Business or pleasure? How about both?! As self-made entrepreneurs probably know, there’s a good chance that your business will afford you the luxury to travel more. However, don’t assume you will be spending more time on a beach with a cocktail in hand. The truth is that businessmen and women often need to travel for business purposes, and this means you must get the process right.
Those who don’t make the correct moves end up making mistakes which ruin the entire trip, and put the company in a tight spot. There’s nothing like annoying a potential client in a foreign country! Thankfully, the art of a business trip has been practised for years, and there are plenty of cautionary tales that act as shining examples.
With that in mind, here are the mistakes you too shouldn’t make. Please keep reading to find out how to swerve them to ensure your trip runs smoothly.
Assuming You Have All The Documents
There are so many documents to remember that it can be confusing. On top of your passport and boarding passes, there is also the stuff for the meeting itself. Of course, this excludes one essential facet of any business trip: a working visa. As a rule, working in a separate country requires you to get permission from the government before flying. Trying to obtain a permit on landing will stop your travel plans in their tracks before they begin.
An excellent tip is to assume that you need one to enter the country and work. That way, you’ll push yourself to research the relevant documents and secure them in advance. If you don’t need one, then happy days. If you do, Evisumservices can easily acquire you a visa without any hassle or fuss. Of course, you can do it yourself if you don’t mind the extra energy and time it takes to fill out forms and send off your application.
Experienced travelling entrepreneurs write down the necessary documents a few days before and tick them off, which is another fantastic alternative. The last thing you want is to land on fresh airport tarmac and get grilled by an immigration officer!
Buying Essentials When You’re There
Not packing essentials is a cool trick as it saves time and suitcase space. Sure, it costs a little extra, but what’s a couple of Pounds, Euros or Dollars in the grand scheme of things?! It isn’t the money you should worry about, though – it’s the way it impacts your routine. For one thing, the country you visit might not have the gadget you need to present your PowerPoint presentation. Not all countries are made equal.
Secondly, there’s no reason to add extra stress to an already stressful adventure. Running around a foreign city looking for a power cable for your tablet when you don’t speak the language isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. And, it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Packing it in your case and taking it with you can be stressful the night before, but at least it’s out of the way when you arrive for your meeting.
To pack correctly, you can use these ten tips from Forbes. The best one is to use your hand luggage for items that aren’t bulky and easily squash; for instance, clothes or footwear.
Not Reserving A Hotel In Time
Businesses get invites all the time asking them to attend conferences and trade shows, and yours is no different. Like everyone else, the host has given you plenty of time to schedule and organise your trip, which is a gift and a curse. As long as you use the time wisely, it should be a positive. Sadly, too many businesses forget about travel admin, such as reserving a hotel.
If you’re one of these bosses who thinks buying a room in a nearby hotel can wait, you might get a nasty surprise further down the line. Why? It’s because the accommodation with the best location usually dries up months in advance. Then, you’re left with a struggle to find a place to stay, never mind one that’s close to the conference centre. Although it doesn’t sound like a bad hotel will ruin your travel plans, it can as it adds to the company’s overheads and forces you to leave early and get back to the room later.
Booking a hotel room within a month of getting your invite should save you a significant sum and let you enjoy the trip when you do arrive.
Choosing An Informal Meeting Place
Everyone understands your reasoning – you’re a startup with a chilled out and relaxed attitude. Therefore, you want that vibe to come across when you meet with clients and customers. One way to ensure this happens is to pick an informal location for your meeting to relieve the tension, yet it has its disadvantages.
To begin with, it can be too informal. After a while, you might find it tough to strike a balance between being relaxed and professional, which won’t impress the other party. Also, it isn’t always conducive with the business traveller lifestyle if you find it challenging to get a decent night’s sleep. Lots of entrepreneurs have drifted off in a comfy chair, more than any of them would care to admit!
Yes, going to bed early will prevent this from happening, but so will hosting clients in a light, airy office with a gentle breeze that keeps you alert and awake.
Relying On Taxi Drivers/Google Maps
In a rush, you jump into a taxi and shout the address before sitting back and going over your opening pitch. All of a sudden, with minutes to spare, you arrive at a building, but it isn’t the right one. Whoops! Relying on taxi drivers and Google Maps to get you to your destination on time is a common mistake, especially as the taxi operators aren’t as knowledgeable in the 21st-century.
The likes of Uber and Lyft mean anyone can drive a taxi without passing the stringent tests and securing the certifications and qualifications. Unlike black cabs, they don’t know the city’s streets like the back of their hand, and that might result in your being late. A lack of punctuality is a reflection on the company and not a positive one.
Rather than leaving it up to taxis and technology, you should research the address the night before. Take a taxi and time the journey. Jump on the underground and figure out which stop to get off at. Walk from the hotel. Whichever option you choose, remember that it’s essential to find out more about the meeting place in advance.
Ignoring The Local Customs
Shaking hands or kissing on the cheek are customs that everybody in the west understands. Of course, your business trip might take you out of your comfort zone to a country where there are different. The Middle East is an excellent example, particularly for women. Failing to cover up could offend your clients and encourage them to go in another direction.
It’s not only offending people that you should worry about – it’s agreeing a deal in principle and putting it in writing. Verbal confirmation isn’t enough in most countries, which means you need to press for a written contract. Shaking hands and striking a gentleman’s agreement could be the difference between securing a lucrative deal and missing out.
Nomadic Matt has lots of tips on how to be more cultural, but you usually get advice with your booking confirmation.
Do you have any advice on how to conduct a perfect business trip? Leave your tips in the comment section!