There are many parts to functioning as a (successful) virtual business.
When we say remote or virtual business, it doesn’t necessarily mean outsourcing work offshore or onshore….it means being able to operate a business from a number of locations and not be reliant on a single property to conduct business from.
We all know this isn’t something that is new but it is certainly moving to a point where this is going to be a requirement of a successful business, even if that is solely because team members want that flexibility.
When thinking of how a business would move towards working virtually, it is best to start with a simple analysis across the following areas:
Policies; Processes and Procedures
Culture and People
This MUST be done for the CURRENT STATE and the FUTURE (DESIRED) STATE. By doing this you can easily see where the gaps are between the current and desired state (desired state = successful virtual work environment). This is also interesting as most people, even with just one or two staff, generally, paint the ‘Current State’ to be a lot rosier than their team members.
By truthfully establishing the above we can tell the following things:
- Level of work that needs to be done to move into the cloud (this is obviously more complex the more systems, requirements and people/data and files that a business has)
- How much work needs to go into creating sturdy policies and procedures before remote work will be successful?
- Resistance towards the move, behavioural change management based on those directly affected.
I would recommend doing this little analysis (yourself) before even contemplating moving in that direction.
To begin the journey to a successful remote business, the following is a pretty good starting point:
- You have an already tidy and organised folder/file structure and your industry-specific software programs are already available/moving toward the cloud.
- You have really well-documented processes around each of your tasks that your team complete (these can be documents, videos, audio….whatever works!)
- Your team (especially the leadership team), are open-minded and willing to accept change (if they aren’t you need to talk them through their fears and get them to a relatively good point before you have any chance of them embracing and working environment changes).
- YOU are ready to lead by example and be the biggest advocate of the transition and organically get others onboard. (Obviously, the smaller the team the easier this is).
- The business is results focused (it doesn’t matter how they got there, just that they got there).
As mentioned earlier, there are many other components to successfully working as a professional, virtual business and these all vary depending on the type of business you have but we all should start somewhere.
Another great idea is to seek out other professional virtual businesses or get involved with a group or association that has been leading the way in this type of work. I personally recommend the Australian Association for Virtual Industry Professionals.
How many of the above points have you already got together?