Episode 9: Top 10 Tips for Remote Teams and Tools
May 20, 2020
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Even as entrepreneurs, we can’t do everything on our own. It didn’t take long into our journeys of building our own businesses before we started hiring people. Today, Jacob has a team of 10 people around the world to help with nearly every aspect of his business. My group is about six people, and together they help with both the outward parts of the business and the behind-the-scenes activities.
Building and managing a team is a roller coaster ride. We’ve both had ups and downs trying to find the right people and use the right tools to connect with these people, most of whom we’ve never met in real life. Even recently, I’ve had challenges of hiring people who seem great on paper, only to realize down the road that their skills or attitude were sub-par and having to let them go. But over the years, we’ve definitely gained insights into what it takes to find and maintain a great team.
Here are our top 10 tips for teams and tools. To hear the rest of our tips and stories of our great (and not-so-great) hiring, plus how we pay and manage our teams, check out the new episode of the BYOB Podcast.
- Make your first hire count. When you’re ready to build a team, start by hiring someone who will give you the most time back. The goal is for them to take away your repetitive tasks like email and social media so you can grow the business.
- Hire for attitude, not skill. Most skills can be developed over time, but attitude is hard to change. Running a business is difficult, and you want people who help you instead of weighing you down.
- Pay attention to red flags early. Trust your intuition when you hire someone and start to work with them. If people don’t have a good attitude and are toxic to your business, get rid of them. Don’t keep people just because you’re afraid of the short-term impact of replacing them.
- Communicate regularly. We’re in contact with most people on our teams on a daily or weekly basis. We’ve found video calls or chatting via Skype, plus email, to be effective for our teams.
- Build relationships. We’ve only met a few people on our teams in person, but it helps to build trust and connections. The employees you take a personal interest in work harder and are more invested. Even if you’re across the world, you can still get to know them.
- Know where to invest. Don’t be afraid to spend money on good tools and good people. We started with the free versions of tools like HootSuite and Asana, but upgrading to the paid versions helped our businesses grow. Oftentimes, you get what you pay for.
- Say thank you. Recognize your team for their work, even with a simple email. Jacob and I write handwritten notes and send holiday bonuses to each person on our team.
- Let people run with their ideas. Trust your team to focus on their strengths. Jacob’s social media manager had great ideas, and he trusted her to run with them because she understands what’s happening in social media more than he does.
- Focus on people, not tools. Collaboration and task management tools are important, but people are more important. There are so many tools available; pick one and move forward. Then you can focus on building your team.
- Find someone with a spark. When you find a great person, keep them! We’ve found great people and then expanded their responsibilities.
Building a team is an ongoing process.
Even with some rocky moments, we’ve been able to create teams of talented people we can trust. With the right team in place, you can focus on your strengths and build a successful business.