20 May, 2019
Remote work has become a norm, and the fact that 70% of people from all over the world do it at least once a week proves that. What's more, over half of these professionals work remotely for half of the week!
In the UK alone, experts estimate that half of the workforce will engage in remote work by 2020. Many of them work from home, coffee shops, and even by the beach.
If you've been one of these "digital nomads" for some time now, then you know how awesome remote work is. And now, you're interested in launching your own virtual business. You want to finally become the boss of your own and have your own remote workers.
True, starting a virtual company may be easier than a brick-and-mortar one. But for it to be a success, you need proper planning.
That’s exactly what you'll learn in this post, so be sure to keep reading!
1. Create Your Business Plan
Once you've decided on the specific type of business you want to start, next is to put your plan into writing. Your business plan should include a summary of your business, its mission, and vision. It should also detail the marketing and sales strategies you'll run.
Create an outline of how you'll hire your future employees and what to look for in them. Set a budget on how much you can pay them and the hours you need them clocked-in.
Don't forget that you still need to set your own business budget, even if you'll get a virtual office. We'll talk more about virtual offices later, but in the meantime, map out your overhead costs. This may be office equipment, like a new PC setup, or phone and Internet service.
2. Decide on a Business Address
Even virtual businesses need to have a business address, as this is vital to gaining trust. In Google alone, which processes 3.5 billion searches a day, you need it to appear on its Maps. For consumers, a business address is key to make them more trusting of online businesses.
A business address for your start-up is also a must if you're planning to take out a business loan. You also need it if you're a registered Private Limited Company (LLC). It also lends your business more credibility, professionalism, and reputability.
You may not be able to use your home address, but you should bypass P.O. boxes. A P.O. box may make only make your legit company look less credible. Instead, consider getting a virtual office address.
3. Get a Virtual Business Office Address
Did you know that in Mayfair & St James's, London, prime office space can cost as much as £110 per square foot? Even if you rent an office space in Midtown, it can still cost you £67.5 per square foot!
So, it’s no wonder that London is the 22nd most expensive city in the world.
As a start-up, the last thing you want is to use much of your finances towards rent. And you don't have to.
If you only need an official business address for your virtual company, you can rent a virtual office. You'll get a prestigious London business address, for a fraction of the cost.
4. Invest in a Virtual Phone Service
In the UK, almost seven in 10 contact centre communications consist of phone calls. That should tell you how vital having a business phone is for customer satisfaction.
To ensure that you won't miss even a single call (especially if you're asleep), get a virtual phone service. This'll make sure a phone associate will always be present to pick up calls. You'll also enjoy features like call routing, call transfers, caller IDs, and click to call.
The best virtual phone solutions also offer call forwarding features. This "sends" calls made to your business phone straight to your own number. You can set up which specific numbers can get through to your number.
Plus, the best virtual office phone providers can even give you a dedicated 020 number. That's a prime London number, which can further increase your business' legitimacy.
5. Consider Hiring a Virtual Assistant
You should outsource virtual jobs for admin tasks that can kill your productivity. A virtual assistant can help with tasks like social media and email management. They can also keep your blog site updated and even do some bookkeeping for you.
6. Set Up a Well-Designed Website
Once you have your business address and phone number, you can now set up a website! A superb website is critical to your virtual success, as it's your "online identity" after all. It's your digital office or store, so you want it to impress your customers.
For this, it’s best you outsource to professional web and graphic designers. They can make sure your site isn't only pretty, but that it also loads fast. Keep in mind that half of mobile site visitors leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
7. Use a Project Management Software
Help your remote employees further their virtual career by keeping them productive. For this, it's best to use project management software, which is a must for collaboration. Trello, Asana, and Slack are some of the best collaboration programmes to look into.
With these programmes, they can keep an eye on pending tasks and deadlines. They'll also know who's working on which project. This eliminates duplicates, which is a complete waste of time and resources.
8. Have Everyone in Your Team Use Time Tracking Tools
Time tracking tools, like Time Doctor, lets you know how long someone has been working. For instance, it tells you when an employee logged in and logged out. You'll also know how many hours have already gone into a specific project.
You can also integrate these tools with your invoicing software. It makes paying your employees easier and reduces risks of salary discrepancies.
9. Hold Regular Team Conferences and One-on-One Meetings
Regardless of where in the world your people are, you want to always communicate with them. Although daily Slack messages are great, you still want to hold meetings every now and then.
For instance, you can have a virtual conference every Friday for project updates. Use this to congratulate them for a job well done too.
Also, consider one-on-one meetings for each of your team members. This is a great way to establish a more solid, two-way trust. Acknowledge their accomplishments and give them reviews on possible areas of improvement.
10. Stay on Top of Your Cyber Security
A study found that between 2017 and 2018, 43% of UK businesses had a cybersecurity breach. 76% of those affected said the breach resulted from clicking on bogus emails. Another 24% of breaches were from malware, viruses, and spyware.
Avoid being part of the statistics by ensuring you keep software programmes up-to-date. Always have your malware protection and firewalls turned on. And make sure all your remote employees follow the same security protocols.
Increase Your Virtual Company’s Success Rate with These Tips
Remember, there are 5.7 million SMEs in the UK, which means you have a lot to compete with. But so long as you follow these tips, you can give your virtual business a better chance at succeeding.
Ready to set up your virtual office? If so, then don't hesitate to connect with us! We can get you that office space you need as soon as possible.