5 Things SMEs Can Do Now – Running a Business From Home
How to continue running a Business from home
Running a business from home is a task most business owners are tackling all over the UK. Growth should be at the heart of whatever you do as an entrepreneur, and this shouldn’t come to a catastrophic halt while working from home.
As the option of furlough isn’t as available to CEOs & company directors as it is to normal employees, you’re still able to work on your business behind closed doors. But, if you’re closed what ‘business’ can you do?
Remote work should be seen as a great opportunity to work on areas of your business that you wouldn’t usually have time to as a CEO or founder. We’ll take inspiration from the many new companies starting their businesses from home and see how they are continuing to build their empires from the kitchen table.
We’ve put together 5 tasks you and your employees (whether on furlough or not) can do whilst in lockdown to continue running a business from home.
1.Plan, plan, plan
This is the obvious one, but once you’ve laid out a clear plan for your business, it’ll make future decisions far easier to make in the long run. So, start by analysing where the company is at currently, finances, the performance of your teams, marketing efforts etc. Then see what areas you’re lagging behind in or just plain missing out.
This is when you can start planning. You probably already have a strategy to use as a starting point, but going through your analysis with a fine-tooth comb could bring up areas you hadn’t taken into consideration.
The government website is a perfect resource for outlining what you should consider for your business plan.
- Spotting potential problems
- Setting out your goals
- Measuring your progress
If you’re in need of a business plan template see The Prince’s Trust for downloadable templates from full business packs to finance tables.
2. What Employee Training to undertake?
We spoke to Welsh training provider, Job Force Wales (Skills Academy Wales Consortium) to see what employers should be focussing on.
Sue Torry from Job Force Wales says:
“Firstly, decide what training your company needs to help your staff during lockdown.”
As your staff are learning how to cope with their new routine (whether furloughed or not), training in resilience, wellbeing and critical thinking are great places to start. It’s not to be underplayed that having a mentally strong workforce will help with the ‘new normal’ that is to come.
While most businesses are moving with the times, we’re still seeing huge amounts of staff that are not completely computer literate. As a result of this, training providers are seeing that “training in technology is in great demand”.
This has big ramifications if you’re attempting to operate from home. Even if your employees have a good understanding of the tech they currently use, online courses that help ‘upskill’ their tech knowledge will hugely benefit your business.
Sue Torry says “The target of making the UK ‘born digital’ is still a long way off, so moving paper-based methods online is vital”.
Lastly, Sue recommends management courses.
“Managing employees online is different from face-to-face, so training helps teach managers how to support their team better”.
It’s also good to note that if you employ an apprentice you’re able to access Government funding for all training for them, up to a degree level.
Whatever training you decide to enrol your employees in, there’s a multitude of funding available, as well as shorter online courses you can use for free.
3. Make a plan of action for after lockdown
Since we all could be back to work soon, it’s a good idea to plan out what you need to do before you re-open.
Set our your social distancing plan for keeping employees 2 metres away from each other. As well as a more regular cleaning schedule for your cleaners and for employees.
It’s also a good time to plan for how you will ‘re-launch’. Could you offer something like a welcome back deal to attract more business once you’re up and running again? Perhaps plan for some targeted ads to market your brand to companies and customers who will be in need of you when lockdown is lifted?
This is the best time to consider these questions while you’re doing business from home.
4. Consider flexible working as a company perk
If you’ve been able to continue operating remotely during the lockdown, you’ve likely seen the positives of flexible working. While this may not be ideal to introduce straight away, it could be something you use to help your employees get more done and boost job happiness.
There’s evidence to suggest allowing flexible working hours and occasional remote working initiatives, boosts employees overall productivity.
As found in a study by Stanford University economics professor, Nicholas Bloom, employees “allowed to work flexibly from home increased their productivity by 13%. The flexible workers also reported higher work satisfaction and took less sick leave than their office-bound counterparts.”
As you won’t always be running a Business from home, you’ll need to think of changes you can make for the better.
5. Test & implement time-saving technology
As we discussed above, tech is an under-rated and under-used tool in growing businesses. Over the past few months we’ve seen one of the biggest spikes in the uptake of technology that allows companies to communicate and collaborate remotely.
Even with more small businesses learning how to improve their processes with the help of tools like Slack, Trello and the Google Suite, there’s still a way to go for full digital transformation.
Areas that a lot of traditional businesses still hold onto is their document processes. By updating to electronic documents you’re removing a lot of cost and time wasted printing, collating and waiting for documents to be returned. Choosing a digital solution like Signable will mean you and your employees can send documents to be signed to clients and coworkers, from anywhere in the world.
You’ll see a huge cut in those costs you calculated earlier for your business plan as sending a document with Signable can cost as low as 26p per document.
Listen to our audio blog below to hear about how sending electronic documents works for small businesses, as well as security and the legislation that regulates them.
Then we’ll take you through the quick & easy step-by-step process of sending an electronic document – get a coffee and have a listen!