14 Ideas for Running a More Successful Virtual Business

Among
the innumerable advantages afforded by modern technology is the ability to
transform your home into an office even though the two boundaries can be and
often are somewhat blurry. Still, there is something to be said for not having
to deal with traffic jams, rush hours, punching clocks and the cozy plushier
alternative of sitting in an office chair clad in pajamas and silly slippers.
Not only that, in terms of your own virtual business, your hours and profit
are all your own. But beware. That could mean that your shop is NEVER
closed!

The freedom afforded by a virtual company is limitless, but so
are the problems and pitfalls if you do not organize, prioritize and get off
your butt so that you can eventually sit down on your butt. Unlike a
conventional organization, those of the virtual variety have no shared
physical space and no employees. An entirely different frame of mind and set
of skills are required than those who work at a physical location. There are
some specific issues to be addressed however, some emotional, some practical
and others purely fiscal. Starting with the character traits that best lend
themselves to running a virtual business, here are some tips to consider about
how to make your virtual business a lucrative, satisfying, interesting and
successful business venture.

  1. Be passionate about working from your home. If you do not live
    and breathe your particular product or service, you will eventually want to
    take it out to the backyard and kill it along with all your dreams for success
    on your own terms.

  2. Understand your motivations. Are you driven to work for yourself? Virtual work
    settings attract different people for different reasons. Make sure your
    reasons are clearly etched in your brain, as they will become part of your
    emotional mantra when the hard times come and help to propel you through
    them.
  3. If it is at all possible, maintain two separate computers in
    your home; one for work and one for your other life. This helps you to
    distinguish work from leisure in your own mind, which is one of the greatest
    challenges in maintaining a successful virtual business. Do not install
    instant messenger programs, chat room applets or computer games on your
    workstation computer; save those for your private time.
  4. If you are not determined to succeed, you probably will not
    make your concept for a successful virtual business work very well. There's an
    old saying that translates into something like: "Those who think they can
    usually do and those who think they can't, usually can't." The good News is
    that just like any other positive habit, determination is something that can
    be developed over time. Make up your mind to not let anything stand in your
    way to success and it won't.
  5. You will have to assume full responsibility for everything
    that succeeds or fails within your virtual business. When problems arise, you
    must solve them in the most responsible manner possible. Conversely, you get
    to take every single scrap of credit for jobs well done, making the virtual
    business unmatched in rendering a sense of pride and satisfaction.
  6. You must cultivate self-discipline and realize that if you
    only have to report to yourself, the work involved will not get done unless
    you go and do it. Distractions are everywhere even on your own website where
    pleasant things are only a click away from realization. Most people don't have
    this skill naturally, but rather learn how to acquire it over time. You too
    can be among them (and maybe even be the first on your block to do so).
  7. You must get organized, set a schedule for yourself and stick
    to it. As the head of your virtual business, you have the advantage of being
    able to create a flexible schedule for yourself that fits around the rest of
    your life. Whether your personal bio-rhythms call for you to work week-ends,
    evenings, early morning or all or some of the above, you must remember that
    your decided work schedule must be adhered to as strictly as possible. Be your
    own slave driver. In the end, it will all pay off.

  8. Select practical office furniture. You will spend a major part of every day in
    your office. Shop around and find the best computer, office chair, and
    equipment and supplies for your money and your needs. These items can be
    tax-deductible and are well worth their cost. They will serve you well. Buy
    the best you can afford and do not buy impulsively.
  9. Select the right spot in your home for your office. This is
    not only true for the achievement of that elusive concept known as optimum
    feng shui. It also pertains to a space where you can work UNDISTURBED for
    hours at a time. No distractions. This means, wives, husbands, children, pets,
    friends and relatives, well meaning and otherwise. 
  10. There must be a leader of the virtual business. No matter how
    many partners and participants, there must be one person in charge of all the
    operations of your virtual business. There is no underestimating the
    importance of a strong leadership from the corporation's very
    inception.
  11. All partners must be able to communicate with each other at
    all times. With so many remote locations, it is mandatory for all who share
    both profits and responsibility for the daily operations of a virtual business
    to remain "in the loop" so to speak about all events and decisions affecting
    the company. The two most effective ways to accomplish that are video
    conferencing and conference calls. The most current video-conferencing systems
    are very easy to use and they transmit pictures and audio of the best possible
    quality. It really is almost like being there.
  12. Despite the liabilities associated with video conferencing,
    namely the absence of eye contact and appearance consciousness, experts agree
    that it is a valuable tool for the day-to-day operations of the virtual
    business. As people become more accustomed to video conferencing as a means of
    communication, these issues will disappear. Now that personal video-conference
    systems based on a web cam, personal computer system, software compression and
    broadband Internet connectivity have become affordable commodities, video
    conferencing is available to many who otherwise would not have been able to
    afford it.
  13. The distribution of equity in a virtual business must be
    clearly established in writing and understood by all participants. With
    multiple partners, who does what and for how much should never be a matter of
    guesswork. There will always be those partners who are either "hunters or
    skimmers" in terms of working styles. Hunters make the kill and skimmers watch
    them. In a very lean organization, however, there is no room for skimmers.
    Everyone must pick up the slack and be a hunter. Still, each partner is
    entitled to whatever share of the equity has been agreed upon.
  14. The participants in your virtual business do not necessarily
    have to be friends, but they all have to be motivated by their common
    commitment to the corporation. They all must exhibit a personal compatibility
    in their dealings with the other members. Even remotely, one can become
    intimate with the help of hi-tech conference calls and video
    conferencing.

The statistics are a bit scary, although they are constantly
changing as people learn what works for the virtual business and what doesn't.
According to statistics, more than 90% of the people trying to earn a living
online are failing. This is a hard fact and must be addressed realistically.
The main reason for the failure seems to be the frame of mind that most
entrepreneurs are in when they embark on this type of business venture.

Many have an unrealistic image of a glamorous freedom from cares
and responsibilities all while money rakes in along side the enormous pool in
the backyard of the mansion. Too many are dreamers without direction. But that
doesn't have to be you.