When your business reaches a certain level, you’ll likely find yourself booking more plane tickets or jumping in the car for a road trip.
Traveling for work can open up new opportunities and provide unforgettable experiences that can connect you with new people and take your business to new heights.
From conferences to speaking engagements, business travel is a different animal in comparison to a vacation. Sure, you might find some time to lounge by the pool or take in a sports game, but your sole purpose on a work trip is to advance your company.
If you don’t maximize your time, your travels can easily tax your bottom line with little to show for your efforts.
Thus, you need to double down on your time management to ensure your minutes are spent as productively as possible. Every moment needs to be worth the time away from the office. So, you better come home with stronger connections and new insights for business growth.
These are my tried-and-true strategies to truly make the most of your business travels.
Set your team up for success
First and foremost, you need to do the heavy lifting before a trip.
You can’t simply pick up and go; instead, it’s your responsibility to ensure that everything runs smoothly in your absence.
You need a plan in place for your team to manage the company while you’re gone. Set a time to meet with everybody in the week leading up to your departure and delegate responsibilities to each team member. Choose one or two trusted employees to oversee operations and act as your main point of contact while away.
Outside of key hours (like if you’re speaking on stage or hosting a VIP client dinner), let your team know that they can reach you if needed. We stick to texting for immediate needs, and save calls for emergencies only. That way, if I receive a phone call, I know it’s time to excuse myself to take the call.
I’ve found that mobile apps are excellent tools for staying in touch without requiring too much oversight. At any point, I can monitor my team’s tasks and stay up-to-date with the status of our accounts — and I can do so without having to jump on a conference call with everyone.
Set yourself up for success
In order to get the most value out of your travels, you also need your own plan for capitalizing on your out-of-office time.
Identify your “why” behind the trip and carve out the necessary time to achieve your goals.
If you’re heading to a conference to meet a certain speaker, map your schedule out around their session. If your sole objective is to explore the perks of a new industry association, do your research to know the key players and make sure you have time to network with them.
In terms of logistics, it’s also a good idea to know where your lodging is in relation to your activities. Be sure you’ve allotted enough time for transportation each day. If your hotel is 30 minutes away, plan to wake up earlier and avoid the last-minute rush to the venue. If you’re staying down the street from the exhibition center, consider hosting a dinner for your industry peers in the lobby restaurant before they had back to their accommodations. The point is to maximize your time and avoid wasting precious moments due to poor planning.
Traveling for work allows you to expand your network and tap into new markets for your business. It’s an excellent way to advance your business and the possibilities for growth are truly limitless — as long as you manage your time wisely and efficiently.
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