We are in an age where the traditional work setup is no longer the only option. With technology, businesses now have the opportunity to go remote. According to the third edition of McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 35% of their respondents have the option to work remotely five days a week. With the rise of a diversified, global workforce, aspiring entrepreneurs are considering starting their remote businesses because of the flexibility and wide pool of opportunities available. However, many entrepreneurs are still doubting whether they can sustain a remote business because of its unique challenges. This article will discuss overcoming the fears of leading a remote business.
The Fears of Leading a Remote Business
If it’s your first time leading a remote business, it’s understandable that you would feel some apprehension and even fear. After all, peculiar challenges may come with managing a remote business that you don’t face when leading a traditional, brick-and-mortar business. For example, a remote business is not bound by geography, unlike a traditional business. This means you must be more creative in communicating and motivating your team members and marketing your products or services. Additionally, it would be best if you were persistent in giving instructions and feedback to your team members since there will be fewer face-to-face interactions.
While leading a small business may be daunting, it’s important to remember that these challenges can be overcome with proper planning and execution. The first step to overcoming you fear is to identify what they are. Once you know your fears, you can start developing a strategic plan to address them. Here are the common fears that business owners face when leading their small businesses:
Keeping remote workers for the long-term
When starting a remote business, one of your primary concerns would be keeping your team members and talents for the long term. Unlike traditional businesses, keeping track of your remote employees’ work progress and loyalty to the company is harder since they are not sharing your work environment. Often, they may have better work opportunities outside of your company. It is usual for remote workers to move from one company to another in search of greener pastures.
As a remote business owner, you must be proactive in building a good relationship with your team members and ensuring they are satisfied with their current working arrangement. You can do this by frequently checking in with them, providing them with opportunities for career growth, and being transparent about the company’s goals and objectives. In addition, try to build rapport and trust with your team members so they will be more inclined to stay with your company for the long haul.
Fear of underperforming or loss of productivity
Trust is another important factor to consider when leading a remote business. Since your team members work in different time zones and have different circumstances and working conditions, monitoring their progress and output can be difficult. As a result, you may worry that they are not working as hard as they should or not meeting your expectations. Additionally, some tasks may require additional supervision and dedicated hours of focus, which can be difficult to achieve when working remotely.
However, you also have to consider that many remote workers are passionate about their work and are highly motivated to do their best. They understand that their performance will directly impact the company’s bottom line. Additionally, most remote workers are independent and self-sufficient. They know how to manage their time and workload efficiently. Instead of fearing that your team members will underperform, trust that they will do their best to meet your expectations.
Lack of control and unexpected interruptions
Business owners who used to work in a traditional office setting may find it difficult to adjust to the lack of control when managing a remote team. In a traditional office, they can easily monitor employees, make changes to the work schedule, and implement the needed changes. However, remote business owners have less control over their team members since they work in different locations. Furthermore, there may be unexpected interruptions due to internet or power outages, which can impact your team’s overall productivity. You also have to consider that some of your team members are parents or have other responsibilities outside of work, which can further interfere with their work schedule.
To overcome this fear, you must learn to let go and trust that your team members will thrive despite the interruptions. Focus on building a strong team that can work well together, even when you’re not around. Additionally, create a contingency plan for unexpected interruptions to maintain productivity despite these setbacks. Instead of thinking of having complete control, focus on a proactive environment where everyone can freely share their ideas and solutions.
Information security and data privacy
Remote business owners often fear that their confidential data and information will be compromised. When working with a remote team, you share sensitive company information- company passwords, bank information, client lists, personal email, and social media handles with individuals who are miles away from your current location. This can increase the risk of data leaks and cyber-attacks. Additionally, many remote workers use their own devices and computers to access company data, increasing the risk of information theft or leakage to competitors.
Data privacy has been a focal concern for many businesses, especially in the wake of high-profile data breaches. As a remote business owner, you must take extra precautions to protect your company’s data. First, implement strong security measures, such as two-factor authentication and password protection. Educate your team members about data privacy and the importance of securing confidential information. You can also sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with your team members to protect your business’s intellectual property. Finally, if a team member decides to part ways with your company, make sure to have them return all company-owned devices and data to avoid future complications.
How to Deal with Threats and Opportunities
In a remote setting, facing different threats and opportunities is inevitable. While some may be specific to your company or industry, others are more general and easier to deal with. Remember that your approach to a traditional business may not work for a remote business, and vice versa. Despite some of the fears mentioned above, don’t forget that a remote setup opens your doors to numerous opportunities.
One of the best ways to deal with threats and opportunities is to have a plan. By having a plan, you can quickly adapt to changes and overcome challenges that may come your way. Therefore, it is essential to set short- and long-term goals for your business and create a roadmap to help you achieve them. Doing so will help you stay on track and motivate your team to reach their targets.
Being a first-time remote business owner can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a simple plan you can follow: finding the right people for the job.
Look for team members who are passionate about their work and have the right skill set.
You can’t pay for passion and dedication, so it is important to find team members who share the same values. The right skillset is also crucial in ensuring that your team can hit the ground running and be productive from day one.
Train your team members on your company’s culture and values
One of the challenges of leading a remote business is maintaining company culture. You need to ensure that your team members know your company’s culture and values so they can uphold them even when you’re not around.
Create a contingency plan
As with any business, things may inevitably go out of control. A contingency plan will help you quickly adapt to changes and overcome challenges. The contingency plan has to include where your remote workers will work in case of an emergency, how they will communicate with each other, and what they need to do to stay productive.
Keep your team members engaged.
One of the benefits of working remotely is that you can engage with your team members more easily. Use this to your advantage by regularly communicating with them and checking in on their task lists, progress, and concerns. Doing so will help you stay updated on their work and build a stronger relationship with them.
Celebrate your team’s successes
A remote business is only as strong as its team members. So, when they achieve something, make sure to celebrate their success. This will make them feel that they are part of something bigger and motivate them to perform at their peak consistently.
A remote business is a viable option for those who want the flexibility and freedom of working from home. While some challenges come with leading a remote business, such as maintaining company culture and keeping team members engaged, these can be easily overcome with the right strategy. So, if you’re thinking of starting a remote business, don’t let these fears stop you from doing what you want. A remote setup may be tough to navigate at first, but it is doable with the right mindset and approach!
Catherine vanVonno is the President and CEO of 20four7VA, a trusted remote staffing company. She oversees the overall growth and success of the company, leads the short and long-term strategies, and manages the company’s finances. She also directs the management team regarding daily operations, brand management and marketing, client relations, strategic planning, and business development.