Remote businesses are all the rage, especially since the enforced quarantines of 2020 proved that they were viable to a large number of people. However, if you are planning on setting up a remote business – or are planning to convert your current company into one – there are a few tips and tricks you need to learn so you can do it right. Here are 9 remote business tips you can use to maximize the odds of success:
1. Ensure Open Lines of Communication
One of the biggest hurdles a remote business needs to overcome is the challenge of being available. Being remote means not having physical face time with not just your customers, but your employees. If your lines of communication go down or are clogged, you cannot respond to queries or check in on your team. Keep them open by establishing multiple methods of contacting you and your company. Use collaboration tools and social media to stay in touch with both employees and customers, and offer methods that do not involve the Internet, such as text or a landline.
2. Craft Schedule Synergistic Groups
As a remote business, one of the greatest challenges you will face is coordination. Even a 2 or 3 hour time zone difference can make cooperation between two employees more difficult. You need to keep that in mind when creating teams. The more overlap in time zones, the better your employees will perform.
3. Prompt and Deliver Feedback Consistently
The big issue with remote businesses is that the lack of face-to-face encounters often limits discussions to pre-organized or approved topics. That can severely limit the quality your communication lines, between both customers and your team. Keep that from happening by prompting feedback consistently, and by delivering feedback on a regular basis. That makes it easier to both guide your team and answer customer concerns as they come.
4. Keep Morale Up
Office morale is much easier to keep up when people are physically at your location. You can keep an eye on your team, see which ones are having trouble, and act accordingly. That is much more difficult when you have remote workers. You need to make an effort to contact them directly and check-in with how they are faring. Keeping morale up is critical if you want your employees to work at their best, as well as to prevent burnout.
5. Embrace Flexibility
Flexibility is not just the realm of startups. Remote businesses need to stay on their toes if they want to take full advantage of remote workers. For example, instead of getting hung up on the exact minutia of how your employees complete tasks, let them complete them at their pace with only a deadline to guide them. That gives them the flexibility remote workers tend to crave, while simultaneously freeing you up to handle other tasks. You should also consider not setting strict hours for employees to be online and wholly accessible. What you should do instead is to either focus on email (which can be delivered and read regardless of time zone), or set a specific hour for feedback and meetings, and leave employees alone the rest of the time.
6. Get Help
Remote businesses are still a relatively new concept, and thus the concept has not been thoroughly explored or studied. If you can find an expert, someone who has done what they can to learn more about that business structure, get their help. Additionally, you should speak to other owners of remote businesses and share your knowledge. The more you know, the fewer hiccups you will have to deal with.
7. Be More Appreciative
The most overlooked weakness of a remote business is how it affects the personal touch. Since contact is limited, it can be hard to naturally show appreciation for an employee or customer. To regain that personal touch and build relationships, you will need to make a conscious effort to show your appreciation. Send a personal message to an employee who did well, once in a while. Work a “thank you” into your receipts. Those may seem like small acts, but they can mean a lot to people.
8. Be More Picky During Hiring
One of the greatest benefits of running a remote business is that you have a much wider range of people to hire from. You do not need to work with just your local experts – the world is your oyster. Act like it. You can try to find people with more expertise or experience instead of settling for what is immediately available.
9. Keep Pay on Point
Where most remote business fail is thinking that remote workers should be paid less. Do not fall into the trap. Your employees want to be paid. Even the ones who are fortunately enough to be in an industry or job they enjoy will want to get a paycheck that reflects their effort, value, and expertise. Keep the paychecks on point, and you will find it easier to keep turnover rates low.
Running a remote business is far from impossible, but it will require a few adjustments, especially if you are used to running a more traditional company. However those adjustments are, by and large, minute compared to the value you get from giving your employees more freedom. The sooner you embrace those changes, the better off your company will be.