Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

2 Strategies to Beat Competition in the Price Race

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Many of my clients are premium service providers. Their expertise is unrivalled and the services they provide are truly top of their field. However, sometimes they find themselves trapped in a race of price.

How do you win the customer when your competition offers a price that is unacceptably low for the service you offer?

Here are two strategies that I give to our clients so that they can retain their premium price tag and exceptional standards.

Strategy 1: Prioritise being the best athlete, not the most attractive one

One of my clients used a very clever phrase on one of our group coaching calls: “You can have fast, brilliant, cheap. Choose 2.”

That quite succinctly summarises this first strategy: you need to get them to see that the value you are offering is worth compromising on the “cheap” part, by showing you are actually giving the best results.

The fastest runners haven’t become champions by cutting costs. They’ve trained hard, and they’ve invested in their equipment, their coaching, and their personal health. They recognise that the value of buying the best shoes is worth the monetary cost. They recognise that the value of training every day is worth the cost of spending that time becoming stronger instead of watching TV or playing a video game. They recognise that the value of eating healthy is worth the cost of not satisfying the immediate gratification that less-than-healthy food would offer.

Here’s a framework that may give some additional clarity:

Value = Benefits – Costs

The benefits here are all the services you are providing to your clients. The issues that you are pre-empting for them and solving for them.

The costs here are what they have to give you or give up to receive those benefits. This can come in the form of money but could also be other ways – time, effort, headspace etc.

When you can demonstrate clearly that you understand your customers emotionally, what they are suffering with, and that your solution will resolve it, it becomes clear to them why you are better than any cheaper competition.

A clear understanding of the costs from their point of view demonstrates understanding of the customer’s position, and then they are more willing to accept that the value of what you are offering is worth that cost.

What’s the bottom line? Demonstrate that the benefits you offer are worth the cost. Focus on value, not price.

Strategy 2: Take yourself out of the running

The 500m relay runners won’t be compared to a 100m sprinter and neither of them will be compared to a marathon runner.

So, when you think you are locked in a battle of price with your competition, then maybe it’s not about proving you are better than them, but that you are something else entirely.

Change the frame of reference – show you are not actually running the same race as the competition they are comparing you to.

Your prospect’s previous service provider – and your competition – have been working within a certain framework. They have set up certain ‘service level agreements’ (SLAs).

If you want to distinguish yourself from them, then detail out the benefits of your service and lay out an SLA that is something entirely above and beyond anything your competition offers.

This then takes your prospect away from comparing you to the competition and instead allows you to have an independent conversation with your prospect.

The decision from the customer point of view is then no longer centred on the price, but instead on what you are actually offering them. This makes it easier, really, to engage in the first strategy above – because they are focused on the “benefits”, not the “costs” part of the equation already.

What’s the bottom line? Show how different your service is so that comparing you to the ‘competition’ looks like comparing apples and oranges.

Are you ready now to strap on your running shoes and get ahead of your competition? Do you have any other ideas on how to stand out against cheaper competition? Let us know in the comments below.

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Best Business Quotes From Shweta Jhajharia

One of my clients asked a very prudent question recently: how do you adjust goals at each quarterly review?

If you’re smashing targets, is the answer to reach higher? If you’re not meeting targets, do you push harder, or do you revise them down?

There’s no single answer, but there is an important concept that needs to be kept in mind in your decision making.

Inspired from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg ­– when thinking about your goals remember that “small wins over time achieve big success.”

If you engage in any kind of business coaching or business consultancy, goal planning will almost certainly be central to developing a clear strategy. It is a consistent module at the quarterly Strategic Growth Intensives we do with our clients and guest business owners.

This is not just about setting some goals at the start of the year and dusting it off the next year. It’s about constant review of dashboards and steering the boat accordingly.

Steering that boat usually involves setting KPIs for each of your team members that contribute to your business’s overall performance.

So, we come to that initial question – how do you adjust your goals at each quarterly review?

If you’re smashing your goals, it doesn’t actually make sense to move the goal posts. That isn’t motivating for your team. Look at the quote above. You aren’t looking to constantly raise the bar ­– you’re looking to set realistic goals that can be achieved over time to achieve the big success you are ultimately looking for.

And if you are not meeting your goals, then it is wise to review and revise them down. Set achievable, realistic goals and as your team achieves each small win, they will be more motivated to achieve the next and the next. It is ok to recognise the initial goals were unrealistic after assessing some real, well-measured data.

Whatever your situation, when setting goals, make sure you keep in mind that it is those small, realistic wins that will keep your business moving steadily forward and upward.

Download your Personal Goals template for free

Business goals should be informed by your personal goals. Why are you running a business if it is not contributing to what you want in life?

Below is a free template that our team personally uses, including Shweta herself. Many of our clients have found it helpful in making it clear what they are hoping to achieve, and how their business should be helping them to do that.

Download the Personal Goals Template

Your sales process should be unique. And it should have a certain number of steps that is optimal for your business and your audience.

But no matter which step you are looking at in your process, there is one critically important tool you should be using every time…

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“Your best tool in sales is the Question.” – Shweta Jhajharia

On one of our ActionCLUB group coaching calls, one of our clients who runs a graphic design agency asked us about how to get clients to convert faster. We talked about a number of strategies, but one of the most important concepts I spent some time going through was establishing a strong and effective sales process.

Your sales process may run for whatever time period you think is suitable – could be a week, a few weeks, a month. Whatever it is, you should have a clear set of steps, and you should be in control of carrying your prospect from one touch point to the next.

A way to do that is to use powerful questions at every step in your process. You need to use questions to highlight the pains that your prospects have and illuminate how your product or service solves those problems.

When you master the art of asking the right questions, you will almost certainly find your conversions happening at a greater speed, and with far less stress and anxiety.

Get Help With Your Sales Process

You don’t have to struggle with your sales process alone. Request a free session with us, and let us know that sales is your main issue.

We can then tailor a completely free session that’s all about your sales process, so you can get a taste of whether our business coaching strategies are suitable for you or not.

Business growth is often thought to come hand-in-hand with new, novel and exciting ideas.

However, in my experience, most business owners need a reminder of an important strategy when it comes to creating business growth…

“Repetition is a form of change.”

This was a reminder that I mentioned during one of our group coaching calls with our clients. I was reminding them that at the start of every quarter, you need to sit down with your team and have a quarterly planning meeting. You need to communicate to them how the business is progressing, where you are heading in the coming quarter, and what their ongoing goals and KPIs are.

Many business owners think they need something new and exciting to talk about, to entertain their team. However, I believe in this: you need to repeat the fundamentals, the values, the goals, the activities, the incentives. Because it is only when you repeat things a certain number of times that people start to get the hang of what you are trying to say.

And while that especially applies to your communication standard with your team, you can apply this to every aspect of your business. Your own repetition of learning the fundamentals of business will give you the mastery you need to take your business to the next level.

To change your business, perhaps it is not new ideas you need, but systems of repetition to reinforce the foundations that will support the growth you seek.

Need a check that you’ve got the fundamentals?

Business coaches are there to help remind you of the foundations that you need to make sure are set up in your business to facilitate growth.

During the first, complimentary session with us, we will help highlight any areas where you are immediately able to strengthen and enhance your foundations.

A client recently asked me about what they should do when their team members are consistently not meeting deadlines.

My answer probably wasn’t quite what they were expecting.

“Communication is the response that you get.”

You can focus on what your team members are not doing, and what they should be doing. You can try to think about ‘motivation’ strategies and improving productivity, to get them to see the value in their work, to help them understand what their contribution means to the business.

However, everything has to start from you – as the leader, business owner or key team member.

If you are getting a certain response from your team, such as them not meeting deadlines, then the first thing I would like you to do is reflect on your communication.

This may sound harsh to some leaders, but this is where taking ownership and accountability comes in. How effectively are you communicating what you would like your team members to do?

When you start with your ‘being’ – assessing your own behaviour, actions and understanding first – you will have done 80% of the work in ‘motivating’ your team members to do what they are supposed to do. 

Want to be the best leader you can be?

Take a look at what a complimentary business strategy session could offer you. The idea is to find out which growth strategies could work best in your business.

We review your business and highlight any areas where we could help you do even better. You choose to either take the information that and improve your business yourself, or commit to ongoing coaching. Your choice: no obligation, no pressure. 

Most business owners I speak to want to see themselves as winners.

But is winning your only option or is it a ‘nice to have’?.

“Everyone wants to win. Some people refuse to lose.”

This is something I’ve often reminded clients of in my business coaching sessions. Wanting to win is often a great way to move forward in business. However, time and again, the game changes to one of persistence and resilience and this subtle shift of thinking becomes crucial to continue to move forward.

Remember that 50% of businesses cease to exist after just five years. And only one third ever make it to ten.

What makes the difference between those who continue to succeed and those who burn out is a focus on getting the next result, taking the next step on the ladder, reaching the next milestone!

When failure is not acceptable, you set yourself milestones which are stretched but achievable and do ‘whatever it takes’ to build a winning streak.

Just as when we say focus on purpose first, or how Simon Sinek says to Start With Why – when your only option is to win, your own mind and then the universe comes together to focus on getting there.

In keeping space in your mind for losing and for failure, you often allow it in – and ‘by refusing to lose’ – you shift completely away from all the reasons of poor results.

And in the end, you build yourself and your business as a consistent winner.

Want More Business Anecdotes?

I put together some of the best stories, advice, and frameworks that I use in my business coaching sessions into a book called SPARKS: Ideas to Ignite Business Growth.

Using the button below you can grab your copy for free (you just pay for the shipping costs!) [While stock continues to last.]

During a coaching session the other week, one of my clients was happily telling me about all the marketing activities they had executed recently. As they rattled off a whole list of things they were doing, I stopped them for a second and asked, “But do you know which of these activities are working?” “Hmm. I guess I’m not sure,” was their answer.

And they knew immediately that they were making a big mistake…

This is what I said to them, “Whatever you can measure, you can manage and improve.”

This is a critical part of ensuring that your business continues to grow rather than stagnating at a plateau. You should be building some sort of dashboard in your business, where you can carefully measure the most important metrics.

This is not just in your sales and marketing, but you should also be ensuring you have at least a mid-year review of your financials (here’s three key metrics you should look at) and, well, almost every part of your business, really.

In fact, even areas where you cannot have a specific number should still be measured using some form of Key Performance Indicators – such as the 3 KPIs for Managing Directors that I have talked about before.

If you are simply doing things without any kind of measurement, not only will you be uncertain about whether you are growing or not, you will also find it difficult to motivate yourself and your team to stay excited about what you are doing. In the end, the small wins and everyday progress are what motivates people – so there is a double benefit of stimulating growth and encouraging your team to perform better and better.

What are you measuring? And what have you not started measuring that you will start measuring now?

What Are You Measuring?

When you gain a business coach or business mentor, you acquire not only an outside perspective on your business, but also someone who keeps you accountable and helps you identify what you need to focus on in order to grow your business. 

When you book a complimentary strategic review of your business, we’ll help you see just how valuable this can be.

Book a Free Strategic Review

Not too long ago, during a coaching session with Paul Hastings, one of the business owners I work with, we discussed team management. He articulated a learning he had gained from that session about managing the progression of team members that was so compelling, I thought it was worth sharing here:

“Management is not a status, it is an activity. A lot of team members aspire to the status but not the activities of management. During recruitment and promotion exercises, this needs to be explicit.” – Paul Hastings, Director, Reflections.

This is an important reminder for all business owners – when you move your team members up into the higher echelons of your business, what kind of guidance and training are you giving them?

We often talk about when to make new hires, and how to onboard new recruits effectively. However, it’s important that when you are managing your team, and you are upgrading your team, that you are ensuring they are aware of their new responsibilities.

The job description is one of the critical parts of your recruitment process, and if you are hiring for a management position, ensure you make it really clear that this is a job that requires serious work and may be difficult, especially if you were a superstar as an individual performer.

Need help with recruitment?

business consulting servicesRecruitment of good managers, and even executives, can be a nightmarish process that wastes loads of time – and results in hiring someone not right for the job. We, therefore, developed a process that helps to find the best candidates, and only uses 4 hours of your time…

On a coaching call recently, one of my clients seemed a bit puzzled about how to move forward with analysing the numbers in her business.

The source of her confusion was not that she was looking at the wrong figures or had a confusing dashboard or anything like that. It wasn’t even that she was looking at dwindling numbers and wondering how to boost her team’s performance.

In fact, it was that she had started some marketing activities, and all the numbers were in the green. “Everything is going fine, what do I do now?”

It’s a pretty good problem to have isn’t it? The following was something I said to her, which I think is a great reminder for all the business owners who are running successful businesses:

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“We overanalyse failure, but often forget to analyse our success – the things we want more of.” – Shweta Jhajharia

Many leaders are exceptionally hard on themselves as a way of driving themselves forward. Through the analysis of what went wrong, they seek to ensure past failures do not happen again.

While that is very valid, the best leaders know how to not just assess what went wrong, but also review what went right, and how to replicate their successes over and over again.

It is important to remember this. Give importance to, celebrate, and learn from your successes as much as your failures.

Want to boost your own successes?

Even leaders sometimes need to be reminded to celebrate their wins. Business coaches and business mentors are there to do that and to help analyse those wins in the most useful way.

With a free strategic review, you can find out if your business is one that we can work with to push the boundaries of success.

Book a Free Strategic Session

At the Strategic Growth Intensive in October, one of the areas we discussed in a little more depth was marketing.

And just recently, at one of our complimentary sessions we had to remind a new prospect about one of those really fundamental mindset principles around marketing that helps keep you focused on the right things…

London Coaching Group Best Business Quotes Marketing Is Not About Being Prolific, It's About Being Precise

“Marketing is not about being prolific. It’s about being precise.”

In today’s world of advanced technology and the long, rich history that marketing now has, it gets confusing. You’re assaulted with marketing advice. This technique, that strategy, this system.

It’s tempting to try it all. Everything is important. Anything might get you results.

But when you stretch yourself too thin and attempt to be everywhere at once, the likely result is that you will end up reaching a lot of people, not the right people, and you’ll reach them with a muddled message.

Most likely, you will also end up being unable to measure what you are doing, and then how will you know which technique is actually working?

You should choose a highly targeted niche, focus on finding out everything about your Avatar, and then craft the perfect lead magnets to really speak to the people who are actually going to buy from you.

And then with careful testing and measuring in place, you can refine your marketing approach and choose the channels that actually bring you sales, and not just visitors.

When you focus like this, you can create a marketing strategy that brings you a true flow of inbound leads, which will massively boost your growth without increasing your working hours.

How precise do you get with your marketing? Let us know your own insights in the comments below.

Want to talk to us about marketing?

going-global-live-social-media-masterclassShweta will be giving keynote speeches at the Going Global business show, and we will additionally be hosting a Social Media Masterclass at various times on both days.

Tickets are free, so join us to hear more strategies and talk to us directly.

One of my clients at his first business coaching session was resisting when I tried to convince him that he needed a weekly dashboard.

“It’s such a hassle to try and make sure I do that every week – it seems like a waste of my time.”

This was the answer that I gave him:

Shweta Business Quotes - Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of non-performance

“Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of non-performance.”

Sometimes it can seem like a real struggle to wade through the numbers of your business, or do some of those tasks that you know you should do but you don’t really want to do.

It is at those moments that you should remind yourself that these are the tasks that will take your business to that next level. They may not be the most exciting parts of running your business, but they are essential for systemised growth.

Just like training for a sport, it usually requires discipline to truly perform in the big leagues. So get ‘in the zone’ and get disciplined about your business so you can take it to the next grade.

What practices are you disciplined with in your business? Let us know in the comments below.

Every Sportsperson Has A Coach…

Business owners are like athletes: they need strength, practice and discipline! Athletes achieve that with the help of their coach. Would your business benefit from the same with a business coach?

Book a Free Session

Business owners often get very excited when the prospect of growth is within reach. That grasp at growth before they have the right systems and team in place, however, can often result in more problems than they were expecting.

It’s important to consider your processes, and today instead of sharing a long article, I want to share with you a thought that we shared on our Instagram account recently:

business-coaching-london-recruitment

Managing a superstar team starts from the very first job ad that you put out. Make sure you have an effective recruitment process in place so that when you do hire someone, they’re the right someone. Because your business is only as good as your team.

And your team is only as good as your leadership skills.

Want To Become A Better Team Leader?

Recruitment of the right person for the job is really only the first stage. Motivating and managing a team of fantastic employees requires another set of skills.

Join the webinar and find out if you could be helping your team work better, faster and smarter.


Culture Is Not About What You Tolerate

Peter Drucker has famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” However, my team taught me an interesting and quite critical nuance to this.

There is no doubt in my mind that if you fail to focus on the culture in your business, you are failing your business in a much larger sense. And if you do not set the standard within your business, you let that culture be driven by others without your input.

As I say to many of my clients – culture is what you tolerate.

But there’s another piece I need to add to that statement…

This really is an important point to remember. As your team expands, a silent complexity grows. It’s important to set clear communication strategies and expectations for your employees.

However, what is even more important is that there needs to be a level of visibility in the standards you set and how they apply to everyone in the team. If one of your staff members is under-performing, or is not being responsible for the activities they are accountable for, then you should not tolerate that. And you need to be very clear about how you are not tolerating that.

When you create a culture that has the right frequency of meetings, where open conflict is useful and welcomed, and where everyone is on the same page, then what you have is an aligned and focused team.

And then you will find your team is working in tandem, and they are perfectly streamlined to glide into the next chapter of your business.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group. Peter Drucker, one of the most renowned management consultants in the world, is my all-time favourite and he once said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast any day.”

Your Business is Only As Good As The Culture

Now there are a few things that when you read them, you understand how meaningful they are. However, when you encounter them in real life, they become even more impactful and meaningful. I get to see this in my clients’ businesses very often and I tell them that culture is what you tolerate and your strategy, your tactics, and your intentions, they are as good as the culture in the business. At the end of the day, it is your team, along with you, who actually takes things forward and make things happen.

However, there was a nuance, a distinction, that was made for myself, by my team, and let me share this with you.

What My Team Brought To My Attention

So yes, I totally understand that culture is what you tolerate. But then my team very recently actually taught me something very interesting. They came up to me and they talked about some other team members.

They said, “You really care about the talent that we have seen, and each one of us, and we can see that there is this one person who is absolutely exemplary and can actually do even better but recently has been not doing the best possible and we just wanted to make sure that you’re aware of that.”

I just smiled at that point and, first of all, I thanked them profusely. “I truly appreciate this culture in you and in the team and thank you for bringing it up.” I also gave them then some evidence and some more in-depth insight as to what I was doing to deal with that because this team member is absolutely precious to everyone in the team here.

Show Them What You Are (and Are Not) Tolerating

So I showed them these few interactions and conversations that I was having and then I asked them, “What do you think I should be doing more here?”

And they just felt relieved and they said, “Actually nothing. What you are doing is right. We just want to know that you are aware of it and that you’re not putting up with that kind of performance.” That’s where the distinction was there for me personally. Because at that moment I realized that culture is not what you tolerate. Culture is what seems to be getting tolerated.

The Two Important Takeaways About Culture

What’s important for you to understand here is that, first of all, don’t tolerate what you are not happy with, and what is not conducive to the culture of your business. Whether you like it or not the culture is very powerful. It does eat strategy and performance for breakfast every day.

The second thing is, if you’re dealing with some issue with a person on a one-to-one basis, make sure that the wider team is aware of it. Not about the person or about the issue, but about the general principles that you want to have in the business and how you expect the entire team to perform.

Make sure the messages are conveyed loud and clear, so the team is aware that you are not putting up with something which should not be tolerated. Show them your eyes, your ears, and your heart is absolutely aligned with the right culture in your business.

Team feeling less streamlined than you would like?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionAt the complimentary Mastermind session, Shweta will be discussing growth strategies in general. Team management is usually a hot topic of discussion, alongside marketing strategies, how to bring in new business, and how to efficiently manage time in your business.

Tell us a bit more about your business and find out if Mastermind makes sense as your next step towards change.


Is Your Business Partner Costing You Millions?

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Let me tell you about how we have turned a business that was in a steady year-on-year decline to having 40% monthly growth this month – without any clever marketing strategies or an influx of sales or anything.

The key to unlocking the change was the relationship between the business owners.

What is the problem with having multiple business owners?

Many of the businesses we coach are not owned by just one individual. In fact, the majority are joint-controlled by family members or friends. Should they be trying to measure their own KPIs to stimulate growth? Well, actually, it is often the relationship between the owners that is one of the biggest obstacles to the growth of their venture.

In this particular retail business that we are working with, both of the business owners would simultaneously be focused on (or not focused on) the same activities within the business. Sales was one of the most concerning areas where this was happening. Each of them had a different sales style and were pushing and pulling the team in different directions, getting them nowhere. They were wasting hours every day by quibbling about misunderstandings, clarifying mixed messages delivered to the staff, and communicating and recommunicating what they wanted to happen.

There was one simple focusing exercise that triggered the turnaround.

The best tactic for resolving business partnership issues

“Alright, here’s what we are going to do,” their coach said, starting off one of our coaching sessions. He pulled over the flip chart and a few pens, “Let’s list all the functions of your business.”

We spent the next 5-10 minutes listing down all the nuts and bolts that made up the machine that was their business.

“Ok.” their coach said, picking up a blue pen. “By the end of this session, we are going to have one name responsible for each function. And only one name.”

The debate that followed was so much more fruitful than any other argument they had ever engaged in.

Here’s how we allocated the functions in their business:

Business Owner X’s Responsibilities:

  • Sales – training, management, hiring & firing decisions
  • The Showroom
  • Buying
  • Pricing
  • Merchandising

Business Owner Y’s Responsibilities:

  • Lead Generation
  • HR / Recruitment Process
  • Order Processing
  • Delivery
  • IT

“Wow,” Business Owner X said. “This makes me feel way more comfortable.”

What happens when business owners get along in the business

Now that there is a clear division of labour at the highest level, each business owner is a lot clearer on what they are responsible for.

Each of our fortnightly sessions has clear actions under each heading – and now they know exactly who is accountable for the performance of those areas.

This creates greater focus and greases the wheels in their machine, and it has let their business truly start moving in the right direction. The evidence is right there with a clear 40% growth this month and a clear bottoming out of the decline.

“Things have really turned around,” one of them said to his coach at the last meeting. “And we can already see that this month is going to show even further growth. The turning point has been reached!”

Not to mention that they’re both sleeping much better as well!

Have you identified divisions in your business?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionIf you’d like to get Shweta’s eye on your business, then apply to attend her upcoming Mastermind session.

It will be a round-table discussion where she will delve into a few businesses she has never worked with before to discuss how they can best achieve growth in the coming months.


5 Reasons Remote Teams Fail

person-woman-apple-hotel

Although working remotely does have plenty of benefits and is favoured by many workers, there are several challenges that may throw a spanner in the works. There is a whole lot of extra effort needed in terms of communication, transparency, and connection, for a start.

Remote team members need to be of a certain calibre if the entire team is to be successful; just because someone has the skill set needed to work from an office, they may not be able to handle the demands that working remotely brings. Unless the entire team is aligned, there is a high chance of failure. Yet with awareness, this can be avoided.

Here are 5 common issues encountered by remote teams:

1. Communication issues

We take a lot for granted in communication. It’s much easier to understand people when you’re speaking face to face. The moment communication happens via a device, you lose important elements. This applies more to email and telephone calls than it does to video chats, but even those can cause problems. Emails may even be ignored, when team members are busy.

It’s not hard to work out why misunderstandings happen when all you have is text on a screen. There are no facial expressions to read, no tone of voice to convey subtle meanings, and no body language to pick up on, however unconsciously we do so.

This renders conversations subject to plenty of misinterpretation, and it can be hard to know when you’ve been misperceived. When this happens between team members, it inevitably leads to mistakes. Then there’s the chance of entering into a blame game, as both may be sure they conveyed their points clearly.

It’s best to spend as much time as possible communicating via video call, or at least phone, rather than email. When this isn’t possible, make a point of double-checking that important points have been understood the way you intended them to be.

2. Issues with systems and processes

When a team works remotely, clarity is of the utmost importance. Everybody’s working conditions will be different, and it’s easier for team members to execute tasks in whichever way they see fit; after all, they’re not being monitored as much as they might be in an office.

Internal systems and processes should be spelled out clearly, with easily accessible documentation to support them. There is plenty of software available that aids organization and sharing of knowledge, too. Each team member’s role should be made clear to everyone else, and everyone should be fully briefed on what is expected of them – in writing.

3. Personal connection issues

When a team is dispersed, it’s going to be very difficult for them to get to know each other. They must make an extra effort to connect. For example, some may communicate with one or two other team members regularly. Yet even this doesn’t cultivate close working relationships because everything is done via technology.

Teams that work together in an office will spend some time getting to know each other, which is completely normal. They may even spend time together outside of work. Remote teams rarely have this option, so other teammates may just seem like a voice on the end of the phone.

When there is no personal connection, there probably isn’t much loyalty. When problems are encountered, the team is less likely to come together to solve them to the satisfaction of all involved. This can result in unresolved issues that gradually erode morale and business success.

4. Trust and transparency issues

When team members don’t spend their working days together, it’s hard for anyone to be sure about what their teammates are doing. Unless every team member is particularly committed to reporting and transparency, it requires a lot of guesswork.

When one member or another isn’t being clear about their daily activities, or providing much evidence of them, it’s easy for other teammates to become suspicious. However, it doesn’t always feel politically correct to question your teammates about their day-to-day activities; that somehow seems akin to questioning their integrity.

When nobody speaks up, a lot of assumptions can be made. This may affect both morale and connection, leading to other issues. People may not find out what their teammates were up to until a project comes to an end, but by then a lot of perceptions have cemented.

To prevent this, it makes sense to have some good reporting systems in place so that all team members are accountable for their time. Having a centrally accessible timesheet or something similar could work. If the team is accustomed to logging activities, they’re much more likely to feel they can trust each other.

5. Recruitment issues

Recruitment of remote team members is often done based on resumes, skill sets, references and the impression candidates make at interview. After all, those are the criteria for hiring local employees. However, when the hiring is done and the work commences, new recruits are left to their own devices.

Unless the new team member had an impeccable record working remotely before this particular role, it will remain to be seen how well they function in this capacity. Working remotely is not for everyone, and some workers perform much better in an office environment than they do from their own home.

It is important for managers to conduct their interviews in a different way. They’ll need to carefully assess the candidate’s listening and communication skills, as well as posing questions based on remote work. If the candidate checks for clarification, that’s a good sign. It is smart to understand how they interview via email too, by checking how well they analyse and respond to this type of communication.

With the right conditions, remote teams can be a total success…

Remote teams are more prolific than ever, which goes to show that it can and does work, when the set-up is right. As long as your team is prepared to communicate effectively, be transparent, follow systems meticulously, and make an effort to connect with each other wherever possible, all should go well.

This article was written by Daniel Ross, who is part of the marketing team at Roubler — a cloud based HR and payroll software platform founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.

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