Small businesses are seeing a rapid increase in prevalence. According to CNBC, in November alone there were just under 5 million new businesses started.
That is an absolutely massive increase in small businesses, representing a jump of 55 percent when compared to 2019.
While there are many factors contributing to this rapid spike in small businesses, one of the major factors is technology. Thanks to the internet, businesses are now able to operate entirely online.
This has opened up the field for many entrepreneurs to launch their startups without having to pay expensive rents. Hence the rise of the remote small business.
What is a remote small business? How does a remote small business operate?
This article will explore these questions, letting you in on the pros and cons of running a small business remotely.
How a Remote Business Works
Remote small businesses operate by leveraging the internet.
In the US, businesses can register with whatever address they’d like. This includes home addresses and virtual offices.
Because of this, a business owner can run a business without actually having a physical location.
Prior to the internet though, it didn’t really matter. If you had a business but no storefront or office, there wasn’t much a customer could do. Making a purchase was pretty much impossible, which meant remote operations weren’t viable.
But with the internet’s proliferation, everything changed.
Thanks to websites and online shops, businesses can now run transactions without the need for any in-person interaction. The customer can simply shop online, with the business owner using shipping services to deliver the products.
This is exactly how remote businesses work. They keep their stock in their homes or in other spaces, shipping them out whenever a purchase is made. By doing so, they avoid costly rentals.
That lowers the barrier to entry for many small businesses, allowing them to launch with very little overhead.
But just having the ability to conduct transactions wouldn’t be enough on its own. Online marketing is also critical to remote businesses.
Using targeted advertisements, content marketing, and social media, small businesses can connect with their niches regardless of their physical location.
A business based in Chicago can connect with an audience in California. Because of this, businesses are able to sell their products even if their geographic location isn’t interested in them.
Additionally, businesses can connect with niches more effectively thanks to the targeting power of digital marketing.
A remote business might only have 50,000 potential customers across the country, but with targeted ads, it can effectively reach that small population. By taking a niche approach, remote businesses of all sorts can thrive.
Using the internet for both transactions and advertisement, businesses can viably operate entirely remotely.
The Pros of Remote Small Businesses
Whether you want to start a small business from scratch, or you’re looking to turn your side gig into full-time work, operating remotely can be beneficial.
For starters, operating remotely keeps your overhead down. By avoiding expensive rentals, you can save yourself thousands of dollars a month.
This means you won’t have to save up nearly as much money before launching. You can start your business on a very slim budget and begin growing faster.
Even if you have the money for an expensive storefront or office rental, saving that money allows you to reinvest into your business.
You can take the money you would typically spend on rent and use it instead on marketing efforts. Doing so helps you connect to consumers and make more sales.
Then there are the geographic benefits of remote work.
If you’re a homeowner who wants to start a business, you might wonder if your city would support you. You may live somewhere that isn’t interested in what you want to sell.
With a remote business, this matters very little. You can use the internet to connect with people all over the world. In effect, this eliminates the need to worry about your home market.
The same holds true of those who love to travel. Traditional businesses require the owners to stay in one place so they can continue operating.
With remote businesses, your work can often be done from anywhere. This allows for a higher degree of freedom and fewer worries when traveling.
The Cons of Remote Businesses
While remote operations are great, they aren’t always the best choice for every business.
Businesses that need large amounts of space to store goods may not be able to operate remotely.
Residential spaces may not have the storage capacity to hold your stock as your small business grows. If this is the case, operating remotely simply won’t support your business, limiting your revenue.
Remote operations are also just impractical for certain businesses. Service-based businesses such as cleaning services or lawn care can’t operate over the internet initially.
Once a business grows and has employees in different cities, a business of this sort might be able to switch to operating remotely, but that requires a lot of growth first.
Finally, target demographics and marketing can make operating remotely a bad idea.
Remote businesses rely heavily on digital marketing strategies to succeed. They connect with their customers exclusively through online means.
If a business targets a demographic that doesn’t use the internet much, this becomes much more difficult. For instance, targeting the elderly may be more difficult through online means, as fewer older adults use social media.
While these cons may only apply to a small subset of businesses, it’s important to think about your business model before attempting to launch remotely.
Small business is booming. The economy is seeing more new startups than ever before.
One of the biggest reasons for this explosion of small businesses is remote work. Using the power of the internet, businesses can launch and grow entirely online.
In most cases, launching your business remotely is a great idea. It gives you flexibility and freedom while helping you save money.
That said, if your business needs a lot of space or your products or services target people who aren’t online, you should probably stick to traditional business models.
Analyze your situation and make the right decision for your startup.