Growing an Audio Company with a Remote Team
Dan Cavaliere loves loud music. A few years ago, he turned his passion for subwoofers into a high-quality custom audio business that makes high-end systems more affordable. He and his wife, Adriana, manage the business, New England Providore, LLC, from their base in Connecticut working with a team of distributors and dealers throughout the country.
How do you manage with a diverse team in so many locations?
Adriana: We set standards for how we want people to represent the company and the products and we make sure our team has the information they need. We have a virtual office with files that are accessible to those who need them. There are updates to our products and background information. And, we can see when people have looked at documents and when changes have been made.
Dan: Over time, we’ve gotten to know people pretty well even though there some we’ve never met in person. We talk all the time and that makes a difference.
Adriana: We’ve built a culture of honesty and full disclosure. It works both ways. We’ll always be upfront and that’s what we expect. The distributors rely on us for access to our products. We have an agreement with them on how things need to be done.
Dan: We’re careful about who we work with. Not everyone is the right fit.
Adriana: We have a strict interview process because we’re going to trust these people to represent us. We’ll look at social media and see what others are saying about them.
Dan: We have weekly phone calls with people to check in. We want to know how many people they’ve spoken to. It’s not something that we really worry about, but we want to foster the idea that this is a real business for them.
What’s your approach with your virtual team?
Adriana: We are very hands-on with our distributors and our dealers, those who have a brick and mortar store. We are organized and consistent with getting them information and checking in. That means spending a lot of time on the phone and Google Chat.
Dan: We’re also big on automation. We set up systems to make it easier for people, like being able to order what they need from the website.
What are the challenges in running the company remotely?
Adriana: For us, it’s not being able to talk face-to-face and see people’s expressions. Scheduling conference calls can be complicated too, especially when you’re dealing with so many time zones.
Dan: We’re moving toward doing more in-person, but we’ve been busy introducing a lot of products.
What is your advice?
Dan: You have to be really organized. If you don’t have a good set up and you don’t know what you need, it’s can be difficult. We have a lot of automation and procedures.
Adriana: Invest in your technology and make sure everything is streamlined. We have things set up so we run the business from our phones. We’re not always in the office, but we don’t want to tell people that. We want to be available.