An advantage of owning your own business is deciding where to locate your office. You can easily create a virtual company, avoiding the expense and upkeep of an office.
Here are a few points to consider.
Have a solid technology infrastructure. Make sure employees can access necessary files and programs from home. If your company does not have a large IT department, online applications are a great alternative. There are numerous, online file sharing and project management programs. Many are very inexpensive or even free and enable your employees to access their work from anywhere with an internet connection.
Take advantage of instant messaging.
IM is even more efficient than email and allows you and your employees to interact quickly. It’s as fast as if you were talking in the same office. Additionally, most major IM platforms allow users to save conversations, allowing you and your staff to keep records of all exchanges.
Communicate constantly. You need to keep your staff on the same page. Although you are not all under the same roof, you do need to be working toward the same goals. Your employees need to be kept informed and so do you. Make sure your staff is clear about deadlines and priorities. Conducting regular phone or video conference calls can help to facilitate open communication.
Schedule face-to-face time. Consider holding weekly or monthly meetings in your home office, at a hotel or restaurant. Or, find an executive building that lets you rent conference rooms on an as-needed basis. In-person meetings will help keep your team motivated and on-task. Plus, the cost of meeting regularly is still cheapter than the cost of renting office space.
Running a virtual office has many advantages. Not only does it save time that would normally be spent commuting, but it can also help your business eliminate unecessary expenses. Without an office to maintain, you can avoid rent and reduce the amount spent on office equipment and supplies. Plus, providing flexible work schedules and the ability to telecommute are important benefits for many employees.
If your small business cannot afford the expensive perks of larger corporations, being part of a virtual team can be a great incentive for potential employees.
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© SCORE. All rights reserved. This article provided by SCORE (www.score.org), Mentors to America's Small Business. Since 1964, SCORE has helped over 9 million aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners through mentoring and business workshops. Get free advice from more than 12,000 volunteer business mentors in over 340 chapters across the nation. Learn more at www.score.org