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Remote businesses have become extremely popular. COVID-19 made it even necessary in some areas.
Not only are they a good option for employees but the business owners as well.
More and more people prioritize setting up their own remote businesses as it gives them more control and flexibility over their lives.
This article provides a complete guide to starting, growing, and managing a remote business.
What is a remote business?
A remote business is one where you work from here.
This working arrangement offers you flexibility as both you and your employees can work from home or anywhere else in the world.
While some businesses can work from home or come into the office, remote businesses have no corporate office and are run completely online.
To run and work for a remote business, all you need is your laptop and a good internet connection.
Why should you start a remote business?
There are many ways remote businesses save money compared to other businesses.
Remote businesses have lower startup costs as there is no rent to pay for office space, utilities, furniture, office supplies, cleaning services, food, and other workplace necessities.
It is also more cost-effective for the employees as they do not have to spend money and time commuting to the workplace.
Again, this aspect saves businesses more money as they no longer need to arrange their employees’ commute.
Improved Quality of Life
Remote working has now become extremely important for employees as they control their own work environment.
This increases their satisfaction and productivity levels as they work comfortably from their home and not from a busy office which can sometimes be distracting.
With absolutely no commute, employees get more sleep and are more energized when they get to work.
From a business perspective, if you have happier employees, you have a team that works well together and works more productively.
Remote businesses have access to a wider talent pool as they are not limited to hiring employees from a specific geographical location.
Therefore, remote businesses benefit from accessing a broader range of candidates who may better fit the company than local candidates.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
In today’s socio-political climate, organizations are under extreme pressure to reduce their carbon footprint and become more environmentally friendly.
It may be difficult for a traditional firm to switch to remote working and do so, so starting a remote business and avoiding that transition period is a huge advantage.
Since there is no office to commute to, a significantly lower amount of greenhouse gases is being produced as a remote business.
How to Start A Remote Business
Starting a remote business is a simple and easy process.
After looking at some of the benefits of starting a remote business, here is what you need to do to get started:
Generate a Business Plan
The first step is to outline a business plan. You need to understand what your business does clearly, the services or products it offers, how it makes money, and its goals.
You need to have a step-by-step plan in place on how you wish to achieve your goals.
Your business plan should also identify clear key performance indicators (KPIs) and any issues you think the business will potentially face.
A good business plan is crucial, as this is what potential investors see when they consider which businesses to invest in.
Get a Virtual Business Address
You will need a business address when you register your business.
This allows you to receive business emails and set up a business bank account.
Since you have a remote business and there is no office, you can use your home address.
Alternatively, suppose you wish to keep your personal information separate from your business.
In that case, you can use a virtual business address through a mailbox service.
Register the Remote Business
After getting a virtual business address, you will need to register your remote business.
Here is where you decide the business name, choose an appropriate business structure depending on how much tax you want to pay, and to what extent you want to be held personally liable.
If you want to learn more about registering a business in Hong Kong, you can look at our article here.
Funding & Managing Costs
Although remote businesses have lower startup costs than regular businesses, a few costs still need to be managed.
This includes website development, website management, marketing, legal fees, insurance, and technological tools.
Remote businesses also come with their own distinct expenses depending on their policies and employee benefits.
If you wish to provide your employees with work laptops and phones, this will be an extra expense.
Additionally, depending on how you want to manage your business, the type of software you use to manage your teams is also an expense.
You could also think about how you can get funding for your remote business through business loans, crowdfunding, or angel investors.
Develop a Marketing Plan
It is extremely important to have a strong marketing plan regardless of your remote business’s type of service or product.
Most remote businesses and startups become unsuccessful as they do not have an audience due to poor marketing.
Firstly, you will need to identify a target audience that will benefit from the product or service you are providing.
Secondly, you need to identify who your competitors are within the market so you can start focusing on setting yourself apart from them.
A good marketing plan outlines the target audience and the steps the business takes to connect with that audience to increase its sales.
Create a Remote Work Policy
The key to a successful remote business is a good remote work policy.
Any disorganization or lack of communication can lead to huge delays.
It would be best if you outlined your expectations from employees in terms of their communication, availability, timings, and responsiveness so every employee can be easily accessed when needed despite working from different locations.
Remote work policies also cover requirements and guidelines for data protection, minimum working hours, and set targets.
Other policies to consider when setting up a remote business include the employee code of conduct policy, employee disciplinary action policy, Bring Your Own Device policies, compensation and benefits policy, travel policies, work schedule policies, and employee complaint policies.
Such policies are important to keep employees and management accountable for their actions, ensure that the business is compliant with all legal requirements, and, most importantly, the expectations of the remote business.
Once Your Remote Business is Set Up
Hiring Remote Employees
Once you have successfully set up a business and created a remote work policy, you can start hiring and finding a team to run your business.
Based upon the nature of your business, you will need to list the roles that need to be filled for the business to operate smoothly.
Once you have identified the roles, you need to think about the skills, competencies, and qualities required from a candidate to perform each role’s duties successfully and responsibilities.
After identifying the type of candidate you are looking for, you will need to write the job descriptions for each role.
Therefore, a job description reflects the company and needs to be written extremely well to attract the right candidate.
You will also need to think of a recruitment process to consider and test each applicant carefully.
After doing so, you need to post your job description on your website or any other job board to advertise the opening.
Develop a Smooth Onboarding Process
When you’ve found the right candidates for your business, you should make sure to have a smooth virtual onboarding process.
Usually, employees find onboarding easier to build relationships in person, which is why you need to make even more of an effort virtually.
To do so, you will need to have all cameras on to create a more ‘face-to-face’ environment and communicate effectively.
This may also include having one-on-one meetings to ensure that each new employee is valued and understands company processes.
Additionally, you should also set up a remote working support group or helpline where the employer can address all concerns regarding onboarding.
It is important to have extra support available.
If you truly want to grow your remote business, you may need to think beyond using Microsoft Office 365 and Zoom.
You may want to consider integrating project management tools or practice management systems to streamline your business functions.
Project management tools such as Trello allow you to keep track of your projects remotely by allowing you to assign tasks, set due dates, and manage the overall progress of each project.
Other popular project management tools include Monday, Basecamp, and Wrike.
Additionally, you could also use video conferencing and chat platforms such as Slack to improve internal communication.
Lastly, suppose the nature of your business involves dealing with confidential information and personal data.
In that case, it is recommended to integrate some level of cybersecurity into your business data management to add an extra layer of protection from hacking or data leakages.
Conduct Regular Reviews
It may be hard to keep track of projects remotely, which is why you should conduct regular reviews with your employees.
This ensures that you are up to date with how work is progressing and provides you with an opportunity to see how your employees are feeling and if there is anything you can do to support them.
This regular interaction ensures that your employees feel valued and encourages them to be more productive and continue with the business.
Although the process of starting a remote business is quite simple, there are many factors you need to think of before you begin operating your business.
This is exactly why you need to break down each step and carefully analyze what needs to be done so you can start your business smoothly without any disruptions.
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