Throughout the course of any given week, there are numerous practices and behaviors that are recommended to entrepreneurs who are hoping to make their burgeoning businesses successful. Many of these involve Do’s and Dont’s associated with the daily office routine, creating a healthy office environment, organizational suggestions, ideas for teambuilding near the home office, investment best practices, or marketing initiatives designed to get the word out about the particular brand. Travel is rarely one of the topics brought up. If it is mentioned, it is usually begrudgingly brought up as travel for some is a neccessary evil that just can’t be entirely avoided. In recent years, this negative attitude towards business travel has begun to change. As more and more businesses, particularly startups, embrace a more national or global outlook, travel is becoming more of a key component to expanding brands. The journey to new and adventurous places, the exploration of different cultures, and an openness to embrace whatever comes along may be exactly what you need to reinvigorate you and your startup.
You can see the world through others’ eyes
When you’re traveling, you don’t have the option of staying in your comfort zone or forcing your surroundings to conform to your expectations. You eat when restaurants are open and you eat what they serve, no matter how limited the options may be. While this disrupts the ease established by your usual routine, it can be a wonderful opportunity to seek out new people to engage with about your business. You meet people in shops, on the street, and on trains, and you see how they live and treat one another. There is an entire world out there full of people living unique lives. You never know what you will come across in your travels or what will inform your understanding of your business and your customers back home. Travel is the perfect way to engage the world and grow your business thanks to the new perspectives gained as a result of exciting new interactions.
You can practice flexibility
It’s not uncommon for travel plans to change en route as you deal with fluctuating airline and train schedules, a hotel losing your reservation, or the unexpected closure of sites you’d hoped to see. Use this opportunity to practice thinking on the fly and coming up with a new plan in a pinch that is just as effective as – if not better than – your original. Seek out apps, websites, and publications geared towards entrepreneurial travelers to help you plan ahead or adjust to changes as they occur.
You can experiment with new things
New foods, new sites, new friends, new places to stay, new forms of travel, and new forms of entertainment – there is no end to the new experiences you can undertake while traveling. Simple experimentation while on the road can be ideal practice for experimenting in your business dealings. You never know what will inspire you or how your experiences will impact your choices at home. Sometimes it helps to seek out new destinations for business travel. Step outside the norm in terms of locations and choose a new market, region, or country that might become a new and exciting fit for your company. Exploring, understanding, and communicating your ideas with a new group of people, in various new locales provides an exciting challenge for any business, new or old. Experimenting with different settings, meeting structures, and communication methods while on the road can lead to a growth of ideas related to livening up the home office atmosphere as well.
You can practice your networking skills
Though you may or may not come across someone who is at all remotely related to your industry, you can certainly practice networking and interacting positively with others. Practice your elevator pitch on a seatmate on the plane. Work on icebreakers or comedic anecdotes with new people you meet. Share your pitch for your business as you discuss with new acquaintances what it is you do for a living. Who knows? You may create some international customers along the way.
You have the opportunity to push yourself
When challenges arise while traveling, you will see how far your patience and ingenuity will take you when you are jetlagged and/or tired from travel. You can also take advantage of activities that may test your boundaries – zip-lining through the jungle, for example, or learning a new sport that takes practice to master like windsurfing. Dive into these activities with fellow business people you meet on your trips. Many destinations have group activities specifically set aside for business travelers. The more you push yourself on your journey, the more you learn about yourself, both your strengths and your weaknesses. You also open yourself up to many more networking possibilities. As a consequence, you will be able to apply the knowledge you’ve gained and connections you’ve made to decisions pertaining to your business when you return home.
Whether your journey takes you across the state or around the world, you can learn a lot about yourself and your business when you embrace the opportunities that arise during travel.
Featured Image: Rawpixel via Bigstock