We don’t really need to go over the benefits of working remotely – lower stress, added flexibility, no commute, to name a few – to illustrate that more of the world’s workforce is moving that direction. More and more jobs are more easily completed remotely than ever before. And a larger portion of the population are moving their offices to their homes.
Though this may come as a surprise, this holds true for business owners, too. Managing a small business can be done largely from home or any other location.
It’s worth noting that, though this is possible, it will be different. This means making adjustments and being patient with changes to how business is run. You can run a successful retail business remotely, but it won’t always be business as usual.
Keeping easy channels of communication open is the most important place to start. You never want to seem absent from the business so be sure that you can reach each team member quickly and that they can do the same in return.
Also institute regular meetings with your entire staff or at least with the management team. Conduct a virtual meeting on Skype, Hangouts, FaceTime, etc. This forces everyone into a routine of regular communication.
If you’re worried about worker productivity in your absence, setting up regular meetings in small groups or even individually will remind your team what they need to do and keep them more accountable for their performance.
For ordering, inventory, scheduling, promotional plans, etc. make sure that you have a clearly defined system in place.
Streamline the process by coming up with a clean system of operations. This means that once a task is assigned, it will be completed most efficiently with little room for error or miscommunication. Like other operations that you’ve created at your retail business, this one should be carefully considered and thought out beforehand.
This ensures that tasks are completed and balls aren’t dropped. Don’t leave anyone the excuse that something wasn’t completed because you weren’t around to oversee everything.
This applies to each of the items on this list but it can its own category, too. Technology, of course, is at the heart of what allows us to work remotely. Below are some of the most popular tools to better facilitate this process.
GoTo Meeting – It’s an online meeting and conferences tool to use with staff or clients starting at $12/month
Slack – Messaging app for communication between your team. Unique channels can also be used to keep information organized and operations efficient. Free to use up to a certain storage amount.
Skype – This video chat service is free and easy to use.
Zoom – Another video meeting app starting at $14.99/month.
Dropbox – This keeps all content, including word documents, images, PDFs, and much more all in one place and accessible through the cloud. Standard plans start at $12.50/month.
Hootsuite – Schedule social media posts so that you can stay active on each profile 24/7. It starts at $29/month.
PayPal – PayPal facilitates money transfers. Direct transfers from accounts are free. Credit and debit payment transactions come with industry standard processing costs.
Quickbooks – This is used for accounting services, keeping your costs and taxes all under one umbrella. Plans start at $20/month.
When I Work – A popular scheduling app, this gives you another channel of communication with your staff. Plans are free for businesses with fewer than 75 employees.
There are PLENTY of other options out there, but these are a handful of the most popular. They also cover the most common types of technology that small retail businesses use.
Yes, going by the store does defeat the purpose of the point of this whole blog post. But the point stands, you’ll have to come around sometimes. Have a physical presence when you’re in the area. It’s good to show you’re keeping an eye on things and to have a personal relationship with your staff members.
Your marketing game is one of the easiest things to do remotely. And there are a lot of different channels that you can use to build a great marketing strategy for your retail store.
Build out your website and start a blog. Increase organic brand awareness and get more people in your store.
Look into paid advertising through Google, Facebook, YouTube, or whatever channel makes sense with your store’s brand.
Add an eCommerce store if you can. Creating an omni-channel experience is important for any retailer. And incorporating your sales channel with an online platform is remarkably easy.
Start an email marketing campaign. It’s a great way to build a customer database and your CRM and is really cheap to get off the ground.
Hiring a great staff of people is a critical step for any business owner. Take the time to find the right people for the job. Look for team members with a passion for what your retail business stands for and sells. You want each person to be as invested in the product as you are.
If you’re planning on running the business remotely, you also need to be able to trust each person. With as much as you have on your mind running a business you can’t afford to worry about your staff.
Hire your management team early and rely on them to complete the hiring of all associates. Creating a strong company culture is a critical part of running a successful retail business.
In order to run the day-to-day operations of any retail business, you need to have a cloud-based retail POS system. Your point of sale is meant to be the center of all business operations. In addition to processing sales, the POS runs your inventory management, produces sales reports and analysis, schedules promotions, creates employee reports, and much more.
With a cloud-based system, each of these can be accessed and managed remotely. Access to the back-end only requires an internet connection along with your login credentials. This means you don’t have to call a manager or head to the store itself to get much the information that you require on a daily basis.
Like any changes to a business, test it out first. It might not be the best solutions for some retail stores; and even for those that are a good fit, it will be an adjustment to your normal operations. So be careful not to go all in right away.
For assistance on how your retail POS can help make this easier, give us a call or set up a free trial. We’ll walk you through the features that make it easy to work remotely all the while improving your business. Click below to try it out!