Picture yourself clinching a big deal on your laptop or being part of a meeting without even having to leave home – the evolution of technology has made this possible.
Besides good planning, there are many factors to consider when building and setting up a successful remote business. Here are other key things to help you on your way:
Get your technology sorted
Technology is what makes running a remote business possible, so a non-negotiable is excellent and reliable internet connectivity. Once that has been sorted out, ensure that the software you’re using to manage your business works for you: set it up so that you are alerted when significant activity takes place; for example, when an order is dispatched, a payment is made or a product over a certain value is ordered.
Move onto the cloud
The introduction of cloud computing is a godsend for anyone wanting to start or run a remote business. Not only does it allow one to access skills and services virtually, it also provides a platform that facilitates remote working and collaboration. For example, using cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive means that all documents can be accessed from anywhere securely. Of course, this means that any paper documentation needs to be digitised.
Trust your staff
Spend time finding the right partners and employees and building the right kind of relationships with them. If you can’t trust someone to work without being supervised, perhaps reconsider employing them.
Tap into the power of freelancers and virtual assistants
As an example, a manufacturer does not need to own or run its own logistics operation any more than it needs to pay the salary of a legal advisor or a digital marketing specialist. Why not consider contracting these non-core services to expert suppliers? In this way, even a start-up or small company can access the same calibre of specialist skills that a massive corporate can, but without having to tie up capital or management focus.
There are a number of sites that offer you ways of accessing freelancers and virtual assistants. However, just as you would in a ‘normal’ interview, remember to always ask for references and check on them. Virtual assistants can take care of administrative or regular tasks on a contract basis, with specialists such as digital marketers or analytics experts called in as needed.
Learn how to communicate virtually
Any business owner knows that staying in touch with employees, business partners and clients is critical. However, this doesn’t always have to be in person. The internet offers a variety of ways to keep in touch with key role-players in your business, supplementing the alerts you have set up on the various software platforms used by your business.
Again, it is worth spending time familiarising yourself with what is available, and working out which works best for you and your extended team. Some channels are better suited for specific functions. For example, a webinar platform might be better for presenting a new product or sales idea, whereas a Skype or Hangouts teleconference is sufficient to deal with a specific issue, and so on. Videoconferencing and virtual meetings have come a long way and thanks to abundant bandwidth, now work well.
Manage your risk
Every business owner needs to regularly assess what the risks facing your business are and how best to mitigate them. When it comes to risk, a close relationship with an insurer or broker is invaluable. The right kind of insurance will provide not only for compensation in the event of a disaster, but will also provide access to specialised service providers to put things back on track.