Laptops are great – you can take them around and work from practically anywhere with an internet connection. With the growth in popularity of shared workplaces and the distancing of businesses from the physical office, many are starting to wonder if they even need a set workplace. Is it possible to run a small business with just a laptop and an internet connection?
Regardless of the company that you are trying to set up, you will likely need two things: sourcing partners and customers. Even if your business is a fully digital startup, you still need a way of sourcing architecture, as well as an audience for your product. With just a laptop, you can conduct these essential connections using email, but it might be difficult. It can be more challenging to convey and obtain trust through a laptop – face-to-face meetings are 34 times more successful at effectively communicating. If you want to run a business purely from a laptop, you should try video calls as much as possible when communication is essential.
The Employee Problem
Although many small businesses are nonemployee firms, meaning that they don’t have any permanent employees apart from themselves, over 10 million small businesses in America employ people. Small businesses employ 47.5% of the private workforce. It can be especially challenging to manage employees through a laptop, something that even nonemployee firms discover when they hire freelancers for specific tasks. Managing employees requires coaching them, planning with them, motivating them, and organizing them, which can be especially tricky without interactions and an HR department.
There are digital solutions for these problems, however. Zenefits is an HR Company that offers a digital platform that helps a business owner manage HR tasks relating to employees with ease. Cloud-based apps allow employees to work on documents, spreadsheets, and more (even Adobe’s creative suite offers cloud options for teams) at the same time. This means that no matter how far away your employees are from each other, you can oversee their progress and conduct business effectively from your computer screen.
Why Personality Matters
Of course, an issue that many people face with working solely from a laptop is motivation. An office environment allows interaction, brainstorming, and many benefits that working solo just doesn’t offer. To successfully run a business using just a laptop, you need the tenacity to wake yourself up every day with enough energy to motivate you and everybody you work with. Forbes notes that remote work can be tough on motivation due to a lack of social interaction, which can impact productivity.
Virtual coffee hours or happy hours once a week, as well as the use of discussion boards to share personal things (like pet photos), is recommended as an antidote to this. Knowing your teammates well isn’t just crucial for mental health, it’s essential for effective management. Having a good awareness of your team’s individual personalities means that you will be better able to delegate work, manage expectations, and effectively plan outcomes.
In 2020, it’s very possible to run a small business from your laptop, and many people do. However, the unique challenges of remote working mean it’s a lifestyle that isn’t for everybody, so entrepreneurs are advised to try their hand at managing a team remotely before they invest too much capital.