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Summary:

Hopefully somebody will have experience in this sort of thing and be able to offer some guidance. I’ve been running small websites for years now. I make a living doing it. The problem is the growth of these websites is severely limited by my man-hours. The […]

Hopefully somebody will have experience in this sort of thing and be able to offer some guidance.

I’ve been running small websites for years now. I make a living doing it. The problem is the growth of these websites is severely limited by my man-hours. The end-result is I end up doing an average job on everyone of them, and I don’t get to develop the new ideas I have.

So, I want to rent a small office and put a programmer and a designer to work full-time. The labour here in Brazil is very cheap so it’s totally cost effective.

My issue is with management. What happens if I’m unable to make it to the office one day? Since I have no associate, if I’m not there, the employees aren’t working as they have no way to enter the office. I think that productivity would be much greater working in an office, but as a single founder overseeing two or more employees, should I opt for remote project management?

Help is appreciated!

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  1. Alex
    You need to look at this growing your team as opposed to hiring help. If you consider them a team and if this is their office as much as it is yours, then let them have a key and a desk and a coffee cup. Let them get creative about the business via a sense of ownership. With your multiple businesses what you probably need more is control over how much time you spend on every issue so, let there be room to breadth and you’ll get perspectives that are new and refreshing! Good luck.}

  2. advocatusdiaboli Monday, May 7, 2007

    Alex, I’m Brazilian also and very interested in internet ventures. I have a business background so I kinda’ have a hard time finding programmers to realize my ideas. I am thinking of getting some angel investment to build an idea powerplant, not so different from what you are imagining. Maybe we could help each other. Email me: gcmartinelli at gmail dot com}

  3. Have you considered placing the office adjecent to actual living space.

    I have an office 1000km from where I spend most of my time. One person I trust lives there full-time, working at home; always available to let in employees and inform me of their general status.

    It might not be your thing, but maybe it’s worth considering.}

  4. @Sameer: The hard part is making them feel like they’re a part of something when they have no stake in the company and don’t get paid nearly as well as the people who own the company — in this case me.

    @gian carlo: If my place had room, I wouldn’t make making some space for a small office.

    How is this for logic? By my calculations my start-up cost will be $5000. Without the office, it would be $0. Monthly expenses on employees amount to $1100. Office expenses add up to $350. Let’s say that the office doubles productivity; that means one month of work at the office equals two months of remote work. The business’ monthly cost, with the office, is $1450. Without the office, $1100. Two times $1100 equals $2200. In other words, to get the same amount of work done it costs 34% less with the office.}

  5. philcoextra Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    yea make it close to home or work – i have an office above my coffee shop so i can take care of both at the same time..

    and if you can’t make it keep up with each other on basecamp and email and view progress real time on the site ..}

  6. adambenayoun Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    Alex B, having your employees working in the same room is a must not only because you will be able to ‘watch’ them but because they will be able to work together as a team and nurture each other with new ideas and solves problem, This is how you increase productivity. Most of the time i have been outsourcing jobs to outside developer i found that i needed someone to watch them and make sure they’ll meet the deadline, 20% of them never met deadlines and i had to hire new developers to finish the job. At the long run, outsourcing your work to another location than your own office might be a nightmare, But of course you can succeed at it if you are well organized and know how to work in this environement “(im more of a team work and need to share space with other people).
    I would give you few advices for your business:
    – Focus on your core business and make your employees work on them, you can outsource for outside developer part of your projects that arent very significant for the overall progress.
    – Give them deadlines/milestones and make sure they meet them, give them incentives if they meet them, reward them if they do more than expected. Set higher standards every months and make sure to give the example.
    – You dont need to be all the time around, i’ve found out that the more you are around and check everything your workers do, the less they feel that someone trust them, give them some space. Allow them some freedom but always set the limits. you will see that with the right incentives and with the loyalty that they will have for your company, they will work hard even if you are not there.
    -Hire good people, when i say hire good people, i dont mean hire the best developer or the best designer but more hire people who have the “thirst” to win or succeed. You can hire someone “cheap” but at the long run you will lose more than you think.
    – When your company will grow, you will see that having a core team is precious and more valuable than anything (more than money).}

  7. rarebluemonkey Tuesday, May 8, 2007

    I recently started production on a website. The team has 5 members and about 3 subcontractors. two of the main players are in different parts of the country and the local ones work mainly from home. It is working really well for us because we met in person to kickoff the project and use the telephone, chat and email a lot. The important thing here is to have professionals that are talented and mature enough do drive their own schedules effectively. It has worked out great for us so far, and we have no office overhead.}

  8. Hi Alex B ,
    I feel you are operating more as a self-employed rather than as a business. In a strict sense business is sth that has got a process, which is scalable, which ca operate even in the absence of the owner. If all that you are looking for is getting resources for lesser money, I think you should seriously consider outsourcing your work. You will pay the professionals only when the work you ask for is finished. If you are serious abt outsourcing contact me.}

  9. First off. What happened from 1-2 ? That’s 100% growth. Ok, the first pick number 2 employee must bring a talent you don’t have, say “programming guru”. I would say the 3 employee is either a copy of number 2 or you. And “you” are both, leader and “salesman of the year”. Going from 1-3, you better be making some money or have a key client that pays the bills for number 2 and 3. The only way to go is risking something, and you must be able to turn that page before doing number 3 ! You can do it! GO FOR IT.}

  10. Hello again Alex,
    (I hit the POST COMMENT too early).
    ..continued.

    It’s very important to work with the employee’s together. TEAM WORK. I call it the pit. If you can work under the same roof (office, prefer open space) you get a feel and direction how things are proceeding. You can manage the company on certain days IN the office and plan other days OUT of the office. I’ve found in a startup. Being in the office Monday to Friday is important to the overall pace of things. In the beginning you can spend after-hours developing new ideas outside of the office int the mornings or weekends. I know you must be in the office to lead and carry the speed and direction. Remember they are not as devoted as you, yet. Best of luck.}

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