Momentum Podcast: 595

How to Go Virtual Fast

by Alex Charfen

Episode Description

There is no denying the need for businesses all around the world to transition to a virtual environment in a rapid and effective way. The challenge of the current market is that people are restricted from being in the same room with one another, but the technology and the mindset of the world has never been more poised to make this happen. You can take your team and business virtual quickly and effectively if you follow a clear process, and I want to show you how to do it.

In this episode of the Momentum Podcast, I will show you exactly what you need in order to take an in-person team into a virtual space. I run a multi-million dollar virtual business and coach entrepreneurs around the world who do the same. The solution is not a software platform, it is a shift in understanding how to get the most out of your team. If you’re in a position where you need to take your team online fast, this is exactly the antidote you need.

Resources Mentioned:

Full Audio Transcript

This is the Momentum Podcast.

There's no denying the need for businesses to transition from meeting in person to meeting virtually. The question is how do you do it quickly, efficiently and effectively? The challenge of the current market is that people are restricted from being able to meet in the same room with one another. But the reality is the technology and the mindset of the world has never been more poised to make this happen. The truth is that you can take your team and your business virtual quickly and efficiently if you follow a clear process, and in this episode of the momentum podcast, Alex is going to show you how to do exactly that.

I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate. There could be a better future and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.

We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be. Katie, my wife, and I run a multimillion dollar virtual company with people based all over the world. I've helped people grow some of the fastest growing companies in the history of the United States, all virtually. In fact, a gym launched last year. Went from around 2 million in sales to $30 million in sales in just over a year of using our systems and their entire team was virtual. And so you can go virtual and be incredibly productive. You can go virtual and grow your business like crazy. But here's the issue, is that the question that most people are asking me right now is, "What software do I use to go virtual?" The problem with that question is it demonstrates that the person doesn't really understand what they need to go virtual.

So here I want to help you understand this because here's where you should focus your effort, if you are going to go from being in person with your team to going virtual. This is the same coaching I'm going to give my clients. So I want as many people as possible to hear this because a lot of people have been forced into a situation where either a portion of their team or their whole is going to have to go virtual. And this is scary for entrepreneurs who work in person and it's difficult. Now, if you've been thinking about going virtual, if it's a consideration you've had, this will help you as well.

So here's the three things that you really need to go virtual. Number one is you need to be able to give your team clear outcomes and I'm going to explain this. Don't think that you understand what this means by just telling them what to do. Here's the problem, but you know what? Let me give you the summary first and I'll go into detail. So first clear outcomes, and I'm going to explain what I mean by a clear outcome. You have to shift from transactional to transformational management. You don't have a choice anymore. It's going to kill you. You've got to stop telling people what to do, checking that it got done and telling them what to do again. You can't do that on a virtual team. There's no proximity to be able to do it. So if you've been in a situation where you're managing somebody that way you have to shift to where you give them clear outcomes. You coach their success along the way in a structure, especially if they're virtual and then you get leveraged results.

The second thing you have to do is you have to create accountability on your team. I'm going to explain this more too, but accountability. There has to be a clear chain of command, a clear chain of communication, a clear understanding of what each member of the team is doing and they have to understand what each other is doing. And then the third thing you need is, especially if you're going to take your team from in-person to virtual, or any fraction of a team from in-person and virtual, here's what you need like crazy is transparency. Because being in person creates a lot of transparency. You can see what people are doing, you can understand what they're doing by just being there. But when you go virtual you have to create transparency in a virtual environment. I will explain this to you in detail. So let's start with clear outcomes.

Okay. Here's the issue in a time of crisis. In a time of crisis, most people do one of two things. They either freeze or they get emotional or irrational and start making emotional irrational decisions. You do not want to do either. So in a time of crisis, here's what you need to have in your business is a strategic plan. And now more than ever, you need a strategic plan. You need a plan so that your team understands where they're going, they understand what they're doing next and you're not making flippant decisions on a day to day basis. Now, will you have to adjust on some days? Yes. Will you have to change things? Yes. But you don't have to change everything all the time, over and over. What you need is a clear strategic plan for your team in a time of crisis. ever that every person on your team knows exactly what you're going. And here's how you make it real. Number one, it needs to be written. It can't just be dialogue. Write out this strategic plan. Give it to every member of your team. Here's what happens when every member of your team is all focused in the same direction. In a time of crisis, you will be the team that makes the most progress because most entrepreneurs start making emotional irrational decisions. You do not want to do that. Create a plan that everyone understands and you have to present it on a virtual team in a way that everyone can follow along as it's being completed. Now I want you to know we help entrepreneurs do all of this. I want to give you the details of what you're going to want to have in your business so that as you're going virtual, you can have confidence in your team.

Now second, it's not just clear outcome and in the form of a strategic plan, making sure it's written, making sure everyone understands. And by the way, this is just one that's clear outcomes for the business. You also in a virtual environment to have hyper clear outcomes for each department. So what does the department focus on? What are the numbers you're tracking per department? What are you looking at for each department? What are the projects the department is focused on? Sorry. What are the clear outcomes in that department? What projects is each department achieving and then not just what is each person doing? What are the clear outcomes for each individual. What is each person responsible for? What is their role, what are their responsibilities, what are the results they're driving for the business? All of that.

All clear outcomes for the business. Departments, if you have departments, and each individual must be communicated in a way that everyone can understand it, especially in a virtual environment because you can't walk around and talk to people to figure out what's going on, you have to have it online. So use a program like lucid chart, outline your org chart, attach job descriptions to the org chart. People can click through, they'll be able to see the job descriptions, they'll see who they work with and they'll understand where you are in a virtual environment. Now let's go to the second thing you must do, accountability. When I say a clear chain of command and a clear chain of communication, that's that thing I was just talking about with an org chart. Create an org chart. Make sure everybody knows where they can see it and attach job decisions to each person's block on the org chart. In a virtual environment, clear chain of command and clear communications, clear expectations.

That is key to growing in a virtual business and here's what I mean by communication system. In a virtual business, you can't just walk around and talk to people and you don't want to. In any business, even a brick and mortar, even in person, you don't want to just go interrupt your team. You want a structure where they know when they're going to hear from you, why they're going to hear from you, what you're going to communicate and how they take action. That creates such efficiency on your team. It makes everyone confident, everyone go fast, especially even in a crisis. People will move forward with you and continue to create progress, to keep your business in momentum and move things forward. And remember clear expectations, especially in a time like this, are so important.

Here's why. Here's what your competitors are are going to do. Here's what the people around you are going to do. They're going to go from ready, aim, fire to ready, fire, aim. And you know what? It doesn't matter what anybody else, anybody says out there. If you start shortcutting decision making, if you start going too fast, if you're not actually going through the process of deciding what you should do each time you make a decision, it's going to be hard for you to move forward. And if you're not going through the process of clarifying your expectations so that your entire team understands before you take action, before you move forward, you are going to have people running into each other, lost progress, lost resources. You don't have time, effort, energy, or cash to burn in a crisis. You want to make sure everybody's pointed in the right direction.

So clear expectations are crucial. Now that's all about accountability, now third is training [inaudible 00:09:19]. In your business, you want scoreboards that each person, each department and each project people can access. Scoreboards for the person, scoreboards for the apartment, scoreboards for the company, and then you want people to understand what's going on with each project in the business. Now these can be created simply. You can put numbers in an Excel spreadsheet or a numbers, any, we don't use Excel, we use Google sheets, but whenever I talk about it, I use it for so long I would say Excel. So use a Google sheet and put numbers so that everyone knows what's going on in your business and make sure that you're sharing those numbers. Clear scoreboards. Metrics that people can see on a daily basis.

You're sharing what the key metrics are in your business, where the key numbers are in your business, and then you want clear perspective and tracking of all your team member deliverables. So you want a system where you can give clear outcomes. Everyone knows what they're responsible for. And then you are clearly tracking progress for each person, each department, and for the company overall. This is what it takes to go virtual. And here's the problem with this. So many people are going to think that there's a software platform that does this. There isn't. No matter what anyone tells you, your attempt to do this through a software platform exclusively without some type of destruction, without some type of [inaudible 00:10:40], without the right frameworks is going to drive you and your team sideways. And I don't want that to happen. And if you're taking your team virtual, here's a huge consideration.

It's already jarring. It's already overwhelming, it's already changing a lot of what they do. And there's probably other pressures that they're going to experience here in the short term where there's kids at home where there's other things going on. So asking them to all adopt a new software platform can be a huge ask and slow things down tremendously. So instead of trying to solve this through software, solve this through structures, solve this by creating a strategic plan and distributing it and then and and communicating to everyone as things are getting marked off. And you can do this again in Google sheets. In our business, we show people exactly how to do these things and we use one of two platforms. Our members use a bunch of different project management software. But what we use is either we train people in Google sheets and docs, literally Google sheets and docs.

We've had people run massive companies in those two programs and we have people use air table and one of those two programs to show people what's on in the business can be used. So the reason we use docs and sheets is we have people up and running in our communication system with their team if they want to in 30 days or less, if they have the motivation to get it installed quickly. And this is what it takes to manage a virtual team. Clear outcomes, clear accountability for each person and transparency throughout the entire process. And if you want more information on how to create those things with your team, if you want help with that, we can help jump on a call with a member of my team. Go to, we've opened up extra call hours cause we know we're going to be getting a lot of phone calls. Let us help get clearly nervous. Let us help you understand where you know, what decisions you should be making or what you might need in your business to make it through a time that is truly challenging for entrepreneurs like this one.

Thank You For Listening!

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