Yes, you can run a business from the comfort of your home. However, there are three key pieces of technology that underpin the success of your company and your ability to work remotely.
It all starts with a good internet connection.
To run a business from home, a fast, reliable internet connection is essential. Across all types of businesses, this sets the stage for everything else you’ll do. This may seem obvious, but its importance can’t be overstated.
Working in a home office won’t be like working at a shared corporate office where you’ll have a business-grade internet connection and an IT manager to sort out internet speed and reliability. Instead, you could be sharing your home internet connection with other household members.
You’ll need to have enough internet capacity to support the needs of your entire household so that multiple downloads don’t slow anyone down from working at optimum productivity. Opt for the best service plan to meet your needs.
Running a successful business also means having a backup plan. If there’s a local outage, you could be cut off from your workplace and lose productivity. To prepare for a power outage, use a local power supply such as a UPS or backup battery to keep your modem and router powered on during a blackout.
To prepare for an internet service outage, products like Ooma Connect provide an LTE data connection that delivers reliable business internet service. Since it’s not dependent on the wired internet, you can use its internet failover functionality so that it automatically kicks in as a backup connection when your primary connection goes down. You won’t miss a beat during your workday.
If your usage surpasses available capacity, one creative solution is to segment internet traffic. For example, the teen in the household can use an unlimited data cellular plan, and the parent working from home can use a cable or fiber internet connection.
You can use Ooma Connect to create two streams of internet bandwidth. For example, you can use Ooma Connect for work or voice, and your home internet can be used for things like streaming TV, playing video games or regular web use. This allows you to segment your internet for home and business use, which could help you maintain reliability as well as work-life balance.
Be sure to seek out an LTE provider that offers good coverage in your area. We all know how frustrating spotty service can be, and online resources can help inform your decision. WhistleOut has cellular coverage maps where you can view each provider’s service area. You can also use the 2020 Mobile Experience Report from Open Signal to compare speeds and LTE performance.
An alternative to a backup internet connection in your home office is to use a public internet connection as your contingency plan. However, you’ll have to travel to a cafe, coworking space, or library to gain access to a public Wi-Fi hotspot that can help you to stay connected to your workplace when power or internet is down at home.
Communication platforms connect coworkers to each other and to clients.
One of the biggest hurdles to a remote workplace is connectivity. When you don’t have digital proximity to your team, your communication platform becomes a critical tool.
Running your business from a mobile device requires more than a cellular connection. For example, if each employee was using a cell phone number for work, there’s no call routing or ability to transfer calls. Not only would a lack of cohesive connectivity result in a loss of productivity, but it would impact your professional image. Clients need to feel confident in you and your business, and if you’re not able to transfer them to the sales department, for example, your company will look like it’s behind the curve.
The best solution for a remote workplace is a cloud phone service. It gives you the efficiency and professionalism of a centralized business phone number and the ability for any employee with an internet connection to have a work line.
As a home-based business owner, your team could be in the same city, state or different parts of the world. They still need to be able to transfer calls, work collaboratively, and have the same type of functionality as though they were all in the same building.
VoIP business phone systems can offer high-tech tools like a Virtual Receptionist, Ring Groups, Call Logs, Call Recording and Voicemail Transcription.
For example, at each employee’s location, a cloud phone for business can be accessible via:
Each user can choose their own configuration, and can even use multiple devices on the same phone line. For example, you could put a desk phone in your home office and use the app on your personal cell phone. This can give you the flexibility of using the phone app to make or receive calls when you’re on the go. Then when you’re at your desk, the desk phone gives you the traditional tools of business productivity. If you don’t want to set up a desk phone, you can use the desktop app to answer calls on your laptop or desktop.
A versatile communication platform also helps you support your team’s work-life balance. Small business owners know that working from home can make it feel like you’re always on call. However, flexible tools allow each user to create the type of connectivity that’s suited for their role. You can even use features like Virtual Receptionist to tell customers when your work hours are over, helping you and your team maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Cloud technology drives your business collaboration.
Your business idea can thrive when supported by cloud technology.
This is true across all industries. Retailers need to sell online. Service providers need online scheduling. Food providers need to post menus on social media, and professional services companies will need to share documents.
When the apps that power your small business live in the cloud, all team members will be able to work collaboratively in real-time.
You can share files and work together on documents using a cloud file storage app such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Cloud-based finance tools like QuickBooks or Xero can give you anywhere access to financial data so your bookkeeper can track tax deductions while you’re looking at accounting reports.
Other cloud apps will vary based on your product or service. However, it’s important to remember that whether your company is a small home-based business or a network of hundreds of employees, analytics can drive your business success.
In addition to the analytics that may be embedded into an eCommerce dashboard or Salesforce report, cloud-based business intelligence apps can be used to get a clear picture of your company’s strengths and weaknesses. Apps like Microsoft Power BI and Zoho Analytics can help home businesses to better track current performance metrics. Plus, predictive analytics tools can help you to stay on track with your business plan by comparing your goals to future forecasts.
Are you ready for what’s next? Find out how Ooma Office can help you run your business from anywhere.