Technology has been making a global economy more possible for startups and small business via establishing virtual locations. It, therefore, follows that other technology-based trends that aren’t beholden to physical objects have begun to be preferred by individuals around the world. With virtual currency gaining worldwide acceptance, businesses should be able to accommodate this growing need in their business model. In this article, we will look at how businesses can leverage virtual locations and virtual currency to serve international customers.
First, What is a Virtual Location?
Virtual locations are a type of business venture where the majority of interactions are handled primarily through digital means of communication, including live chat, phone, email, and so forth. When an organization creates a business presence in a country or region using the Internet and related technologies, it stakes a claim without having to suffer through regulations and risk associated with establishing a physical presence in a new country or region.
Because every business model is different, there is no consensus on what defines what a virtual location is comprised of. However, there are elements that many have in common and it goes to follow that the more accessible and authentic of an online presence you create, the greater your company will be accepted in new countries.
First, having a website is mandatory. This serves as a digital hub in which most of your virtual location revolves around. Because you’ll need to staff this virtual location, online collaboration tools can help establish a virtual office, where everyday tasks and projects can be managed while also handling inquiries from customers. These inquiries can be handled in a number of fashions, including using virtual phone numbers and toll free numbers to give your business a professional sheen and open accessibility, as callers aren’t charged for the “privilege” of contacting your company. And, as you’ll need to market your company digitally, social media is a must to get the word out.
However, there is another component to virtual locations that must be confronted: exchanging funds to and from your business.
What Does Virtual Currency Have to Do with This?
Now, you may be asking what virtual currency has to do with a virtual location. After all, many banks and other financial institutions can transfer money almost instantaneously. However, there is a growing concern among many forward-thinking individuals that these financial institutions are unnecessary middlemen. Worse, having to endure fluctuating currency exchange rates and rapid inflation (sometimes very disadvantageous, like in Venezuela), as well as needless taxation from government institutions is becoming a bane to those who want to participate in a global economy. For those that aren’t satisfied that many governments have moved to a “fiat currency,” where a currency’s value is dictated by governance instead of a gold standard, virtual currency seems more “real.” Smart individuals look to virtual currency as the solution for conducting international commerce.
Fraud is also a huge obstacle in international commerce. With the ability to transfer funds so rapidly between banks, scam artists have been able to exploit traditional loopholes that stay ahead of slow-moving financial institutions. To compound this, these banks may not have the resources or international rapport to interface with banks in other countries, as shown in China and the United States’ opposing views on how money is exchanged.
And as you may also know, virtual currency circumvents traditional banking and financial institutions by keeping transactions anonymous. With Bitcoin and other virtual currencies gaining mass-acceptance, this anonymity is valued for those that may not want their assets unnecessarily taxed or their actions tracked. In the past, virtual currency was reserved for those who wanted to participate in “secondary markets” like The Silk Road, while others used cryptocurrency to avoid casting “dollar votes” to financial institutions they believed were unresponsive to consumer concerns.
Therefore, offering virtual currency as part of your virtual location is a growing part of conducting business in the 21st century.
One of the first things to do to accept virtual currency is to set up a virtual wallet, where your bitcoins are stored. As each wallet has its own security features, ID systems, and backup options, it is important to pick the best wallet (here’s a quick guide).
Then, you must announce to your customer base that you can accept virtual currency as a viable payment method. This can be through your website, company materials, advertisements, social media announcements, and so forth.
Finally, you will need to set up an application that helps facilitate the process. Some of the most popular include BitPay, KeepKey, CoinBase, and Trezor — each of these has added functionalities to help customers through the payment process. Once a transaction is created, a QR code is created between two users, which is added to the blockchain as a type of receipt for the transaction.
Author’s Bio: As a business writer with over 15 years of experience, Tom Senkus helps startups and small businesses navigate a global economy by leveraging the newest tech and trends. For more information and his list of published work, visit www.tomsenkuswriter.com