By Caroline Black
Managing your business can be both rewarding and strenuous at times. When you begin to travel for business, you could even come across geo-restricted content online. This can especially be troublesome if you need to access a specific website for work-related purposes.
Instead of being able to view the website as you would in your home country, you may see a message that says the content is blocked for viewers in your area. There are, of course, other things that can make managing your business away from home somewhat troublesome as well, such as the inability to meet face-to-face with your employees and business contacts while you’re traveling.
No need to worry though—there are ways that you can successfully and easily manage your business from anywhere in the world. Here are a few tips to help you do that.
Start with a Secure Computer
One of the most important things you can do is secure your computer, smartphone and/or tablet. Any device that connects to the Internet can be an entryway for hackers to access the personal information of both you and your company. Since so many details are stored on these devices, hackers can use them as a way to commit identity theft.
Not only could that cost you a lot of money, but it can also cost you a lot of time and even impact the reputation of your business because your customers’ personal information could become compromised during the cyberattack. To begin securing your computer and mobile devices, first install an anti-virus program.
You can find one for free, and many of them also have apps available for your smartphone or tablet, some of which also include anti-theft features. An anti-virus program will scan your device for malware, as well as help you to remove it if your device becomes infected.
It’s also important to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on all of your devices because, although an anti-virus program will protect you from malware, your Internet connection may be unsecure, allowing hackers to easily access your device. A VPN is a remote server that you route your Internet traffic through in order to encrypt (secure) your connection and hide your IP address (IP addresses tell websites of your location).
When you sign up for and use a VPN service, you’ll be able to pick from several different locations, and by connecting to the remote server, your IP address will be displayed as that of the VPN’s. This will allow you to unblock geo-restricted content online while also keeping your information protected as you browse the internet.
Utilize Other Services and Apps
To make it easier for you to manage your business while on the go, consider using other cloud apps and services that can assist you in doing this. One of the best services available for managing your business remotely is GoToMeeting, as it allows you to hold video conference meetings with your employees and business contacts from anywhere in the world. GoToMeeting also makes it easy for you to collaborate with your team by letting both you and your attendees share your screens during the meetings and even record each meeting for later viewing or sharing.
Another useful tool to use while traveling is Skype since it also allows you to keep in contact with your employees. On Skype you can make calls to other users or even to those without Skype (though it does cost money to call those who do not have a Skype account). You can also share your screen and interact via instant messaging.
For storing and sharing files with your employees, you might want to consider using a cloud-based storage service, such as Dropbox. Dropbox allows you to safely store your files and sync them across all of your devices. For free, you can sign up for Dropbox Basic, which offers 2 GB of space, though if you’d prefer a larger amount of storage space, Dropbox for Business might be a better choice. Dropbox for Business costs $15 per user, per month, but features unlimited storage and file recovery, as well as file sharing controls and priority support.
There are of course other services and apps that can help you manage your business as well, but these are just a couple that are especially useful and affordable.
Hire a Good Team
This is especially important when you are managing your business remotely because, depending on the type of business you run, your employees may be the main people keeping your business running smoothly whenever you are away. It might be a good idea to leave a reliable person in charge of most of the managerial tasks when you cannot be physically present at your business.
Other than that, be sure that you stay organized and have appointed specific tasks and job titles to each employee. The more organized your company is when it comes to its employees, the more successful they are likely to be while working for you. Each employee should be very aware of what their tasks are for each day and how they are to perform them.
When you cannot be at your business in person, it’s also advisable for you to hold regular meetings online in order to discuss how everything is running with your employees, as well as check in for comments and concerns.
Monitor Your Website and Accounts
If you have a website for your business, it’s important to monitor it regularly (and keep backups), as it can reflect poorly on your company if your website is not running as it should. This will also give you a chance to make sure that your website has not been hacked and that anyone you have working on the page is doing their job correctly.
Don’t forget about monitoring your other accounts as well. Any account that may be associated with your company should always be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that it is operating correctly and without issues. Of course you should also be aware of any sales your company is making and whether or not your customers are satisfied with the service or product you are selling.
This article only covers a few of the things you should consider in order to successfully manage your business from afar, but most importantly, you should work at keeping your customers’ information properly secured. Without the proper security measures in place, your business could develop a poor reputation over time; the larger your company is, the more appealing it may be to hackers who could attempt to access your online database.
What other programs or services do you use to manage your business while you’re away?
Share with us in the comments below.