The best ways to manage your business online

The wonders of technology – and the world wide web – have make it quicker and easier than ever to set up a business. With little cost or time, you can establish a new company without leaving your own four walls – or even changing out of your pyjamas if you’re so inclined.

Yet, while all you need to establish a business is a decent internet connection and the odd device, managing your enterprise can be tough. Face-to-face interaction within a traditional office space makes it easier to look after employees, chase work, brief people on projects and introduce new processes and ideas. If that’s all happening online, life can be trickier. But not impossible. Here’s how to manage your business online:

Easy access is key

Whether you’re calling on freelancers or employees based elsewhere, it’s vital to make it as straightforward as possible for people to be able to update their part of a project, collaborate where required and send work wherever and whenever they can, from whatever device they choose. Harnessing Google Drive’s full capabilities, for example, saves you getting tied up in an impossible to unravel email knot.

Use project management software

How do you know who’s doing what when it comes to a business project? How do you know whether you’re up to speed and, if not, where the hold up is? That’s where project management software comes in, allowing you to track time, delegate responsibility and break up a long-term large-scale project into smaller manageable chunks. This is ideal for a team of people working together on a project – check out this guide to see some of the different types of software you could tap into.

Stay secure

If your business is online, then there’s a risk. When it comes to handling data and money, you cannot afford to cut back on cyber security. Pay for a software package that can protect you against the majority of common threats and keep it updated. Be careful not to rely on free WiFi – which might be unsecure – and make sure you know how to spot hacking threats. Every business faces risk, smart businesses can identify this (use a RAID log to help you) and then plan for how to mitigate it.

Have some offline interaction

Just because you’re online, it doesn’t mean you can never venture out of the house. Make sure you dedicate some time to catching up with the people you work with – be they employees, freelancers, contractors or clients – so that you don’t lose sight of the human touch. Video conferencing can help to plug some of the gap, but don’t underestimate the power of one-to-one human contact, if at all possible.

Consider your working environment

How do you know when the working day starts and ends? It can be a tricky balance for people with an online business to be able to split work and home life. It’s important to try to set aside ‘office space’ – even if this is just a desk – where you can get in the work mindset. Alternatively, see if you can tap into shared office space, even just for the odd day (this might also be your chance to arrange a meeting too).

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