There are plenty of reasons why people opt for working from home or from a remote location. Some prefer being able to have a more flexible schedule for their work and personal lives, and others simply like the option of working from the comfort of their homes.
But is that possible if you’re in an important management position? In fact, you’ll find that many CEOs and owners actually choose to manage a small business remotely.
You need to realize something, though – this will require quite an innovative approach. And we’re here to give you a couple of tips on managing to do it successfully!
4 Ways to Successfully Manage a Small Business Remotely
1# Having the Right Approach
Many people believe that if you’re going to manage a small business remotely, you’re going to have a more hands-off approach. But in reality, the complete opposite is actually the case. In fact, you’ll have to adopt a policy of frequent communication and vigilant action; even from a distance.
One could make the case that, in fact, this sort of management requires you to be more present than ever, in terms of remaining in the loop regarding the workplace dynamic. Just like with customer relationship management, you need to do it constantly, and you need to do it in order to build trust – but in this situation, with your employees.
For example, if you’re in a remote management position, you have a few hurdles to overcome right away. Obviously, you’re not going to be such an immediate presence for your employees; you can’t just walk around and talk to everyone face-to-face, and make decisions on the fly.
But in turn, that means that you need to have a more reliable schedule for your company communication. If you can’t talk to your employees any time you want to – you need to do it in very regular and expected intervals.
Seeing as you can’t just go to someone’s cubicle, if they don’t expect daily communication with you, you’re going to miss something and not have reliable information.
2# Communication is Crucial
One of the things that remains the most important aspect of a traditional workplace is good communication. And if you want to manage a small business remotely, things won’t be any different in that regard; in fact, this becomes an even more important aspect of your management position.
First of all, as we mentioned above, communication needs to be more frequent, but apart from that, it also needs to always be purposeful.
You don’t want to waste your time or your employees’ time during the day, but you want to remain ahead of the curve when it comes to any potential issues in the firm. It’s the same as building a trustworthy relationship with your customers – you want to communicate often, but not spam them with unneeded information.
But what does this mean in practice? Basically, it means that meetings will become a focal point of your company, much more than for someone who’s managing a business from the office.
If you can’t have quick interaction with your employees whenever you need to, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it at all, it will just have to be more planned out.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you’re having a Skype call or some other way of getting in touch. Your weekly meetings will have to be unmissable and something you should get across to your employees – they need to realize the importance of respecting the process.
These meetings should have a definite format, and everyone needs to be on time for each one.
3# Frequent Interaction
While the importance of your weekly meetings is definitely higher while you manage a small business remotely, that’s far from being the only sort of communication you need to have with your company. After all, as we’ve said – constant communication is key.
So, while weekly meetings are good for agenda-setting decisions and steering the course of your company – that’s simply not enough for the management of day-to-day operations. Because of that, having quick daily conference calls is also a good idea. That’s where you’ll hash out things that are important for each particular workday. These don’t have to last very long – in fact, five to ten minutes will be enough.
But while these are important in a practical sense, they are also what will set the tone of your management style. The fact that you’re working remotely may distance you mentally from your employees if you’re not careful. That’s why they have to keep your decisions in mind, all the time.
And routine daily communication, no matter how short, will definitely achieve that. Everyone working under you will get the idea that you’re even more invested in the company than someone working in the office.
4# Be Reachable
So far, we’ve established the importance of keeping in touch with your employees when you manage a small business remotely. But what you need to remember is – that’s a two-way street. While your decisions need to trickle down to the workforce in order to be effective, you also need to be available for feedback.
Plus, there will be situations where you have to make a quick judgment call and react to certain fast-paced business developments. That’s why you need to make sure that your immediate subordinates can reach you as often as possible.
If you’re not physically present, you need to compensate for that by checking in as often as possible. And by making sure that your employees can reach you any time during work hours. Check your voicemails and email constantly, and be quick to respond to phone calls.
Author bio: Richard Nesbitt is a freelance author, mostly writing in the fields of microeconomics and business management. More specifically, he specializes in management in the shipping and moving industries, writing about and advising companies like preferred-movers.com.