How to Manage a Remote Team as a Startup Founder
Top 3 Reasons and Challenges
This question is one which every startup founder has to answer when they start building a team.
Most people would say that you should hire a remote team as soon as possible.
However, this is not just the case with startups but with any company or organization. So, if you are still deciding whether you should hire remote or co-locate your team, here are some points to consider to help you make the right decision.
The top 3 reasons why you should hire a Remote Team:
It gives you an opportunity to explore talent from all over the world
If your startup is global from day 1, then hiring remote developers gives you an opportunity to spot talent from different cultures and backgrounds.
This helps in contributing towards cultural diversity of your workforce. And it also provides you with an opportunity to hire people who may have had a hard time getting into the market due to location or other factors.
People from many underprivileged communities face many challenges when they try to get into technology jobs or startups.
But hiring them as developers can be a great option for them and for your company too!
It allows flexibility in hiring
If there is one thing that startups need more than anything else then it has got to be flexibility in business decisions and processes which can help them succeed better in their market(s).
A co-located team might not offer this flexibility as much as a remote team does. For example, if someone on your co-located team is on vacation and it’s very important for him/her to get back into action the next day (characterized by high importance and urgency), will they get what they need? Probably not because they are working from physical offices which are bound by geographical limitations like traffic jams etc..
On the other hand, if someone on your remote team has a vacation planned but suddenly has to rush back due to an urgent meeting related emergency (characterized by high importance but low urgency), will they be able to make it back? Yes!
Because he/she can work from anywhere (as long as there’s internet connection) without having any traffic issues. And these are just some of the benefits of having a flexible workforce which can help any startup succeed better in their markets.
It allows fast decision making
With digital communication channels like Slack and Zoom, it is very easy to make decisions as a startup team.
I have seen in the past that companies which were founded by a sole founder or with co-founders who were close friends/partners at the beginning, later on found it hard to scale when they needed to make decisions quickly.
This is because they had to wait for everyone to be in the same place physically before they could make any decision because those decisions had an impact on the entire team.
But with remote teams, you can make quick decisions that have no impact on everyone else in your company and get them implemented right away.
What are some challenges you may face while hiring a Remote Team?
What is project management? It is the act of planning and managing a project from start to finish. As a startup founder or entrepreneur, you are ultimately responsible for everything (from core product development to strategy making etc.).
So, if you hire remote developers and they fail at delivering their part of the work properly then that could potentially hold up your entire project schedule. And that can cause huge problems for your startup.
Hence, hiring developers who have experience in working remotely for startups or large organizations can be crucial for success.
A good way of achieving this is by hiring freelancers and then working with them closely so that you become more familiar with how to manage them as per your needs.
Alternatively, you can also use online tools like Trello or NiftyPM which provide great project management solutions for startups.
You need to understand that project management isn’t about creating tasks and assigning them out but rather about making sure everyone knows what has been done before so there’s proper communication between all parties involved (team members/freelancers/clients).
Less face-to-face interaction
This might not seem like a big issue but in reality it can cause problems when there’s no face-to-face interaction among team members (especially co-founders).
When you co-locate your team together, you always know what everyone else is doing via constant communication with each other. But when your team members are remote freelancers or employees then it becomes harder to communicate because there will only be digital communication channels available (like email/Slack etc…).
This lack of direct communication might cause trouble if something goes wrong somewhere (because no one knows about it until someone else points it out) so try to find ways to communicate more often with your remote team members using tools like video conferences/web chats/phone calls etc.!
A lack of trust
A lot of startups fail in their first years because of a lack of trust among founders and team members. When you work in the same physical office then you can easily communicate with each other and work together to grow your business.
But when you hire remote employees or freelancers then it becomes harder to trust them with crucial parts of your business. This is because you might not be able to check on them physically and make sure they are working on the right thing at any given point in time.
So, when hiring a remote team, try to make sure that you know their past work (if any) and if possible try to hire freelancers who have worked for startups before or at least have experience working remotely for large organizations.
This will help build a level of trust among all parties involved which will ultimately help your startup succeed better.
Hiring a remote team as a startup founder is not always an easy task but it can have many benefits for your startup depending on how you approach it.
If you hire talented remote developers who have experience working remotely for startups then they will be able to contribute towards making your startup successful faster!
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students teach and learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.