Thinking about building a remote company, or looking to scale your remote team?
The ever-evolving digital landscape has contributed to a rise in remote workforces. This is largely due to truly astounding advancements in cloud computing, enabling seamless collaboration on projects, regardless of location.
With the opportunities that remote work presents, it makes sense that this is a growing trend. Let’s look at some of the benefits of building a remote company.
Want to be a part of the #remotework movement? Here are 5 Key Areas to Consider When Building a Remote Company.
Benefits of building a remote company
For companies, operating with a remote workforce gives you the opportunity to select from a wide pool of talent when hiring, eliminating geographical barriers and unlocking the potential of underutilized talent living in rural locations.
This has certainly been the case with Bean Ninjas, who is a truly global organisation with diverse team members based in different parts of the world, as well as offices in Australia, the US, and UK.
What if you don’t want to deal with high rents and leases in major cities? Well, that’s a big reason to go remote for a lot of companies – it can also save you vast sums of money, with less to be spent on physical office real estate, equipment, furniture, and electricity.
For workers, the freedom and flexibility presented by remote opportunities can provide an improved work-life balance, boosting morale and productivity in the process.
This means that workers can start and end their day as they choose, as long as their work is completed. Empowering workers to control their own schedules can help them attend to the needs of their personal life when necessary.
It can also mean they’re able to work from anywhere. Here’s two of our Bean Ninjas team members collaborating over zoom, with one person in Bali and the other in Raglan, NZ.
With benefits for both parties, creating a remote workforce seems like a no-brainer. There is clearly plenty of money to be saved and happiness to be gained. However, many companies are often daunted by the prospect of a solely-remote workforce, fearing a lack of control.
5 Challenges to prepare for when building a remote company
Depending on the potential scale of your operation, there will be a few challenges that you will need to overcome for everything to run smoothly. Here are five key areas to consider when building a remote company
1. Launch Strategy
First of all, before you start to scale and hire human resources, there’s some groundwork that needs to be put in place with any online business. You actually need to find some clients and customers that you can work with remotely!
Many service-based online businesses decide to initially target a small, focused niche market. This gives them a unique selling point to leverage in outreach campaigns.
For example, in setting up a digital marketing agency, you may decide to pick a niche like community-centered design and blockchain. This would enable you to stand out from the crowd of other agencies who offer the same digital marketing services but to a broader base of clientele.
2. Growth Strategy
Once you have a handful of clients or customers under your wing, you can start to collect case studies and testimonials. These serve the purpose of offering your target market social proof on how your service or product has solved a problem for your existing clients or recent customers.
It’s all about tapping into the ‘pain points’ that your target market currently faces – positioning your company as the solution. These different forms of social proof can be used extensively in marketing campaigns to garner interest from other businesses or consumers that fit your target market.
You’ll also need to test and identify which acquisition channels work best for your company over time. For this, you can use The Bullseye Framework: Applying the Traction Method.
3. Team Recruitment & Culture
As your company starts to bloom with an increasing workload, you will need to start thinking about hiring additional remote workers to carry that load. Finding a remote worker is easy, finding a great remote worker is much more difficult. If you place a remote work listing on a job board, you’re likely to attract plenty of interest.
There is no shortage of remote workers, so you should consider implementing mechanisms into your hiring process which filter out applicants who don’t hit the mark. For example, in application forms for roles, you could ask the applicant personality-based questions to gain a sense of what they might be like to work with.
Despite the distance that may separate your team, culture is one of the most fundamental elements of a productive workforce. Hiring a remote worker with a personality or work ethic that conflicts with the rest of the team can be enough to bring the existing culture crashing down.
4. Leadership Development
Strong leadership is another important consideration when it comes to managing a team of remote workers. A founder might be exceptional at winning new clients, but they may not have good team management skills.
A team leader should be available to have one-on-one conversations (whether that be via messaging, phone or video call) with team members on a regular basis.
As time goes on, you will begin to recognize patterns in a remote worker’s behavior that can indicate underlying problems. For instance, after months of delivering the work on time, they might suddenly start delivering work late.
If you have conversations with remote workers on a regular basis, you will start to build a better picture of them as a person, developing a relationship of trust and honesty. This will help you to identify any underlying reasons and intervene early.
Having a clear strategy for ensuring that remote workers and leaders get the support they need to thrive in a remote context is essential. Not only for the attraction and retention of high-quality global talent, but also for the sustainability of the company.
5. Tools & Systems
With remote working becoming increasingly popular, we have seen the emergence of dozens of useful tools to increase communication and collaboration across a remote workforce.
When it comes to communication and collaboration, many remote teams use services like Slack or Hipchat for day-to-day operations. Based on the cloud, these services include virtual chat facilities alongside the ability to share files and documents with your co-workers.
Where to from here?
Which of the 5 areas outlined above requires your attention in the next 30, 60, or 90 days?
Make a list, do your research, and learn from others who have relevant experience in each specific area. Then implement and experiment with strategies and practices that resonate with your company. Adopt a growth mindset and focus on progress.
Chief Executive Officer for Bean Ninjas
Meryl Johnston is the founder and CEO of Bean Ninjas, the global bookkeeping business she launched in seven days in 2015.
She’s a Chartered Accountant and has 10+ years of experience in commercial accounting roles, as an auditor at international firm BDO and as an accounting lecturer.
Meryl and the Bean Ninjas team are on a mission to educate and support 10,000 business owners in making data-driven business decisions to create freedom in their lives.