Running a business is difficult enough for those of us who are there every day to monitor. However, things become exponentially more difficult if, for whatever reason you have to run your business from a distance. It is never an ideal situation and requires several characteristics and systems to be in place to ensure success.
If you find yourself in this situation, whether by choice or desire, here a few things you can do to ensure the continued success and growth of your business even in the absence of the owner.
Trust in Your Staff
Undoubtedly this will be the most difficult aspect for most entrepreneurs and business owners. Many of us have an innate desire to be in control and running the show essentially. This is one of the major characteristics which drives the desire to start a new business in the first instance. This is something you must surrender to a large extent if you wish to successfully run your business from a distance. You must trust your staff members. Regardless if they are family members, close friends and business partners, you must first trust them and allow them space to work without feeling crowded out or over-pressured.
Hiring Is Essential
Going hand in hand with the previous point related to staff members is that you have to ensure as a point of utmost importance that you have hired the correct staff for the job. This is how you can then allow the trust to be built, when you are first confident in your hiring procedures. Reliability and trustworthiness are the two keys for hiring managers and employees in this situation. Business or sector knowledge can in fact be somewhat secondary in this respect.
It is also vital that employees are made to feel respected and valued. This is always the case regardless if you are close or far away, however it becomes even more vital from a distance. It is important that they feel adequately rewarded and not that they are essentially doing your job or profiting for you while you are perceived to be relaxing at a distance. Whether that is actually the case or not is irrelevant, the important factor is their perception of you.
Be Prepared to Give
In certain situations where it is simply impossible for you to adopt a hands on approach, it may be essential to give away some portion of your business to managers or staff members. This can range from low level revenue bonuses to larger equity stakes in the company.
This strategy will undoubtedly serve to motivate the employees and managers to work harder in your absence and it is even possible that it could improve business somewhat for you. It also removes your headaches of trusting the job that is being done somewhat, since it should now be in the best interests of all to see the company strive.
It is never an ideal situation, but there are always a variety of strategies available to help run your business from afar.