ON TRACK TO SUCCESS
A pro shares his top ten tips for starting a virtual business.
Being virtual is simply a great way to start a company, especially if you can work from a home office or out in the field. Chris Ogburn, director of sales and development for small and medium businesses at HP, is a leading advocate and advisor for small business owners around the globe. His team has met with nearly than 8,000 small business owners through HP’s work with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s national Business Matchmaking initiative, a program designed to give that sector access to key decision-makers in local, state and federal government agencies.
Chris has developed the following list of tips for starting a virtual business to address a trend that he believes is not reversing – the rise in virtual workers, up by 800 percent in just the past five years (Nemertes Research). With some thoughtful planning, operating a business out of your home could open you up to the joys of self-employment without all the overhead!
We are delighted to present Chris’ top ten tips for starting a virtual business:
Tip #1: Make sure your business can operate “virtually.” Are you meeting with contacts at your place of business, or theirs? Do you spend most of your time outside the office?
Good candidates for a virtual business: Architects, interior designers, home build-ers, computer professionals, accountants, other service professionals (businesses where most of the work is actually in other people’s homes or businesses – ranging from cleaning services to home repair).
Poor candidates for a virtual business: Physicians, mental health professionals, manufacturing businesses.
Tip #2: Consider your personality. Are you a self-starter, or do you need inspiration from others to get things done? Do you prefer quiet time to work, or do you thrive around other people who can provide reinforcement and support? Are your management skills suited for a phone-based relationship with your remote team?
Tip #3: Hire the right people. Do you have trustworthy employees who can get the job done, even if they are not physically in the same office? How much of their work is actually done outside the office? Can you trust your existing staff to work independently from a home-office location? Do you have access to a mature talent pool of potential employees if you are just starting out or planning to expand?