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Starting a Business Remotely - some top tips
by Startacus Admin
In days gone by, creating a business was a very different ball game to what it is now.
Of course the general idea remains the same, but the day-to-day processes have changed dramatically, not least of which is the range of environments in which a business can now be created and developed.
Not many years ago the necessity of having a custom dedicated business space, such as an office or retail outlet, was an expensive and complex reality; but not any more. For a wide range of businesses, the digital age has all but eliminated the need for this particular resource drain.
The things you must consider if starting a business remotely
Starting a business remotely has never been more convenient or open to so many people as it is today; but as is often the case, with great opportunity also comes great challenges. Working remotely to create a business is an interesting phenomenon, because it has created a set of unique challenges alongside those which already exist within the more traditional business space.
These encompass an incredible range of issues covering everything from, the effective use of burgeoning technology, to the daily logistical difficulties of creating, growing, and sustaining a business from a non-traditional space.
As more and more people select this option as a route to entrepreneurialism, it becomes increasingly important that we advance some solutions to help curtail the negative impact such issues can have.
To this end, here are 4 essential tips on starting a business remotely that will help you to save time, be more productive, and above all, make a success of your enterprise.
Create a functional working environment
You might be running your business from home, but you still need a space which is appropriate for the task you are undertaking. There’s a lot to be said for having a dedicated working space within your home, from both a practical perspective, and in terms of harbouring the correct mindset.
Let’s face it, sprawled on the sofa with a laptop on your knee is not an effective workspace (for a week day at any rate). Aside from the awful effect it will have on your posture, it doesn’t exactly put you in a ‘work’ kind of mentality. We have said it before and no doubt we’ll say it again, if at all possible you need to create a space that is unique to your working day i.e. when you are there, you are working, and nothing else.
This will help you to focus on important work related tasks when you are within this area, but also it should aid relaxation when you are away from it, preventing the rest of your home from becoming a ‘work space’.
Ensure that your working environment has access to all of the necessary utilities you will need on a daily basis, and that it’s suitably free from distractions to allow for total focus during working hours.
If you choose to work remotely from a public space such as a coffee shop, you should carefully select one which is conducive to promoting productivity, and make sure that you follow these ground rules.
Make sure you are using the right hardware and software
Creating a business remotely is made possible by the technology which is now available. Therefore it stands to reason that in order to give your enterprise the best chance of success, it is crucial that you utilise the hardware and software at your disposal to the fullest possible degree.
The issues surrounding this point really are myriad, but we have found a great little infographic created by the folks at Nuance, which sets out very simply 10 useful practical tips to help you use the tools at your disposal to the greatest effect. You can save and use this infographic as a point of reference, but here’s a little summary of some of the information it contains.
Ensuring that you use technologies as a means of enhancing your communication capabilities.
Don’t rule out employees
When we hear the term ‘Remote Business’ we tend to imagine solitary work; the lone business owner, busily typing away on their laptop without much outside input or opportunity for collaboration. However it’s important to remember that it doesn't have to be this way. Just as you are able to create a business remotely, you are also able to hire staff, who can either work remotely themselves or join you in your non-traditional working space.
Hiring remote staff, either on a full-time, part-time, or freelance basis can actually hold some benefits which are often denied to those employing staff in a typical working environment. One of the main benefits is that you are not geographically restricted to hiring people within your local area, but can search far and wide to find people who are the best possible match for your business. Again, it is technology which makes this possible, with video conferencing and productivity software making collaboration from separate locations extremely convenient and effective.
Working remotely is still a relatively new concept for the average employee, and some are unaware of the benefits it can provide, so be sure that those you hire to work in a remote capacity have prior experience of being employed in this way to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.
The drawing up of short-term contracts with flexible working hours can also help to make hiring outside help for your remote business a very cost effective way of growing your business.
Alongside this, not having to make tech provisions, and avoiding the legal issues of having another ‘on site’ member of staff, also serve to make this an attractive option for the remote business.
Structure your day
One of the best things about creating a remote business is the flexibility it gives you, both in terms of your location but also the hours that you work. However, many people unwittingly allow this flexibility to have a negative impact on the amount of time that they actually spend working.
Creating the right balance is key, and paramount in achieving this is creating a proper work schedule, just as you would if you were working within a more traditional environment. Set yourself daily working hours which have a definitive start / end time and also include regular breaks.
You should do everything you can to adhere to these parameters as they will help to create a mindset which is focused upon targets and completing tasks within set timeframes. They will also give you the satisfaction of completing a ‘full’ working day, which should help you to switch off and relax once the ‘working’ hours are over.
Running a remote business allows you to put in hours which are well suited to your lifestyle, but it is important to strike a balance between convenience and the working hours which will be most beneficial to the success of your enterprise. Geographical location of your customers/ partners / clients, as well as the times during which you are most needed at the wheel, will all have a determining influence on what your working hours should be. Do not simply assume that you should be working a typical 9am-5pm day, as it may well be more beneficial for you to amend these limits.