. From a marketing standpoint, you lose that immediate visibility. However, targeted online advertising can be more successful than physical marketing with proper exposure plans. 

Less camaraderie

With a remote team, your employees potentially spread far and wide, which can negatively impact camaraderie and team spirit. Many workers rely on professional relationships to problem solve, fulfill social needs, and keep accountability, which can be challenging in a virtual environment. 

Fortunately, virtual meetings, chat groups, and management applications can help combat disconnect.

Final thoughts

Though not every business will thrive under a virtual model, those with the proper resources and know-how can dive deep into the digital world to boost revenue and scale operations. By taking an honest inventory of your capabilities and considering the advantages and disadvantages, you can successfully leap into virtual business management. 

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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