Managing a virtual business isn't without its challenges, but it can bring substantial benefits. Here are the vital things you should consider when going online with your company.
How to Adapt with Changes
From the very beginning, Julie was ready to do everything she could to make her business dreams a reality. She was working as a bookkeeper for about 10 years when the legislation in her home country of Australia changed.
There were new requirements for people who wanted to become registered BAS agents - that's a common name for Australian bookkeepers or accountants who can manage your business statements on your behalf.
Seeing as the new legislation required a tertiary qualification for the job, Julie didn't hesitate to go back and get her accounting degree. Once she did that, she thought of resigning from her job to start a business properly as a registered BAS agent.
Up until that point, Julie was working part-time.
The problem she faced was that her job significantly differed from what she wanted to do. As a result, she wasn't sure how her company would get new clients. Complicating matters is the fact that there were many other things she didn't know.
When Julie finally made the decision to start her business, she wanted to do it properly. Her main focus was on improving the systems and processes that were essential to her company. The main breakthrough came when Julie decided to commit to the idea of online business.
By outsourcing some of the work and shifting her company towards the online environment, Julie’s business eventually became 100% virtual. And according to her, this was the best decision she’s ever made since it led to quick growth in her business.
The idea of virtual bookkeeping might sound daunting if you've grown accustomed to the traditional ways of doing business. Understanding the essential elements of running an online bookkeeping business might lead you to make the same choice as Julie. You might also experience the same life-changing results (or even better).
Elements of Virtual Bookkeeping
Organizing the Virtual Workplace
The main thing that Julie concentrated on was identifying what kind of setup was necessary for her online bookkeeping business to be the most efficient. With this in mind, she made sure all of the apps, passwords, and data were in one place, protected from data loss and external security threats. Why?
Since most of the work in Julie's company was outsourced, she had to know that all of the software was available and easy to use. This also meant that all of her employees needed to become well-versed in using the relevant platforms.
You should follow the same logic when setting up your virtual workplace. Here are the three essential points to keep in mind:
- Have user-friendly, easily accessible work platforms.
- Establish complete data security.
- Educate employees in using the platforms.
Cover those points with diligence and you'll have a workplace primed for doing online business.
Keeping Your Office
You might be surprised to know that keeping your office could prove extremely helpful in some situations. Most people think that one of the benefits of online businesses is that they don't have to keep a physical office, but as much as your business can become virtual, there are vital reasons to maintain a real workplace.
Simply put, an office provides you with a place where you can do business. Keeping work confined in your office, separated from your personal life and everyday activities, can help you maintain some structure in your life.
It’s the same reason why Julie kept hers.
Although her company has become entirely virtual, she didn't give up her office. She says that going there allows her to keep regular nine-to-five workdays and switch off once she gets home. Julie’s work stays inside her office. And that's precious advice you shouldn't disregard when planning your online business.
Meeting the Challenges
There are several challenges that you'll need to overcome if you want to make your online bookkeeping business a success. Since virtual businesses are heavily dependent on technology, the first obvious challenge is keeping up with the latest developments.
In Julie's case, her business went paperless very early. But it wasn't only because of their shift to the online environment - her company saw the benefits of working without unnecessary piles of paper. Just as she was doing her best to keep up to date with the latest legislation, Julie was also determined to not lose the race with the newest technology and systems. How did she manage to do that? Her advice is pretty simple, but it rings very true: Be savvy.
Another challenge that many companies face has to do with onboarding and retaining staff. In fact, Julie's business had some struggles in that regard until she realized the primary cause - her company had some staffing issues. This challenge is common in physical and virtual companies alike, with the difference being that online businesses have to manage the issue from a distance.
Julie's answer to this issue was through education. She shifted her focus to educating her employees, as well as her potential clients. The way she understood the situation was that everybody could benefit from a deeper knowledge of the business. Simultaneously, she was building her credibility as someone who offers that knowledge.
Finally, a crucial challenge of an online business is something that should perhaps go without saying: your business needs to maintain a strong online presence.
The virtual world is the primary environment in which your company exists. That means your website, social media profiles, and online community outreach must always be up for the task. Imagine offering your services without going outside or answering your phone when a client calls. It's the same thing as an online bookkeeping business that isn't establishing its presence in the virtual world.
Going Virtual Could Be Your Next Step Forward
It has been decades since online businesses have started to thrive, and that trend has become especially pronounced in recent times. Virtual businesses are undoubtedly the future and there's no reason why your company couldn't find its place in the online environment.
All it takes is a sound plan and the willingness to make that crucial move forward.
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