There are many things that often come to mind when we think about what makes a virtual business successful. Great online marketing, strong social media presence, passion for what you do, solid product research and the list goes on. These are all without a doubt incredibly important and key drivers. But…there is still one crucial element that comes even before all of these.
Running a virtual business is different than running a traditional one. By nature, virtual businesses are set up differently, therefore you cannot run a virtual business the same way. It simply will not work. A complete reset in our mindset is required by everyone involved. A virtual business involves additional automated processes, your team is more self-sufficient, performance is based on results and deliverables, and the majority of work is autonomous.
What does this mean for you as a business owner? Virtual businesses require less managing and more leadership. That is the real secret behind a thriving virtual business.
This is probably the biggest and most difficult mindset shift required, and the one that will set the stage for how much your virtual business will grow and thrive. Since the structures, processes, workflows and team members are highly self sufficient and autonomous, what previously required management no longer exists. Those layers are gone. And forget micromanagement, that is the kiss of death. Micromanagement will only undermine your team and de-value what they bring to the table.
You didn’t hire them to be automatons, you hired them for their expertise, talent and knowledge.
What virtual businesses need to truly succeed is strong leadership that will provide a dynamic environment and the opportunity for growth, for both the team and the business itself. You are there to create the space for your team and your vision to shine, to step into their full potential and make an impact. This is not done through management, but through being a leader who inspires, delegates responsibility and decision making amongst the teams, and checks their ego at the door.
There tends to be a lot of resistance to this. I have seen over and over again, business owners firmly holding onto wanting to manage and control the processes and outcomes, and it just ends up being a constant battle. It isn’t very surprising, this is what many of us were taught. We needed to pass through the multitude of management layers before we could even reach the golden haloed leadership status. Business models were built on hierarchy. This is our familiar, our comfort zone.
When you move out of a management mindset and step into one of conscious leadership, magic begins to happen. Others around you are given the space to be leaders themselves, meaningful collaboration and engagement among your teams become the norm, and innovation and improvement flourish and are taken to new levels. This is the beauty of what I like to call the “human element”. Everyone brings forth their gifts and talents, co-creating together, and making great things happen.
We are experiencing unprecedented shifts in the business world. Old structures and behaviours are quickly collapsing, in their place we are seeing flatter and more engaging structures being built, ones that test out completely new ways of working, creating and building. The virtual business world is leading the charge. The automated processes and systems that are natural to virtual businesses birth a whole new space for creating unique workplace ecosystems in which human talent and knowledge are given the chance to shine.
This mindset shift is also what makes the difference between a business that is successful (success focused on external elements) and a business that thrives (growth comes from the internal then out). Within the state of “thriving” is where we find wholeness and the sum becomes greater than its parts. Everything becomes interconnected, with a heart beat of its own. It is in this elevated state that we can create meaningful impact and help the world evolve forward. Virtual businesses give us the chance to do that, but it first has to start with ourselves as leaders and how we show up. The choice is yours.