The Virtual Startup

The Virtual StartupImagine you wake up and decided to start your dream company. You begin to go through the checklist:

  • Taxpayer ID number
  • State registration
  • Open the bank account
  • See the lawyer and accountant about how to get it set up right
  • Get your business phone number
  • Create your business cards
  • Start your marketing and networking.

Notice that computers, servers, software, and email are not on your initial list. That is because IT is generally not considered essential (unless you are starting an IT business) in the startup of your new venture. Yet to succeed, you need a computer system that provides you with on-demand access so you can communicate, educate and close business opportunities; all without risking the loss of your data.

Argentstratus believes in the concept of the Virtual Startup. The Virtual Startup answers the question of “What do I need to make my business work?” In a world of limited resources for your startup business, the last thing you want to do is shell out lots of money on hardware and software to make your business work.

Your business cannot afford to use free email accounts: but your business cannot afford to invest in the hardware and software necessary to have an Exchange server either. Your new business cannot afford to miss opportunities to share documents with prospects and referral sources; but your business cannot afford the extra expense of getting the most recent Office® and contact management programs. The Virtual Startup strives to deliver on those opportunities without you needing to invest in any new hardware or software.

With the Private Virtual Office, your startup hits the ground running. Just as the owners of Argentstratus did, you focus your precious resources on the areas of business that make the key difference in your customer’s life. You don’t need angel funding or lots of equity, you need to make sure you know what is vital to your customers and their ability to do business with you. What potentially keeps your customer from doing business with you? Not being able to close the deal on his terms when the time comes. Our Private Virtual Office helps you close business faster because you can safely access your secured desktop from Anywhere, inexpensively and reliably.

Face it: You are going to spend more than enough money upfront to start your business; we think that one of the items that you should never pre-pay for is your computer and data storage. You need a virtual office that gives you all the programs you need with your data stored the way you want, accessible anywhere and at anytime.

How Your Startup Benefits from a Private Virtual Office

Imagine it’s your first day as a new startup. As you eagerly network with other professionals, you realize they are looking at your card and see an unbranded email. It concerns you, but you have more important things to worry about today, like getting sales and making connections. Yet that critical step, branding the company name and email address is an absolute essential for the startup of today. Choosing the name, setting up the website, and then getting branded email to work without expensive IT help is next to impossible. Without a domain and branded email, however, your business stands a much greater chance of never getting off the ground. With the Private Virtual Office, you register your domain and we handle setting up and managing your email so you don’t have to think about it.

As your business grows, so too do the expenses of being in business. Suddenly you need to buy Quickbooks so your spouse can do your invoicing and keep track of your expenses. You need to buy a large external drive to backup your data. Then your computer dies and you have to shell out $1,500 for a new laptop with Office®. You are asking yourself when you get to take a little money out of the business to pay some of your bills.

Argentstratus delivers the Private Virtual Office to help your startup conserve your limited cash while still providing access to the right programs for your business, securely, from anywhere. The Private Virtual Office is a secured virtual desktop delivered through the Remote Desktop Connection to a Terminal Server system that hosts your programs and allows you to access your data from any internet access point. The best part is that Remote Desktop Connection is free on all Windows computers and is a downloadable app for under $20 for other operating systems. Free and low cost are great for startups.

Most importantly though, is that the service is designed so your start-up does not have to invest money in computers or software. The service operates on a “Pay-As-You-Go-Option” which means you only pay for the time and applications you use for your business; a critical point in the early stages where cash is everything. You don’t need powerful PC’s as our servers do all the processing for your virtual desktop. Now, you can work from any device and without worrying about which version of the software the current computer has and if it is compatible with the file on your flash-drive.

Not only do you have a secured centralized space for your business to access anywhere on PAYGO, you can also get access to many more program options and only pay for it if you use it. Why spend $399 for a Quickbook’s license when you can rent it for about $30 a month? Why pay $499 for a customer relationship manager like Act, if you can rent the license monthly? How much money have startup businesses wasted on software licenses they never use in their business?

As a startup, you cannot afford to lose data as everything you create is vital to your success. At the same time, you are trusting older hard drives or laptops and backing up to flash drives. Failure happens because you are faced with that “single point of failure”, one drive, one computer, one hope. With the Argentstratus Private Virtual Office, you no longer face that risk as there is redundancy built into the service to ensure your applications and data are always available when you need them. Have you asked yourself what it would be like to just work without having to think about the technology? Have you considered what your life would be like if you never worried about losing data ever again?

Your Expectation: Our Commitment

Just like your startup, Argentstratus was born of a vision and a message, not a big bank-roll. Our vision was to use existing technology to eliminate the frustration and fear of storing and accessing your company’s programs and data and providing this to businesses for less than half the cost of trying to do this on their own. With a few thousand dollars, some surplus equipment and an ability to weave an interesting story, Argentstratus started business.

The vision: Working Anywhere without the expense and aggravation of owning expensive hardware and software.

The message: Dial Tone.

What is Dial Tone? Dial tone is a story you might find frighteningly similar to something that happened to you or someone you know. Imagine you show up to work on a Monday morning, you go to pick up the phone and you are greeted with dead silence. Question: Are you angry or scared? Right, you are angry. You expect to have your phone service available whenever you pick up the receiver. You are immediately calling the phone company telling them in no uncertain terms what you think of their service and commitment to your ability to communicate. Now, what happens when you show up to the office on a Monday morning and you are greeted by a blue screen with “Critical Exception Occurred Dumping Data”? Same question, are you angry or scared?

We believe you are scared. Dozens of horrifying thoughts go through your head. Have the backups been working? Did you remember to save the document you left as you rushed out the door Friday to have dinner with your family? What if the Quickbooks files can’t be recovered as you have been doing everything electronically? You cannot afford to risk your data as it is absolutely critical to your success so you convince yourself to spend whatever is necessary to protect it.

Do you see the difference? Your computer system is a black hole you pour your business into in hopes it lets you get to it. You really do expect something different.

You expect Dial Tone.

Dial tone is your expectation of spontaneous access to service. Why shouldn’t you expect to get your programs and your data from anywhere, at anytime, just like you expect your cell phone to work? Because you have been led to believe that computers cannot be treated like a phone; like dial tone. Argentstratus just disagrees. The Private Virtual Office delivers your data and applications when you want, where you want without you having to think about it: In short, the Private Virtual Office is Dial tone.

Perhaps you are wondering if there are other alternatives to the Private Virtual Office, and naturally the answer is ‘of course”. First, you might consider Google Docs and Google Apps. This suite can be useful to the right startup, if you do not worry about where your data is located or have compliance and security worries. It is also a little complicated to setup and share documents, but with the help of an IT professional, you can get it to work. You can also use something like Salesforce.com if you are focused on a single program and its benefits to your business.

Or, if you like the idea of employing technical professionals to keep your applications and data always accessible, you can use either Rackspace or own your equipment. Rackspace could be a great option for your business if you own the licenses to your operating system, business programs, and have users scattered all over; i.e. you are funded with lots of cash to throw at a problem. The same holds true for owning your equipment. If you are well financed and you don’t have to worry about making enough to pay bills, then owning server equipment might be right for you. Real life startups are never well financed though so wisely using your money is the only option.

Money, your money, cannot be wasted by investing it in equipment that doesn’t generate revenue. You are going to hit the ground with 10 employees, so you worry an hourly fee, on a PAYGO feature, might not make sense, right? What if you saw that, as your hours of use increased, the rate per hour dropped? Argentstratus believes that you should benefit from the economy of scale available to you if you were a very large company, without the very large company headaches. From your company’s first 20 hours to its 1,000th hour monthly, you see your hourly access charge drop almost 90%. There is no additional fee for storage or for bandwidth used as we already factored that into the hourly charge. Your charge is only for what you are using, not about some range of features you might never use. If you are connected, you pay: if you use programs you pay. If you are busy talking with clients and are disconnected: you don’t. With the Private Virtual Office, you decide, you control, and more importantly, you use the best tools available to help your startup succeed. Do you want to use your limited cash upfront or do you want to conserve your money for investments that actually bring you new business? You choose.

More About Argentstratus and the Future

Maybe by now you are intrigued, so you are asking, “How can I find out more about you?” First there is www.argentstratus.com the Company’s website. It has an “rss” feed from our blog www.argentsratus.wordpress.com so you can read more about what our thoughts on business. You can also follow us on Twitter @argentstratus where we share thoughts about business, marketing, and your desire to work anywhere. On our website www.argentstratus.com is a page dedicated to other ways to find out about us and our business and community involvement, including Facebook and Linkedin. You need to feel comfortable with the service provider and yes, we are a startup less than 1 year into live delivery, but we have decades of combined experience in solving large scale networking challenges.

The Virtual Startup

John Caughell

While securing your data and ensuring your access 24/7 is the most important function we perform, we think that the second biggest opportunity is the other part of telecommunication; the phone. What if you had access to a professional phone system that was accessible from Anywhere? One business number, expandable as you grow, that you pay for as you use. Our Private Virtual Office version 3.0 is all about unified communication. This phone system would be tied into your CRM so that you only have to look up a number in a single file, call and make your notes, all without having to visit multiple programs or address books. Imagine how effective your business communication becomes and how much time you can save when you no longer have to hunt for a number or contact information as it is always there, in your virtual rolodex, safe and secure.

Working With Argentstratus

Independent IT professionals are facing huge pressures today as business becomes more dependent on servers. Those who are looking forward see the opportunity for major cost reductions through centralized off-premise services like the Argentstratus Private Virtual Office. By spreading the costs over thousands of users, businesses, especially startup businesses, can access programs and data from anywhere at very low costs. The forward-looking IT professional is someone we want to work closely with as our only focus is on the backend hardware and software. Clients need to work with an IT professional who can evaluate their needs and help them find the right access device for their situation. Through our Independent Tech Consultant program, we support you moving clients to our secured virtual servers and give you residual income for as long as the client is on our service. Residual income and you get to maintain the relationship and all for doing what is best for the client; moving them to a highly secured off-premise virtual server system.

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2 Responses to “The Virtual Startup”

  1. Dotty says:

    This sounds like a great idea – something I will be looking into when it comes time to replace my system. Being able to access my files anywhere sound very enticing.

  2. Server management is such a vital skill to have as an entrepreneur or in a startup. It is very complicated to start with but more and more becoming essential to any business.

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