I started a virtual business way before it was the thing to do. I'd love to say it was because I was thinking green (it is true) but mostly it was practical.
The team of smart, talented, experienced people I trusted were now scattered to the wind. So, I could either start hiring from scratch or I could hire the best people I knew, who'd worked with before and trusted.
That was a pretty easy decision. So, we're virtual and thank goodness for that because it's the reason why we survived the dotcom bust, outsourcing and economic down turns.
Keeps our overhead costs low
Allows us to pass that savings on to our clients
Let's us hire and retain the cream of the crop
Let's us maximum the training investment we put into our team
Here's a few things to consider if you're contemplating a virtual business:
The 2 best decisions I made in starting a business were to hire a lawyer to help with contract templates and to hire a bookkeeper.
Think of your business as systems (or departments), even if you are doing all the roles now. We created Operations Manuals for each business system so that as we grew it was (relatively) easy to hand off areas of responsibility to new people. The e-Myth is a great book to help you get thinking like this.
I created job descriptions for all the roles I could invision for the company's growth. They also included the text for an internet ad and a list of expected results (so performance reviews are faster & easier).
These can be used as Project Assignments. Having these templates already done has been awesome because growth has never come in manageable pieces. Growth happens organically and like a wild fire not always as planned or on schedule!
Check out the rest of the blog series for more tips, tools and lessons learned.
Do I recommend having a virtual company?
Yes, absolutely, but, you'll need:
Strong and compassionate management skills
A support system (particularly a cheerleader so someone pats you on the back for your accomplishments)
And please get out of your office from time to time!
Next in this series are:
Lessons Learned Managing A Virtual Team
6 Tips for Managing Remote Workers
5 Online Tools For The Virtual Company
All The Best!