Many people dream of living and working for their pleasure, traveling the world. Spending more time with their family. They have only one problem: they’re business owners simultaneously playing the role of manager.
It would seem that business owners should be much freer to choose. But very often the owner becomes a hostage to his business. For owners, the reality is that they are constantly working overtime on weekdays and weekends. Office → overtime work at home → office. Sound familiar?
Some people don’t even go on vacation for 3 years. And if they go away for a whole month, then when they come back they’re going to suffer losses and chaos. It turns out that in their absence, almost nothing was done. And many things got much worse: unprofitable contracts were made, several dissatisfied customers left, sales dropped, etc.
What you can do to prevent this from working remotely?
Here are remote management key points:
1. It takes 6 to 15 months to rebuild a business
Did you hear about a magic ‘pill’ or ‘button’? You push it and it all works out by itself! In reality, setting up a remote control business will require hard work, patience, and the will to achieve the goal.
It will take from 6 to 15 months to transform your business from “owner = manager = every day in the office” to “owner = strategic development of the company from anywhere in the world”, depending on the size and nuances of your business.
2. Regulate all business processes
How many questions can you ask your employees: “Why didn’t you consider that?” or “Why did you solve the problem in this, of course, least optimal way? In such situations, it seems that there are only fools around, and only you’re are the smartest.
There is a simple rule: any repeated action in your company should be regulated. You should start with the main business process (for example: for a store this is the process from the sale of the goods until the shipment to the client). In the schedule, you break down the task into steps. You specify the optimal actions for solving the task.
When the standing orders are put into effect, each employee to whom they apply can make his or her suggestions and comments. You discuss. If necessary, the procedural rules are corrected. From thereon the following rule applies: “if you don’t comply with the regulations, you get punished”.
3. Delegate everything you can
Every time you are tasked to do something, your first thought should be: “Who can do this task with acceptable quality beside me?” and “What does he need to do it: knowledge, resources, experience? This is where detailed instructions-regulations come to the rescue.
You don’t have such an employee on staff? Find outsourced contractors or hire a specialist on a piece-rate basis (a freelancer). Is this a task that only you can accomplish? Break down your task into several parts. You may be able to delegate some parts. For example, you can use some essay proofreading service that will help you to save time.
4. Planning is the first antidote to chaos
Operational (short-term) planning consists of a weekly plan and a daily plan. The daily and weekly plans are made by employees based on project plans as well as strategic plans.
Project planning – for each project, create a monthly work plan (projects can be: the task of opening a new store, meeting obligations to a particular customer, changing an internal business process, etc.).
Strategic planning – define within it a list of projects and key actions on them without detail.
5. The reporting everyone hates
Progress reports should be daily for each employee. A daily report should include a list of tasks completed during the day + time spent on each task.
Employees also need to report on project plans and other plans.
By the way, as long as you have NO reporting and control system in your company, it makes no sense to make any plans. Everyone will spit on them from a high tower.
6. Control: “Trust but verify!”
A familiar landscape: The owner walks into the office and sees a pleasing picture. Someone is fussing with a pile of papers. Someone is actively tapping military marches on a keyboard. Some, depicting the utmost seriousness on their faces, immediately begin to reach customers.
But when you begin to summarize the results it turns out that most of the tasks have not been done. And no one has even started on the most important ones. But everyone is so busy!
For each completed task, an employee should enter the actual time spent on it. This is a great blitz tool to evaluate his effectiveness!
You must also control the observance of the regulations as strictly as possible. The main rule is: if you can’t control it, don’t punish it. And if you can’t control it, you have to rely on the goodwill of your employees.
7. Gingerbread: a good payment system is the best motivation
If your company has well-formalized processes and rules and the result is not easy to “digitize”, it is better to use the formula: “Cash Compensation” = “Base Part (90%)” + “Bonus for Excellence (10%).”
In the case where the required result from the work can be formalized (the rate of performance of the same type of tasks, any KPI) and the employee can seriously influence it (and, most importantly, he agrees with it) the formula can be replaced, for example, by: “Cash Compensation” = “Base Part (75%)” + “Excellence Bonus (10%)” + “Performance Bonus (15%)”. Set the “Cash Bonus” so that it totals 10-15% more than the market average. The percentage of the “Performance Bonus” reflects the extent to which the employee is influenced by the result.
Enter for each employee a percentage of sales and the recommendation of a new customer. Even those who complained about a lack of talent and knowledge will start selling!
Develop a horizontal career system – the so-called “grades”. Brief gist of the system: if certain conditions are met, an employee can increase his “remuneration” by 10%. The conditions should depend on the position and job profile.
8. The Eight-Hour Rule
‘If the boss keeps me in the office all the time and doesn’t count my time, then I won’t count his time,’ the average person reasoned rightly.
Don’t require them to work more than 8 hours for the company per workday. But ask 100% for those 8 hours. The breaks and smoke breaks must be also regulated. Time off and personal leave are always at their own expense.
9. Find a key associate (aka deputy and manager)
Companion is a very important word, and it is not just a figure of speech. The person in this position must necessarily share your management principles, the principles of “good” and “bad” (both work and life), to support you in the implementation of new “revolutionary” ideas.
- He or she is the one in charge of the operational management of the employees and the company.
- The manager should be motivated by a percentage of net income and personal sales.
- Be 100% honest with him. If you cannot afford it – then you do not have an associate.
- When you work, you are in contact primarily with the manager. Do not only ask for him but all the employees.
- Set all tasks for the other employees via your manager.
Be prepared that at some point your associate will want to open his own business (if, of course, he doesn’t stand still, but constantly develops his management skills). It follows that all the actions should be clearly regulated + it should also be clearly stated and recorded on paper about the prohibition of using the client and partner base of the company.
How to look for partners? The correct way is to raise them from your employees. Small companies (5-10 people) have the following rule: ‘If a candidate for your company has no prospects of becoming your employee, do not hire him. In critical situations, you should look for associates on the open labor market.’
Strategic development – the introduction of new services/groups of goods and businesses, radical improvement of old ones, the algorithmization of key business processes, the development of a strategic plan for the company (do not forget to set goals for this plan!).
- Maintain direct communication with key customers.
- Control the finances.
- Come to the office once every 2-3 months for 1-2 weeks to see everything with your own eyes. Especially relevant when your manager is on vacation.
- Be ready in case of a crisis to come to resolve it (the departure of an “associate” or the need to replace him due to a serious deterioration inefficiency, a money crisis in the company, etc.).