By Ash Patel, Director of Business Transformation at Cobweb Solutions
Mobilising your business will transform, even liberate it. From lowering office overheads to improving the strength of your customer relationships, the benefits can be vast. What’s more, empowering employees to work from anywhere can also deliver competitive advantage from a happier, more productive team.
But in order to enjoy these benefits, mobilising a business must be done well. This means being methodical and diligent in how you go about it, and also keeping in mind a few critical considerations, from company culture to technology.
The first of these factors is to think about just how ‘mobile’ you want your business to be. Should your company be office-free, with staff working from home or the road, or do you just want the capability to work remotely when needed? For most, the capability to work remotely as and when required is the main motivation for mobilising, but the underlying issues to think about remain the same.
Letting your team know
If you want to make mobilization a success then it’s best to include your staff in the decision, or at least the transition process, as soon as possible. It may be your call to mobilise but the staff are the ones who have to work with it. Tell them that you’re thinking about mobilizing and listen to any concerns and requests they may have. You can then work to address these at the very beginning, making the change as pain-free and effective as you can from the outset.
Many small businesses pride themselves on their own unique company culture. Ask yourself how flexible working will affect your company’s working culture. Does your team thrive in a bustling office environment and benefit from working together closely? If so then perhaps have a mandatory day or two each week where everyone has to work from the office. This means you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Get the right technology – or partner - in place
This is what makes the difference in a successful mobile business. Your staff need to have access to the information they need at all times, from anywhere, and this applies to all areas of the business, from emails to invoicing, sales data to telephony. To help with this, you need to look to the liberating benefits of the cloud.
Cloud-based tools, such as Office 365, not only enable access to information and functionality from anywhere with an internet connection, they also save on investment in hardware. Win-win.
Small business seeking to keep costs to a minimum should also consider implementing a BYOD policy, whereby employees can work off their own device. However, it is essential to factor in implications regarding compatibility or information security further down the line, and of course, make sure you have reliable IT support too!
For many small to medium sized businesses this means selecting a technology partner to guide or manage the process for them so the changeover and the continued operation of the solutions will remove the management burden. Security, updates and managing new devices isn’t something that every small business can manage in house all the time, so find a partner that can liberate you to concentrate on your core strengths.
With your team working away from a central office, effective communication is vital for efficient business management and co-ordination. Once you’ve got your communications technology - such as Microsoft Lync - in place, you need to make sure they’re being used. Scheduling regular calls with your team - or teams - means that you can stay abreast of the latest developments across the business and keep your finger on the pulse, as you would in an office.
Being a mobile boss
Finally, if you want your mobile business to be effective then ultimately you need to visibly lead by example. Schedule calls, listen to your staff, share frequent updates with the team, and be in regular contact.
Mobilising your organisation requires hard work and dedication. In order to make sure it pays off, make sure you’re showing everyone else how it’s done.