Going Mobile? Quick tips/tricks for running an remote/online based business.
Many businesses today are moving towards a remote/online based platform. This shift in how business conducts its business comes with some new challenges to ensure customers remain informed, operations remain on schedule, and business runs smoothly. There are many advantages to running a remote or online based business- some of which are included in our quick tips within this post. In this post we will review some quick tips and tricks for running your online/remote business.
Tip 1: Maintain a website
One of the most important aspects that any remote or online based business needs is a website for people to visit and engage with you and your product. Websites in any business are important, and for online based businesses you need a website to run your business. Websites for remote businesses are more than a place to make a sale- they are places to share services, resources and of course offer a place for engagement with your product.
Tip 2: Be reachable
You’ve probably seen this more and more, but most websites now feature real time or “live” chat feature. This along with a clear contact us section that includes a phone number, email address, and even a contact us form for those who prefer not to send a direct email are basic necessities. Simply put- you need to be reachable and easily accessible. Most website drag and drop builders (such as Weebly, Wix, Squarespace) have these aspects within their framework and are easily implemented. It’s vital that if your business doesn’t operate on normal business hours, you give customers access to you in multiple ways.
Tip 3: Utilize conference platforms
More and more companies are relying on remote conference based platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Join.me, Google Hangouts, and GoToMeeting. These services allow people to connect all across the globe, at various hours, and offer solutions for holding meetings outside the transitional in office setting. While each device does offer different elements, utilizing one or all of these platforms are a great way to hold a conference, meet with a board, or even offer a live training or business transaction remotely.
Doubtful about the need for conference platforms? Check out these numbers according to Lifesize:
Tip 4: Create a mobile team
Taking on a remote business solo may be tricky the more the business grows. If you are your business, this may not be as vital. With that being said, creating a mobile team can help carry the load. For instance you can set up a workflow to where one of your staff handles all the customer service requests and calls/emails route to them. They can handle all the needs from wherever they are and utilize the above tips to help share that outcome across the company. This divides the labor amongst more people and the customer does not have to think twice about where or who is answering their call. This can all be done while you are in one location and they are in possibly a completely different one.
Tip 5: Be flexible
One thing about going completely remote is that flexibility is key. If you can’t “roll with the punches” it may be harder to navigate the various methods and approaches to moving to a more mobile and remote platform. The benefit of staying flexible allows you to be more creative with your time and with the process. Embrace the flexibility and see what doors can be opened.
While going towards a more remote/online focused business may not be for everyone, it is something that anyone can do. With so many resources out there, platforms to help execute functions, and services such as PKJ Consulting, the shift can happen. All in all enjoy the opportunities going remote provides and see what happens!
Writing a Business Plan? Top Tips for Business Plan Writing
Writing a business plan entails several key elements and components to ensure the plan reaches the intended goals you have set for your business. Developing a business plan takes some consideration and thought, to ensure the information is not only compelling, but also worthy of a potential investors time and consideration. In this post we will cover a few tips to help you write a business plan to increase the chance the plan is well received by your potential investor. Let’s now take a look at these key tips:
Study your competition
The idea that your idea is completely unique or original is becoming more and more rare. Today there are more and more businesses who offer a similar set of services to a similar set of clients or customers- and that’s a good thing. When writing a business plan, it’s important to study your competition. Identify how they do what they do, who they target, what’s their angle, who is their demographic, etc. By understanding the competition you can identity how you can benefit from entering into that space and also how to set your idea apart. In terms of business plan writing, completion is a good thing: it means others are seeing the value in the idea too!
Know your audience
When drafting your business plan you always want to put yourself in the perspective of the person who will be reading your plan. It’s important to study and know your audience. It’s OK to adjust your business plan based on who you’re pitching it to. A wise idea is to always consider creating a fictitious person who would be potentially reviewing your plan speak and your plan as if you were speaking to them. How would they read what you said? How would they interpret what you meant to say? Does everything come across in an ideal and clear concise way for that one individual person understand? If you can create a fictional character that may be reading your plan and write to that person then you were on track to targeting your specific audience.
Support your claims
If you are going to report it: make sure you can claim it. No, we are not talking taxes, we are talking the claims made in your plan. If you plan on making a claim that you will reach 1000 new customers a year, or you will make x number of new business contracts by mid-year, make sure you can support the claim. It’s best to start out more general and then work your plan down to specific claims that based on trends, numbers, and yes some positive thinking. Once you found what claims you feel you can support (no not 100% sure WILL happen), then list those claims out and stand behind them with confidence.
Don’t inflate projections
One thing to avoid any business plan is inflating numbers that don’t exist. If you’re going to claim something in your plan make sure you can support it. For example, reporting that you will make $1 million dollars selling bike tires the first year of business, may raise some questions. Now take the same concept and report that in the next year you plan on moving 100 tires a month, at $12 a tire, for an anticipated profit of $1200 a month- that’s a claim that is more conservative than overinflated. You won’t know for sure how the market will respond to your projections, but ground them in some realistic ideas of what can be accomplished with the help of the person your plan is being pitched to.
Identify needed resources
Businesses need resources. This includes startup costs, personnel, tangible items such as computers, equipment, and other things that will make the business run smoothly. These need to be factored into your business plan as part of your overall cost that you are asking for support in funding. A business plan is not just asking for dollars- it’s asking for the support in resources to get the plan off the ground. When initiating a plan, outline what you will need and what long term upkeep may need to go into those resources. It’s best to map the full picture out and not leave the long term details off the plan.
Ok this one may seem obvious but we have to say it: be logical with your plan. If you are selling goods online as your sole source of revenue, avoid claiming your store will make x sales from foot traffic. If you plan on launching a web platform, ensure your google ranking can actually be “number one” within a matter of a week (this is nearly impossible by the way). In short, report logical, well thought out ideas and dreams so others can buy in on the dream too. If it’s too off base you will lose potential investors faster than you started.
Identify your team
Plans take people to execute so don’t leave your team off the plan. When pitching your plan on paper, include the team and their specific talents that they bring to the vision of the business. Include who they are, what their role is, and what their background has been to justify that role. By sharing the team, investors are more likely to trust that the aspects of the business will be managed on all fronts. If you don’t have a wide range of talent on the plan, include what you have and how you will make the roles otherwise filled by other work.
We have all heard of KISS right? Not the band, but the philosophy of keeping it super simple. Plans can follow the same. Long winded, overly complex plans usually come of as confusing to the reader and drowns out the actual content you want to be absorbed. Don’t add fluff, and stay concise.
Business plan writing is quite the task. It can be embraced and executed well, and with a clear vision on what steps to take in beaking down the process, can streamline the experience. While very business and plan will be different, following some similar tips and guidelines can help you focus in on what sections matter most and what aspects your plan can go without. Best of luck on the planning and get after it!
Can you imagine ditching your 9-5 to work at your dream job, with a better office? What if your dream job included a cool boss that you’ve been friends with for awhile. However, only a few months into the position, you realize that sometimes business and friends just don't mix and things don't work out and you part ways with their company. On top of that, your husband just left for a six month deployment with the Air Force and oh, did I mention the three kids at home? What do you do? You go back to a stable position? Right? That's the logical and smart thing to do, right?
Well, not always. I got a chance to speak to special guest, Shauna Armitage,on my podcast, PKJ Podcast who went through this exact situation and chose a much different path than many would have, put in her shoes.
Quick Tips from a Mom Making Moxie In Business
Shauna is the founder of ‘Making Moxie,’ a community for female entrepreneurs to share their stories and insights while guiding one another and growing successful businesses. Shauna is also the mother of one boy and two little girls with one on the way. She is making moxie in life and in business so her children will see that they have the power to make an impact with a little grit and a lot of determination.
Here are the highlights from this week’s episode:
1. Before going into business with a friend, be sure your goals are in alignment.
Shauna shared that one reason that she found herself clashing with her friend/boss, is that they had different ideas about how clients should be treated. Shauna’s more intimate approach wasn’t what her friend’s company wasn’t what her company was interested in, so they eventually ended up parting ways.
“I've never been fired from anything in my life and it came at a really tough time for me.” - Shauna Armitrage
2. Your passion can be an opportunity to make new friends.
I mentioned during this episode that a lot of times we love our friends for certain aspects. Maybe they're fun or maybe they're hard working or maybe they're outgoing, but if we don't have the same goals and we haven't sat down and really worked everything out you really shouldn’t enter into a partnership. In my business, I get asked often, “Should I start a partnership with my friend because they have more money to contribute than I do right now?” I always advice them to think long-term about that person before making decision. We always outgrow people at some point, you know? I say that the friends that if we kept all the friends we had in kindergarten, we wouldn't have room to make new friends.
3. Just because you’re in business doesn’t mean you always have to read business books.
When I asked Shauna what her favorite types of books are, she said she gets asked that A LOT! “I think that people are always expecting some kind of like business book. But the books that I really like to read are more historical fiction. I really like hearing the stories of powerful and inspiring women in history and their lives and what they did. So those are the kinds of things that I like to read when I actually have a few minutes to sit down and read!”
4. Define your own version of success.
While in Shauna’s shoes, most people would start to look for a 9-5 to fill in the hole that lost dream job created. Shauna catered to her situation which led her to Making Moxie. When asked what her ultimate goal is for her company she said, “The ultimate goal for my company is to make ME successful. And I say that because I feel like I've defined success differently than a lot of people have. [Other coaches and consultants said...] you're not going to be able to scale or you're going to hit that point where you can only take so many one on one client so you're going to be limiting your income. And I kind of sat with that for a little while and I was like, you know what? I'm okay with that because I think we really glorify hitting the six figures or hitting the seven figures or are making all of this money. But to me I don't need to do that. I love the one on one work that I do with my clients. That's very fulfilling to me. It makes me happy and you know, my kids are healthy and happy and we have enough money for vacations and that's what my business is for me, is that it allows me to define success for myself and not trying to follow a model that somebody else says they're successful.”
To hear more from Shauna, find Making Moxie on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook @iammakingmoxie and you can always find her at MakingMoxie.com along with lots of amazing thought leadership from other women who are just doing the damn thing and it's a great place to get inspired by their stories and their insights on how to grow a business.