I have been running my business completely online since a few years ago. I guess I was one of the early adopters of this concept those days. Things were a little bit weird at first. Many potential clients at that time were taken aback when I said I don’t prefer to meet face-to-face to discuss things. Now, everything seems normal. So far things have been great, thanks to these factors which I think are crucial in making the journey a true success.
Great, recognisable virtual office address. The last thing I want to do is to answer my client’s question about the location of my ‘office’ address. If the location isn’t recognisable, it may jeopardise the chances to secure a deal. This is one of the first impression elements that I must address first. These clients usually don’t ask me whether my office is a virtual or physical one. The only thing they need to know is whether my company is trustworthy or not. And it starts with the office address.
A trustworthy email address. I avoided free emails, and went for a corporate one. Just like office addresses, email addresses tell a lot about me and NSE especially on credibility.
Shared folder. Every single document from quotation, terms and conditions, to invoices and rate cards must be ready. Keep the templates handy and always available. This is why I love Google Drive. It is always on, most of my documents are there and systematically kept for future usage. All of my clients’ documents are there too. Since I am always on the run, I don’t waste time creating a new one when I need to send a document to clients. Despite the convenience, I still have a backup just in case things were to go wrong in the future.
Discipline and reachability. I am treating every single day as if it is a working Saturday. I am always available either with my desktop, laptop and mobile devices just in case my clients need to sort out something urgently. This is how I keep my reachability. And this is how I keep my discipline.
Trust level among team members. I used to blindly trust my team members when it comes to the outcome of their work. It’s easier to do it when everything runs on physical. I can see them in the office and verify their work to ensure consistent and better results for the clients. When everything goes online, things were all okay during the first year. From the second year onwards, things went sloppy. While it is important to trust my team members fully on what they do, yet the mistakes cost me a high churn rate that year. I never experienced this before which after I got to know the root cause of the problem, things were never the same. I became more strict to ensure the same problems won’t happen again. In theory, I should trust the employee with their work. I understand, but it doesn’t always translate into success especially when the employees themselves are the one to be blamed for being undisciplined and sloppy.
Know when to switch off. I hardly respond to clients after 7pm. Most of them know that my working hour starts at 8am and it ends at 7pm. After that I’ll cast my devices aside. Unless there are important things I need to clear. And I hardly respond on weekends too. Usually I keep my weekends for family time and writing.