Remote companies are the new way of life. Thanks to the rapid advancements in digital technology (and the eye-opening effects of the pandemic) businesses can now operate seamlessly without the traditional restrictions of a physical office location. They’re the most logical solution if you’re dreaming of starting your own business while traveling exotic destinations around the world, without being chained to an office desk from 9 to 5 on weekdays, or don’t have the budget to operate expensive office spaces or a brick-and-mortar store.
Whether you’re considering starting a fully remote business from scratch or weighing the pros and cons if you are transitioning your current one, this article is for you. Check out this comprehensive guide on how to get started.
What Is a Fully Remote Company?
Generally, fully remote businesses do not have a physical address for their employees to report for work or for clients to come in. Although some may maintain a mailing address, they do not have a location to consider as their official headquarters. They usually have a diverse workforce where team members are free to work remotely from home, coffee shops, co-working spaces, or anywhere around the world as long as they have a reliable Internet connection for virtual meetings.
Steps to Start a Remote Business:
1. Build a remote business plan
A business plan is a broad overview that outlines your company’s goals and specifies strategies for achieving them. Aside from providing clarity to help streamline your ideas, it also serves as your compass that you can refer to when you have to make critical decisions for your company. In addition, creating a business plan prepares you for future partnerships and makes a positive impression when presented to investment applications.
When writing a business plan for your remote business, don’t forget to:
- Describe what type of business entity – LLC, Corporation, or Non-Profit
- Provide your business description, purpose, and vision – Number of employees, target locations
- Identify your unique selling proposition – A brief description of your products and services, highlighting what’ll make them stand out in the market.
- Description of customer demographics and profiles.
- Showcase digital marketing strategies, sales goals, and sample campaigns.
- Financial projections – Discuss funding and financial goals at specific timelines/timeframes.
- Outline market analysis, listing top competitors and how you can do better
- Internal company structure – Names and short bio of officers, such as founders and CEOs.
- List down licenses, patents, trademarks, permits, certifications, credit history, and relevant credentials of company officers.
2. Apply for a Virtual Business Address
Despite operating remotely, most businesses are required to have a physical mailing address in the state where their company name is registered. Unfortunately, P.O. box addresses are not accepted.
If privacy and security are not a primary concern, you can use your residential address as your remote business’ mailing address if you registered in the state where you live. Otherwise, you can get a virtual address using the U.S. Postal Service’s virtual mailbox service. Basically, it’s a real street address where you can receive mail and packages and access it 24/7 through your computer or mobile phone.
3. Register Your Remote Business
Make everything official by registering your company with the state where you live. It may help to consult with an accountant, lawyer, or a third-party service to guide you with this process. Depending on the state, you may be required to:
- Finalize the name of your business and its structure
- Provide business location.
- Apply for an employee identification number (EIN)
- File state documents and fees, including IRS Form 2553, corporate bylaws for corporations, or operating agreements for LLCs.
- Provide registered agent information.
Please visit the US Small Business Administration (SBA) for detailed and updated information on this step.
4. Secure Funding for Your Business
Brilliant business ideas, even fully remote ones, still require sufficient funding to get the ball rolling and cover necessary overhead costs, including employee compensations and benefits, products, equipment, logistics, etc. before you start generating considerable income. Of course, how much you need to get started depends on the nature of your business, the industry, and the goals and expansion opportunities you have in mind.
There are many different ways you can use to generate funding for your remote business, including:
- Self-funding – Support your business with your own savings or resources from family and personal connections.
- Business loans – Apply for a bank loan and borrow money with interest if you have an excellent credit score and properties for collateral.
- Crowdfunding – Set up online crowdfunding, encouraging many interested individuals to invest in your business venture. They can invest small amounts, but it becomes significant when pooled together.
- Angel investors are elite and wealthy individuals or groups who can offer your company the funding you need in exchange for equity or shares.
- Venture capital – Venture capital investments come in exchange for a partnership or an active role in the company.
5. Plan Your Dream Remote Work Team and Start Hiring!
One of the critical aspects of starting a remote business is your workforce, your dream team. Here are some steps to ensure your remote company’s success.
- Develop a remote working policy. Identify core operating hours, employee vs. independent contractor status, attendance and vacation guidelines, and other legal considerations, like data privacy and non-disclosure agreements.
- Fill out key positions first – team leads and managers – so you can get expert insight on other specializations required to accomplish critical projects.
- Get your team’s best remote work tools, such as virtual collaboration platforms, like Asana, Slack, Zoom, or VPNs.
6. Secure the Domain and Build a Business Website
Get yourself out there! Nowadays, having an online presence is a non-negotiable for all businesses. It’s an online portfolio showcasing your products and services designed to attract potential clients, team members, and investors. While you’re at it, take it to the next level and create your social media profiles. You don’t have to be on everything; stick to platforms most relevant to your brand and where your target markets spend their time based on your market research.
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