“Living your best life” as the founder of a business doesn’t mean you don’t have to work anymore…but it does mean that work can happen when, how and where you want. And you won’t be alone. The global pandemic acted as a catalyst in the small business world, with 1 in 4 new business owners saying they plan to go fully remote. But what if your already-existing business follows a more traditional operating model? You’re in luck, because the rise of digital solutions, video communications and easy access to technology has made adapting your business to go remote an easy and seamless transition.
And if you’re worried about staying successful as a remote business, don’t be. Scaling your business to go digital comes with numerous benefits, such as lower overhead, improved employee satisfaction (which results in higher retention) and increased productivity.
Of course, the digital evolution didn’t happen overnight, and it won’t for your business, either. But with some careful planning, the ability to adapt and good advice from founders like you, you’ll be ready to roll as a fully remote business.
Here’s how to get started making the shift:
Plan Your Process
As a remote business owner, tasks that seemed like no-brainers before are suddenly called into question. What technology should you rely on? How do you delegate appropriately? Who can you lead on for advice? Where do you even begin?? Check out our founder story below for tips from Jeanna Barrett of First Page Strategy on how to create a process that will make your remote business a success.
Evaluate Your Business Structure
If you’ve already formed a legal business entity, you’re starting out ahead of the curve. Legal formation (as an LLC, C Corp or S Corp) creates a separate entity and offers you personal liability protection. You won’t necessarily need to change your business structure to go fully remote, but you will want to understand how the shift will impact your business operations, taxes and expenses. You may also find that, now that you’re remote, it makes sense to base your business in another state. Nevada and Delaware both offer tax benefits to small business owners, but many other states are considered business-friendly and would make a great home base for your remote company. If you have an existing business, make sure to research what you need to do before moving it to another state.
Make Smart Hiring Decisions
People want to work for remote companies. And as a remote company, you have a worldwide talent pool to help you reel in the biggest catch. In fact, the ability to work remotely is the largest draw for attracting top talent. Keep in mind, though, that not everyone who wants to work for your business should. Featured founder Jeanna says she offers job candidates a trial run to assess their skills, expertise and ability to integrate with company culture.
Get Your Business Address
You can work from anywhere, but you still need your customers (and the government) to be able to find you. Beyond that, an official business address establishes credibility and helps legitimize your company. Most importantly, it gives you a destination for important mail and legal documents. While there are a number of ways to set up a business address, like a P.O. box or UPS box, remote founders will want to consider a virtual business address. A virtual address gives your business an official street address in the state of formation, and allows you to receive and read your mail virtually, from anywhere.
Build a Communication Plan
Communicating with colleagues, employees and clients isn’t all that difficult when you share an office space or see each other face-to-face on a regular basis. But when your business is fully remote, it can be the most vulnerable element of your company. Start planning now to develop a robust communication system. Decide now how your teams will interact. Will you use video conferencing? Do you need daily or weekly standups? What about questions that require quick, in-the-moment responses? Invest in platforms like Zoom or Slack that offer easy adoption and integration to ensure stronger communication.
When you’re not in the same space as your employees, how can you be sure everyone is staying on-task, meeting deadlines and completing their work? Project management plays a key role for remote businesses, and the right tool, like Trello or Asana, will help you build a more productive distributed team. When using a cloud-based tool to manage your remote team, make sure everyone is trained in how to effectively use it. Remember, it’s not a suggestion — it’s company policy.
Look to the Experts
Find mentors or role models who are already doing what you want to do, and learn from them. They’ve walked this path before, and they know the ins and outs of running a successful remote business. Build your network, and seek out like-minded entrepreneurs to lean on for advice, support or commiseration when the going gets tough. Look to them also for inspiration to keep you motivated. Our INCspiration stories feature real-life Incfile customers and business owners, like Jeanna, who want to share their journey so you can start down the same road. Read the rest of Jeanna’s story, and get inspired to go fully remote with your own business, so you can work when, how and where you want. Because that is the true meaning of “living the dream.”
Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).