Running your own business is an amazing feeling. However, running it somewhere where the cost of living may be cheaper than the UK and the weather hotter is an even better feeling. You may think that running a UK business from somewhere else in the world is tricky. But with a few good business practises in place, running a UK business from Africa or anywhere else is simple. Here are a few business strategies to make it much easier!
1. Use a UK Virtual Office Address
Having a virtual office address in the UK for your business does a few things. Firstly, it gives your business local credibility, which is really important. It also gives your business an address in the UK. This address shows up on Google Maps and other apps and shows potential customers where your business is based. Don't worry, though, any post can easily be forwarded to your actual address in Africa. But having a UK virtual office means that you can generate local leads and keeps your business in the UK even if you aren’t. Virtual Inc is a favourite of mine as they have addresses in most major UK cities. I would advise not to go for their more expansive plan as the only difference is a local phone number and you can get that much cheaper elsewhere (more on that later).
2. Schedule emails to be sent during UK working hours
One of the most significant issues with running a business outside of the UK is the time difference. If you send emails to your customers during your working hours, they may arrive in the middle of the night UK time. Dead giveaway. The best workaround for this is to schedule your emails to be sent during UK working hours. That way, none of your clients will miss your emails, and they won't be woken up by them either. Mailbutler works fine for this but it is a bit pricey.
3. Get a UK landline number that redirects to your mobile
Having a UK based phone number is another excellent way of running a business outside of the UK. Anyone from the UK will recognise it as a UK number and know that your business is in the UK. However, when they ring it, it will redirect to your mobile that you can answer as you are sat in a restaurant overlooking Hong Kong or a beach bar in the Caribbean or at home in Africa. Again, redirecting a landline to your mobile is nice and easy. I don’t have any specific recommendations for this but there are tons of companies that offer it for less than £10/month. Just Google “Virtual Landline numbers UK”.
4. Communication with your team and your customers
Having a UK landline that redirects to your mobile is a great form of communication for your customers and clients. However, sometimes you need to have face to face meetings with your team and your customers, and there's loads of ways to communicate now. You can use Zoom and Skype, for example, but my favourite is Google Hangouts. There are also meeting apps that cost a bit of money each month that are a bit more professional if you want to make the right impression on your customers.
5. Logistics and Order Fulfilment
Everything so far has been about your business appearing in the UK and helping you communicate with your clients and customers. But what happens if you have stock that you need to move around? Well, you can use a third party to handle all of your logistics which is tricky even when you are in the same country. There are plenty of logistics companies in the UK that would be more than happy to help you move your stock. For order fulfilment, Amazon is a fantastic resource. You can store all of your products in its warehouses, and they will ship them anywhere in the world. Amazon is just one example of companies in the UK that can provide this service, others are available too.
We hope this look at running a UK business from Africa has been helpful. It isn't difficult to run a UK business from somewhere else and funny things happen when you earn in British Pounds and spend CFA franc. Good Luck!
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