All small business owners have their share of daily challenges. However, for black business owners, there is a slew of additional obstacles on top of these that they have to overcome.
The disparity can be seen through data gathered in 2017 that shows that black-owned businesses nationally averaged $58,000 in annual revenue—merely a tenth of the $546,000 average enjoyed by their white counterparts.
A recent survey revealed that the biggest challenge for many African American business owners is the lack of capital and cash flow, which is a major hurdle that many find hard to overcome because of the difficulties they are facing in financing.
Some other challenges African American small businesses experience includes getting fewer chances to get approval for funding. If they do get approved, however, they receive lower loan amounts compared to non-minorities. In effect, they are forced to fund their own businesses, experience slower growth, and have less hiring.
While this may seem discouraging, it’s important not to lose hope. The silver lining is, as of 2019, many African American small business owners are younger and include more women. Because of a lack of financing, many entrepreneurs have turned to alternative forms of funding, including unsecured loans, lines of credit, and SBA loans.
African American small business owners experienced a 45% increase in industry share. As a result, they’ve opened up more businesses in health, beauty, and fitness.
Supporting minority-owned businesses raises the entire economy as it most likely opens job opportunities for more minority workers.
If you’re a small business owner, hiring a team might currently be on your mind. And if you’re just starting out, we recommend starting with a remote team. Here’s why and how you should start building your own remote team.
Reasons to build a remote team
1. Lower overhead costs
With remote workers, you won’t have to pay monthly rent for office space. The most you need is an occasional space to gather your remote workers for important town hall meetings or special gatherings.
If you need to justify the cost of hiring your first remote team or any conference room fees every once in a while, you can opt to apply for a small business loan. For example, Quick Loans Direct offers same-day automated cash advance and term loans and approves loan applications much faster than a traditional bank.
2. Larger pool of talent
Another big advantage of hiring remote workers is the option to choose from a global scale of talent. Unlike in a regular setup where you’re limited to candidates in your area, building a remote team allows you to tap talented individuals from around the world.
3. Increased flexibility
Work flexibility is a shining benefit for people who desire work-life balance. Remote workers enjoy more flexibility because they’re given the choice of when and where to work. With this kind of perk, they’ll have more control over their time.
4. Increased productivity
Remote workers are more productive for a number of reasons: they have more control over their time, they don’t have to endure the hassle of commuting to and from work, they can work in an environment they’re comfortable with, and they have more time to improve their skills. This gives them room for self-improvement that often results in better work performance.
Convinced a remote team is the way to go for you? Here’s exactly how you can get started.
How to build a remote team
1. Establish the right foundation
Laying the right foundation for your business strengthens it in times of trials and setbacks. There are four vital aspects to consider when building your remote team:
- Know what stage of growth your business is at.
- Set clear, SMART goals with targets that have a tight focus on the growth hacking funnel.
- Identify your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which should essentially be measurable values and, above all, establish the most important metric your team should focus on or the “One Metric that Matters” (OMTM). This key metric will help point your team to the next big thing you should focus on.
- Lastly, it’s crucial that you maintain the support and determination of your key stakeholders in achieving your goals, KPIs, and OMTM with you.
A key example of a black-owned business with a strong foundation is Blavity, a media-tech company founded by Morgan DeBaun dedicated to black forward-thinking millennials. The waves it’s been making in media drew the attention of various capital firms who have invested $10 million in the company.
2. Determine your remote team model
Next, choose which remote team model you’ll use. This will help you determine what and who you’ll need to achieve your desired goals.
In his article on building a growth team to skyrocket your business’s performance, Kevin Payne shares, “when choosing which growth team model to use, focus on the values and principles that you value the most for your startup. That way, you can be sure that your growth team delivers the results you expect.”
He also explained two kinds of remote team models:
- Independent Growth Team Model: Your employees work autonomously from each other. With this, you may opt to organize your team according to workflows or according to metrics. The latter is used by most startups.
- Functional Growth Team Model: In this model, each member of your team reports directly to a function head. This allows you to have more structure in your business and it gives your team more support and direction.
3. Create the description for each remote team member
It’s best to assign each of your remote team members a role based on their strengths so that their skills are maximized and honed in the company. Once roles are defined, broadcasting it to the whole team helps each remote worker know who to turn to.
Before you start the hiring process, consider what kind of team members you’ll want to have and the responsibilities assigned to each one.
As an added tip, consider diversity in your business, especially if your target customers cover people across multiple races. With a diverse team, you’re all able to fill in different perspectives and support one another using your own unique insights.
4. Conduct a video interview
Since you can potentially tap workers from around the globe, the best and perhaps most efficient way to interview them is via video call. Compared to a traditional audio call, having multiple video calls allows you to gauge body language, punctuality, and availability.
5. Take them for a test run
Once you’ve established all of the above, it may be best to conduct a test run just to see what issues come up in the next few weeks. Don’t be disheartened if problems arise, because the whole purpose of the test run is to reveal what needs to be improved so that you can address it immediately.
6. Instill a growth culture
Lastly, it’s healthy for your team to develop a growth mindset once they start working with and for you. By instilling this kind of mindset, even in business, you train them to move past their failures and focus on how they can improve.
You give them room to grow—in skills, personality, attitude, and even develop positive perspectives toward certain challenges.
Tips to manage a remote team
1. Provide the right tools
Tools could mean two things: software or applications that can help make their work easier and more efficient or physical tools such as a space that they might need to increase productivity.
Since remote offices are becoming a trend nowadays, there are many applications available such as Trello or Slack that allow team members to communicate with one another. Google Drive is free to anyone who has a Gmail and it’s a perfect venue to create files and have collaborative work assignments.
Next, a coworking space may be needed for those who want an “office environment” every now and then. If possible, look for a coworking space that has multiple locations so that your remote workers can access their space in their city. Novel Coworking is an example of a coworking place with dozens of locations all across the country.
2. Have an onboarding process in place
What can help with the whole onboarding process is a simple checklist that your team members can refer to before they begin.
It’s also best to introduce your team leaders whom they can talk to if they need advice or if they have questions along the way.
Since you probably won’t meet everyone in person, it’s crucial that you make new hires feel welcome, connected, and most of all included. Spend time getting to know them (virtually) so that you can also develop a meaningful relationship with your employees.
3. Set expectations early
Aside from an onboarding video, have some kind of downloadable handbook that includes all essential details about your company such as your mission, vision, policies, what life is like working for your company, perks, etc. Having all these compiled in a virtual handbook helps set expectations early for new hires.
4. Communication is crucial
Communication is especially essential in remote teams. Get consistent updates from your employees regarding the status of their projects would help you manage them properly.
If your team member misses out on an important assignment or if they can’t find the right avenue to reach you, then this could cause big problems later on in your business.