The 2016 Women Owners Summit was a day filled with peer interaction, engagement, shared business experiences and resources for women owners, founders and CEOs!
Our roundtable session leaders provided us with tips, suggestions and shared advice!
Linda Amaro, CEO at Klarinet Solutions shares her expert advice on Building a Business With a Virtual Team.
1. Assess your needs and determine what can be done remotely and what must have direct, hands-on
supervision. Part of this is answering the “Why?” and will assist in choosing the pieces to go
2. Develop your plan and how you will manage the business and work. All business success is
meeting and exceeding goals. Playing “What if?” or “What would it look like if?” helps to
determine what to measure.
3. Determine your infrastructure which includes the types of tools needed to support your
4. Select the tools – CRM, Time Keeping, Fulfillment, Invoicing and/or Financial System,
Scheduling, Document Management, Task Management/Project Management, Communication Systems,
Sales Tracking, Feedback Tools, Marketing tools, Shared Resources, HR System, Office
Applications, Technical Support, Network, etc.
5. Form your team – Select existing team members, hire new employees/contractors or have a
combination of resources. This may include conducting behavioral assessments that provide
information on the best style match to the work or how to manage the team. It is recommended to
have an HR Consultant assist in establishing a virtual team to insure compliance to the
applicable Labor Laws.
6. Establish the performance metrics with the team. It is important to be clear on what success
will look like and how often they will be reviewed. In this step allow the managers and team
leads to help create how they will lead the staff.
7. Train the team on the tools to be used, review HR policies and corporate procedures.
8. Hold regular team meetings and include creative sessions where team members may contribute to
new product ideas or services, or where there are opportunities for improvement. Having the
members be a part of the development process will gain their buy in and support.
9. Poll your customers and client base or allow for feedback to assess if you are meeting your
targets and satisfaction goals.
10. Reassess your progress at intervals that make sense for your business.
Question 1 – How do I find people to join my team when it is not a brick and mortar establishment?
Answer 1 – Build partnerships with several recruiters that specialize in your field or the work core to your business. You also can look at professional organizations that to tap into key resources. (NOTE: Not all project team members need to be employees, you can collaborate with non- competing companies or independent contractors).
Question 2 – How do I know what tools are needed?
Answer 2 – Assess the work and determine which tasks would be best to automate or could be accomplished remotely. Once you have this list, begin to research tools available. Several Computer Magazines will have grid comparisons for best in class solutions. You may also choose to contract a Business Analyst or Technologist that may assist in matching your needs to tools or a suite of tools.
Question 3 – What security is needed?
Answer 3 – The level of security will be determined by the work. It could be as light as virus scanning software to having encryption to securely transfer information. One part of security that is often overlooked is insuring client information is hosted or transferred to the central repository.
Question 4 – My business is small and I have limited budget, how do I look bigger or build up?
Answer 4 – Look to see what work is core to your business and staff for the essentials (anything beyond what you/your partners can take on yourselves). The things that are outside of the core work, can be outsourced to companies or individuals that specialize in that area. For example: If you are a software development company you would hire/manage your Product Managers and outsource the product marketing. By having strategic partners, you can build a collective that will compete with larger companies or it will allow you to use part-time staff until you are big enough to hire full-time staff.
Question 5 – Why would I want to?
Answer 5 – The landscape of business is changing and so is the workforce. There are several benefits of having parts of your business operate virtually:
1. Expand without the cost of brick and mortar
2. Attract and retain your workforce
3. Build a part-time team or staff for what is needed leveraging skilled retirees or newly
4. Provide regional support to your customers to expand hours of operation
5. The on-line tools make it easier to implement
Please consider joining us for the 2017 Women Owners Summit on Thursday, July 27th in San Diego!