The pros and cons of running a virtual business

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The pros and cons of running a virtual business

We’re all becoming more comfortable with working from home. The pandemic made this essential for many of us. As the vaccine becomes more available and the country starts opening up, many business owners are considering pivoting to a virtual business.

Business owners realized many tasks that were thought to require in-person workers can easily be handled remotely because there are so many ways for us to stay connected these days. An Intermedia survey of small business owners found 57 percent of respondents say they’re likely to maintain remote working options for employees when all restrictions are lifted. They also found that transitioning to remote work increased employee availability by 19 percent.

Does it make sense for your business to go or stay virtual? You’ll need to look at your industry and your target market to determine what is best for your business. Whether you’re considering keeping your business virtual or starting a new virtual business, it’s best to look at the benefits and pitfalls. We have some small business tips that can help you decide. 

The pros of a virtual business

  1. Lower overhead – You will be able to save on start-up costs if you’re opening a business as well as operating costs if your business is already an ongoing concern. You will be able to get rid of your overhead costs like rent, utilities, furniture and the like. This will free up money for you to spend on research, development and marketing. 
  2. Staff considerations – It will be possible for you to more easily scale up the number of employees that work for your company. You don’t have to worry about additional office space for a new employee so the only limiting factor is your budget. It could also be beneficial to hire contractors if your business is virtual. The talent pool will grow exponentially because any person in the world could work for you. This could also help you reduce labor costs
  3. Commute time – Some people spend over two hours per day commuting to and from work. By eliminating the commute, there is more time to get the actual work done and spend time with family. This will make for happier employees.
  4. Set your own hours – Time management can be a double-edged sword. Some people are great about making sure they get their work done in a timely manner, others may procrastinate until the last minute, causing issues for other staff members. Look for some small business tips that can help you manage your time efficiently!
  5. Fewer office politics, conflict and management – A brick and mortar office needs to be managed, whereas a virtual office needs little management. You will also have fewer office politics and conflict between employees. We all know that is difficult for even the most amicable people to get along all the time, especially when your employees have differing opinions about how things should be done. 
  6. Less personal expense – fewer business clothes, dry cleaning, makeup and less commuting expenses like parking, gas and public transportation.

Now let’s look at the cons

  1. Less community and camaraderie – Diminished contact with co-workers can lead to isolation. Face-to-face communication builds trust and companionship which can be hard to replicate in the virtual office. Team building, office celebrations and after work get-togethers may seem unnecessary if all your employees work remotely. However, these activities can build morale and create community, so you should still have these activities for your team.
  2. Lack of physical space – You will no longer have a space to meet clients or display your products. It will be necessary for you to meet your clients virtually, at their place of business or a mutual meeting space. If you have a product that needs to be touched or experimented with, the virtual setting may not be right for you.
  3. Work/life balance – If your office is just in the other room, you can often find yourself pulled into doing things when you think about them, no matter what the time of day. You can also find yourself doing too many personal projects that take away from your work. Your employees can have the same dilemma. It is important to set expectations so everyone knows what must be accomplished and when. It is also helpful to delineate your workspace from your home space.

Don’t let these cons scare you off from a virtual business. With a few small business tips, you can implement processes to overcome the cons. If you’d like help moving your business to the virtual setting, we’re here to help. Outlook Business Solutions offers an array of marketing and sales services from strategy planning to copywriting and public relations. We’re here to help you grow your business and inspire your customers.