Flexible leases with no up-front costs suit many needs, writes William Willems, Regus regional vice-president for Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

A main cost of businesses expanding overseas is setting up a new office. Ideally, small businesses want to establish themselves near other like-minded organisations so they can approach a new market together and use their critical mass.

What property solutions are small businesses with international aspirations coming up with?

Our recent research suggests companies with overseas operations generate more revenue and profits than those focused on the domestic market, so as with any commercial decision, it is a question of risk versus reward.

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While many factors need to be considered when expanding abroad, such as the terms of trade, taxation, payments system and culture, there are many effective and cost-efficient ways of moving cross-border. The virtual office, for example, has provided a platform for firms of all sizes to access global markets at a fraction of the cost.

How can serviced offices make it easier for business entering a new market?

Flexible workspace is the easiest way. Before establishing full service operations, test the market before making a long-term commitment. A virtual office enables companies to do just this - by providing a signature business address and a dedicated office space.

What sort of commitment do companies have to make to secure some space in a serviced office? Are they paying for space monthly or annually?

We've a variety of different options - from one day to as long as needed. Many longer-term options and different-sized spaces are available at preferred rates. Having a flexible term lease with no up-front costs means companies don't have to worry about being held to long-term commitments should they need to exit the market.

Can companies know who else they might be sharing serviced office space with? Opportunities to collaborate?

A Regus centre houses hundreds or even thousands of companies. Countless examples exist of our customers collaborating or finding new business because they are working from a Regus location.

We are currently developing new tools to support this.

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Are many overseas businesses coming to New Zealand and starting business with serviced offices? Do serviced offices suit any particular sector?

Hundreds of international businesses of all sizes use Regus globally, such as Google, Nokia and GE. In New Zealand, we've helped a number of large IT and online firms establish their operations, as well as SMEs such as regional recruitment firms.

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We want to solve your business problems. From tax headaches to recruitment nightmares - every week, with the help of specialists, we will answer your questions on any topic related to business. Send your questions to Gill at: Southgill1@gmail.com