In the age of tons of stuff being available and accessible online it’s now very easy to set up a company without having to fork out for expensive, empty offices with desks that are used for nothing more than the printer, worry about sick pay, absenteeism and even things like internal theft.
When I started Point and Stare, rule number 1 was “Never employ anyone”. The reason for this decision was primarily to stay flexible, be adaptable and to offer the best value for money. I’m also a tight arse and don’t want to be paying for someone to sit on Facebook all day.
All these years later and Point and Stare is still here, 100% debt free and fully owned by the company so i’m convinced the model must have some true mileage! The key to this is to be distributed … which means what exactly? You only need 2 things to set up a company a computer and contacts.
Anything else just helps to make the operation run more smoothly.
Jack of no trades:
As much as you think you can, you can’t do everything.
We are only human and trying your hand at something you have no experience in can do more harm than good. You might be a great accountant but that could mean that you’re possibly rubbish at sales. You might be great at sales but your design skills stretch no further than finding Microsoft Paint on your machine.
The key to this is to outsource. I’m rubbish at accounts in fact when I got my first tax return I couldn’t even enter my name without feeling physically sick. If I did get past the initial nausea it’ll probably take me around a 3 days to a week to sort out each month.
I’m rubbish at accounts so I pay my accountant £100 a month to do everything for me, (get in touch if you want their details), which is less than a couple of hours of my time, which then allows me to concentrate on what I’m best at. Design is another area where I would definitely outsource simply because getting the brand right is imperative to a successful company and, although I started out as a designer, I prefer to outsource this element and, again, stick to what I am happier doing.
To be confident you can outsource you, obviously, need a great list of contacts. You can’t simply flick through the yellow pages and give the job to the first person that picks up the phone. Building the list takes time but the best way to get there quickly is to ask your current contacts.
Networking is also a brilliant way to build your list by meeting people and growing the trust you need to be able to employ pre-qualified providers.
Talk to the screen:
When running a project where the workforce can be sitting on the other side of the world, communication is key.
Skype is a glorious tool for instant chat, video conferencing and screen sharing. I also use it as the main company landline. Lately I’ve been encouraging the usage of Google hangouts for the exact same reasons plus, it’s just so much cooler. This allows me to leave the Skype line open for normal landline calls. Another reason to use Hangouts is that you can instantly record the hangout and, if you so desire, upload directly to your YouTube channel all synchronously in the background.
Organisation is another requisite that is often overlooked but can so easily be optimised to maximise the smooth running of a project.
Every new Point and Stare project has a process in place which is followed to the letter. For project management itself I use Asana this is an online tool that allows you to set up projects and tasks, assigned to either a whole team or individuals all online and therefore accessible anywhere in the world.
Asana also integrates nicely into Dropbox a file hosting service giving you and your team instant access to project files. It’s also possible to set up an internal portal using WordPress with instant chat, project management, CRM and even support/ bug reporting plugins but, ultimately it’s entirely up to you and how you prefer to work.
Nocation, Nocation, Nocation:
As mentioned, forget signing long leases, paying through the nose, just to store empty desks, and just hire what’s needed.
The trend at the moment is to turn big spaces into shared desks/ coworking spaces. If you’re rich enough to convert the spare room into an office, do it. If you’re like the rest of us, just find a small space that you can afford where you can get away from the lure of watching TV from the sofa in your pyjamas. Check out local co-working spaces or, if you’re in the middle of London take a look at Google Campus, @workhubs, The Trampery or the many, many other places available.
So… to answer the title of this article “How to stop your employees Facebooking” = Don’t have any.