6 key ways to build a successful remote business

Technology has made it possible for people to connect and conduct business worldwide without having to travel across seas to clinch a deal.

1.) 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.

2.) 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.

3.) 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.

4.) 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.

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. 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.

5.) 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.

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.

Again, it is worth spending time familiarising yourself with what is available, and working out which works best for you and your extended team.

6.) 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.

Every business has its challenges and as an owner, you need to ensure that your enterprise is structured solidly. With business insurance being one of the most important things to consider when starting a business, make sure you compare business insurance quotes and choose the one that will be best for your business.

Pieter Dempsey

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