How to Grow Your Small Business… Virtually
Moving your business to a virtual office has never been easier with the advances of cloud-based technology, now we are able to operate within the parameters of paperless, streamlined and collaborative workflows that help us reach our maximum efficiency, as long as we do some research and set some foundations before we jump right to it. With that said, it makes perfect sense to say that virtual is where small businesses are heading more so now than ever.
So, where does a small business start in order to achieve a virtual work environment?
Well, it all starts with a Vision!
Many don’t realize this, but most small business owners haven’t taken the time to actually think about what they want their business to become or where it’s headed technology wise. With so many options and paths as to what to choose from of IT infrastructure, software selection, implementation, web development, portal integration, social media, and more, without taking the time to formulate where you want to “be.” The fact is that you can’t move and be successful in a virtual office until you have a clear vision for your business and understand if it’s the right fit for you.
Do you have a vision? I bet most of you out there are thinking about this.
Let’s start by defining the vision.
What is a vision?
Well, for the longest time companies that have enjoyed enduring success have core values and core purposes that remain fixed while their business strategies and practices endlessly adapt to a changing world. That dynamic of preserving the core while stimulating progress is the reason that the big corporations keep long-term performance. Understanding the difference between what should never change and what should be open for change, between what is genuinely sacred and what is not; now THAT Is the foundation or vision for your business.
When it comes to setting your company’s vision Steven Covey, author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, describes creating a vision as “starting with the end in mind”. This description is spot on. Companies should be able to envision the business they want to have first and then the building can begin. The question is, how do you get started with your vision?
You need to take a step back and consider the following questions:
- An Eagle eye view- You will need to ask yourself something along the lines of a higher-level nature like: Can I serve my customer from wherever I am? Can my business run whether I’m in the office or not?
- Lifestyle- You will also need to ask yourself what kind of life- work balance you want: Do I want to be able to take vacation without worrying that things won’t get done? Do I want a better life-work balance?
- Customer Service- You will also need to ask yourself something along the lines of how you want to serve your clients- Do I want to serve clients online, 24/7? Do I want clients to be able to access their information online anytime and maybe even from any devise?
This are just a few examples of the type of questions you might want to make yourself to get that thinking process started and help develop that vision, from here on it takes dedication to conceive a unique statement.
Once you have answered the high-level questions above, you can drill down and get into more detail. With questions like:
- What type of clients do you want to serve?
- How you want to serve your clients? So you can foresee the right technologies to fulfill this.
- Identifying the right personnel to fulfill your vision
- Structuring the internal infrastructure required to support your business- for example for a CPA, to support a completely online, collaborative accounting service for his customers.