Entrepreneurs have always been wired to be hands-on when starting a business. Although the goal is to eventually earn some passive income while you’re out vacationing somewhere nice and sunny, beginning any venture requires the undivided attention of the business owner.
The same goes for when you’re trying to expand a business, especially when you’re venturing into a new city or a new country for that matter. However, it’s pretty difficult to be hands-on when you’re at least a hundred miles away from the new branch or the new site of your business.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t successfully operate a business remotely or from a different place. You just have to keep in mind the following tips to do it the right way:
- Hire a trustworthy area/branch manager
Sometimes, being a hands-on business owner simply means you have someone onsite you can fully trust to act in your best interest. Ideally, this is someone you’ve known for some time and somebody who has been with your organization long enough to have a firm grasp of what he/she has to do as your branch/area agent.
Instead of being in constant communication with your entire remote team — which could be wildly overwhelming — you can simply speak one-on-one with your manager to ensure that business is running as well as you want it to be.
2. Trust and empower your people onsite
It’s not enough that you hire an entire team to oversee operations when you can’t personally be there. You also have to trust them enough to let them run the show on their own terms — just as long as they don’t overstep the limits of their authority.
For this, you need to develop excellent communication skills that will allow you to foster a good working relationship with your team members. For starters, you have to have active listening skills to still be on top of what’s going on with business even when you’re away.
3. Get a virtual phone number
If you want to run a business in Florida, for instance, even though you’re currently based in NYC, you should still get a Florida-based number as a virtual landline for your business. The idea behind a virtual landline is that you’d be able to make and receive calls using the landline number, but through your cell phone. Anyone who contacts your business through the landline number you provided will think they’re talking to you on the phone — and in Florida.
This way, you can still be the person mainly in charge with business communications no matter where you are and no matter how far you may be from your Florida office.
4. Avoid micromanagement
When managing a team remotely, one of the things you absolutely must avoid is micromanagement. As mentioned earlier, a team of employees needs to be empowered to do their own thing and not feel like they have to ask your permission for every single thing.
To avoid micromanagement, try to tell your team only what needs to be done, and not how to get things done, unless you’re absolutely sure you’re asking them to do something they have never done before, or something that truly needs to be done a certain way that only you know. Otherwise, lay off and allow your people to grow and discover the tricks of the trade by themselves without you constantly hovering around.
5. Set some performance metrics
Your onsite team wouldn’t be able to get anything done if you keep calling them up for updates multiple times in one day. The better thing to do would be to set specific performance metrics early on, like a minimum engagement threshold on your social media campaigns. Instruct your onsite manager to immediately contact you if this threshold is breached, so you can help them brainstorm for solutions.
By doing this, you can go by your day with the general mindset that no news is good news. Trust that for your employees, nothing is more frustrating than spending hours in virtual meetings when they’d really rather be just ticking items off of their daily to-do lists. It can’t be said enough that there needs to be mutual trust when you’re managing a team remotely.
It’s never easy to be off-site when you’re the one running the business. However, it also defies logic and practicality for you to fly out and shift bases every time you expand your business and open an office in a new city. As long as you abide by the tips we enumerated in this article, running your business in a different city shouldn’t be too impossible.