There are many reasons to start a remote business. Many bricks-and-mortar businesses with an office have gone remote and stayed remote since Covid-19 hit our shores. While the pandemic forced many companies to adopt remote working operations, many have found that it is more productive and profitable thanks to reduced overheads. While remote work remains a necessity in some areas of the world, in the UK, it is now an option. An option that many are embracing.
Thanks to tools and platforms such as WordPress, Shopify and Zoom, there has never been a better time to start a remote business. The technology is in place, the questions around productivity have been answered. With lower overheads, remote companies mitigate the startup costs that have put many would-be entrepreneurs off the idea of founding their own business.
This article will look at the challenges of running a business remotely and how to prepare for the market.
Please note that this article is for entertainment only and does not constitute business or financial advice.
Advantages of Starting a Remote Business
There are many advantages to starting a remote business; these include:
– Lower startup costs
– Lower overheads
– Reduced carbon footprint
– More control over the work environment
– Save time on commuting
There are, of course, several disadvantages too. Team communication and company culture can be challenging. Without an office, personal communication can become less ad hoc and therefore less natural. In person, conversations make it much easier to interpret body language and tone, which can help to avoid misunderstandings.
Remote Working Tips
In this Ted Talk YouTube video, Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, outlines some of his best tips for starting and running a remote business.
– Document everything
It is easy to make decisions and understand “the why?” behind them when everyone is working together in the same room. If anyone is not present in a conversation, they may see decisions being made without them and not understand the thinking behind it. Document where you were, what you were thinking and how you came to each decision. This documentation will allow others to pick up from where you left off.
It is also important to document processes and onboarding procedures so that new hires know exactly how everything is done.
– Catch up in Person
With clients and colleagues, it can be important to have some face to face time. Meeting in person can help to make sure that everyone is aligned and understands what is going on. It can also help to facilitate a deeper connection, allowing future collaboration to work with greater fluidity.
One of the potential issues and stumbling blocks with remote businesses relates to communication.
From the offset, make sure that you have all the correct tools in place. A video conferencing and chat program such as Microsoft Teams is essential, as is a project management tool such as Trello.
To enable collaboration, you will also want to invest in a tool such as Google Drive to ensure that all employees have access to live documents and spreadsheets.
Tools of the Trade
Technology has made remote work not only feasible but, in many instances, more productive and profitable than office-based work.
Communication tools such as Zoom and Teams are fundamental and necessary to allow efficient communication if you work directly with freelancers, employees and/or clients.
Mobile and desktop applications can be beneficial when it comes to running a remote business. Virtual receptionists, also known as telephone answering apps such as Moneypenny, can help you give the appearance and the level of customer service that comes with having an in house receptionist, even if you are working from your shed.
Project management tools such as Trello or Asana are also extremely helpful for organising workflows and projects. Even if you work alone, it can help these tools can help you manage your different clients’ work and keep everything structured.
A good screen recording tool is also very helpful whilst working remotely. The adage states that “a picture speaks a thousand words”, so a video must speak at least ten thousand. A video tutorial is the most efficient way to explain or show colleagues or clients who to do something on your computer. Fluid is a screen recorder that enables multiple people to collaborate on one video. Fluid is great for training videos, onboarding training, video presentations and demonstrations.
If you are a solopreneur, chances are you will have to fulfil many roles of the business during a typical working day. When it comes to graphic design, there are many great tools for those who are not savvy with Photoshop or Illustrator. Canva and Venngage are great tools for creating video thumbnails, infographics and social media graphics.
You should also consider investing in some additional security software. NordVPN allows you to create more secure connections to the internet. NordVPN can be installed and set up quickly and works on all devices and browsers.
Before You Start
Before you invest any money into your business idea, do some preparation.
– Create a business plan
– Identify your target market
– Identify gaps in the market
– Analyse your competitors
– Evaluate the size of the market
You can use a tool such as UberSuggest to examine the online competition. Start by making a list of your competitor’s websites and write down any “search terms” that potential customers would use to find your business. For example, if you are a digital marketing freelancer, you might want to appear in the Google results for terms such as “digital marketing freelancer”, “hire digital marketing executive”, and “SEO consultant”.
Enter your search terms into UberSuggest, or another tool such as SEMRush and look at the search volume and the competitiveness. These tools will help you assess the size of the online market and the cost of using Google Ads for relevant search terms.
Think too about the operational flow of the business. How will products and services be delivered?
If, for example, you are starting an eCommerce business, what software will you use to create your shop, which hosting provider and will you stock or dropship products?
As well as delivering products and services, you will have to consider how you will deliver your marketing messages to your target audience.
First, identify your target audience – their age, gender, income, hobbies and pain points. Once you know exactly who you are targeting, find out where they hang out online. For example, if you target small business owners, join small business groups on Facebook and Reddit. Take time to read some of the popular posts and get to know your customers.
By understanding your target market, you can create relevant and helpful blog, video and social media content and target them via the correct websites and channels. Content marketing and sharing useful, helpful content that will resonate with your target market is a great way to build your brand online. Unfortunately, content marketing takes a lot of time, effort, research and skill to put together. You can, however, hire freelancers for a relatively affordable fee on websites such as UpWork and PeoplePerHour. For example, if you need a video editor or graphic designer.
Using Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and if you are in the business to business sector – Linkedin Ads – can be a direct and fast way to drive sales and leads. Before you commit to spending any money, however, it is definitely worth watching or reading some recent step by step tutorials on how to optimise the campaigns. Unfortunately, it can be very easy to spend lots of money inefficiently, and it’s easy to spend thousands without anything to show for it if you are not up to date on the best practices.
Running your own business is never easy. However, the legitimisation of remote work has made it more affordable than ever. Whether you start the business as a side hustle or a full-time venture, you can streamline your workflow by using the right technology and outsourcing. Get to know the wants, needs and issues of your target market and create a product or service that makes life easier for them. A combination of content marketing and paid advertising gives any business a good chance of reaching and engaging with potential customers online.