Useful Advice for Running an SME in a Remote Location
Contrary to what you may think, your business doesn’t have to be based in a bustling and busy city in order to succeed.
As a business owner, there could be many reasons why you want to set up your office in a remote location. You might want to avoid the high rent associated with having a workspace in a city, or maybe you want to keep your work hub closer to home. Perhaps you prefer the peaceful and distraction-free atmosphere that a rural area might bring.
Whatever your reason, the remote location of your headquarters does not have to be a hindrance for your business and you can put all the right facilities in place to help remain connected. If you’re organised and well-prepared, your SME could be just as efficient and successful as one that’s based in the city.
Here are a few useful tips that you might need to help your small business based in a remote location have the best chances for success.
Invest in Quality Internet Services
We can’t escape from the fact that most businesses need the internet to succeed in our increasingly-connected society. A lot of business is now done over the internet – emailing, using electronic documents and video calling are a few examples of this. Not to mention the rise of online marketing, social media and website sales for ecommerce businesses.
Keeping connected using the internet is important for small businesses who may not have the visibility or physical presence to be able to attract new customers. Having a strong presence on the internet could help you grow your business, as well as build a good reputation to those potential customers that you may not have been able to reach in the pre-internet days.
Make sure your business isn’t left behind by making sure it is well-connected even in your remote location, with quality internet services available for you to communicate with clients and customers.
Use Technology to Streamline
Following on from our previous point about staying connected with a reliable internet connection, you can also improve your communications, both internally and externally, when you invest in the right technology.
There are plenty of useful gadgets and technologies that can help you improve and streamline your business operations.
Take tracking services for your vehicles, for example. This technology can make sure there’s full visibility on where your deliveries are at all times during their journeys, as well as giving you the opportunity to see where your services might need to be streamlined or made more efficient. These tracking services are also available if you invest in using UK courier services like our own, so you can keep an eye on progress of your deliveries in real-time.
You could also use online cloud services to store important documents safely. You can grant people access to the files to edit them, including employees and clients, regardless of where they are in the world. This is a way that technology can help you remain well-connected, as well as saving you time and money as you won’t need an expensive server to store all of your documents.
Manage Stock Effectively
Sending and receiving deliveries when you’re in a remote area is likely to take longer than a normal consignment, so your business may want to think about how to effectively manage your stock. You don’t want to get caught out in a situation where you run out of a popular product and you have to wait days, or even weeks, to have more delivered. This could be damaging for your business, especially during a busy period like Christmas.
To give your business the best chance of continued success, strong organisation is key. Consider investing in a system that will help you keep track of your inventory – it can ensure that you’re prepared and well-stocked at all times, with advance notifications when you’re running low on any products.
Choose the Right Delivery Company
Being based in a remote area, you’ll be well-aware that deliveries are much more complex and consumers can often face additional delivery charges or even refusal to deliver there. In fact, research shows that £6 billion of revenue was lost in 2013 for this reason alone.
Having the right delivery company on board to help you receive your stock and deliver your items could be vital to the success of your business.
When you’re based in a remote area, you should consider using a delivery company that has a wide reach. By using a delivery service like our own, you can enjoy the benefits of a large road network – we do 55,000 trips by road each week, as well as over 700 flights if your items need to be sent internationally. That way, you’ll never be caught off-guard by an unexpected refusal to deliver to your business.
Invest in a Reliable Fleet
Avoid potential delays, such as breakdowns, by investing in a reliable fleet of vehicles to help you remain accessible even when you’re based in a remote location.
Whether your business needs a small and efficient company car, or a van with plenty of storage, you’ll want something that can travel long distances comfortably and that doesn’t require regular and expensive maintenance. Choose a suitable vehicle that can meet your most vital requirements, whether that be travelling long distances to and from your location, or one that can handle difficult terrain.
It may be worth establishing a relationship with a local garage, so that they will be flexible and accommodating if you ever need to use their services at short notice. This will all go towards helping to minimise delays so that your business can run more efficiently and effectively.
Consider Your Recruitment
Recruitment is often an expensive process for businesses and figures from Acas show that you could be forking out huge expenses if you are regularly hiring new team members, as opposed to retaining your existing employees.
Make sure you take your remote location into account when you’re recruiting as this could be make or break when retaining employees. You should make sure that candidates are willing to travel, whether that’s commuting into work on a daily basis, or if you want them to bring your products and services to customers elsewhere.
Have a Back-up Power Plan
Being located somewhere rural may mean that your workspace is more vulnerable to events that cause a loss of power, bringing your business to a standstill. Of course, you can’t prevent natural or unfortunate events like storms or power failures, but you can put a plan in place to prevent it from stopping you do business.
Stay prepared in case the worst should happen and invest in a contingency power supply, even if it is just enough to power your critical systems, so that your operations can still continue in the event of a blackout or power outage.
If you’re managing an SME that’s based in a remote or rural area, the right preparation and organisation can help you bridge any potential logistics or communication problems. By following our advice, your business could be as successful and efficient as those based in the hub of a well-connected city or town.
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