Long-distance relationships aren’t easy. Especially when it comes to business.
But if you’re committed they can work; especially as your building a solid business foundation, which starts with a few steps — mainly, recruiting fresh new talent and accommodating the rock stars you’ve already hired.
I’m familiar with the concept, because my husband and I initially spent a full year apart (for our careers) before deciding to launch our business.
We soon became a remote team during the first two months of business, when our third business partner moved across the country to be closer to his girlfriend (now fiancé) while she was in medical school. A year later, my husband and I moved to Michigan and left another team member behind in Chicago. This year, we kept another team member on part-time when he decided to move to Senegal to be closer to his girlfriend while she completed a program there.
Our company now spans across a seven-hour time difference, from Palo Alto to Africa.
Crazy? Maybe — but here’s how we make it work:
1. Meet with team members individually and often.
I hold a weekly status meeting, and connect individually with my team members via Skype on a consistent basis, to walk through projects and progress.
You can also utilize productivity tools such as Google Docs and WebEx to make your virtual meetings more seamless by meeting online via mobile devices, sharing destkops, files and more.
2. Share tasks virtually.
Whenever we have a series of projects with multiple action items, I’ll set up a shared to-do list online. There are numerous task and project-oriented apps on the market that make collaboration easier for small businesses such as Asana, HiTask and others.
The entire team works closely on projects, so it’s a great way to share responsibilities without bulky software or endless emails about who is doing what at any given time.