6 Proven Ways Entrepreneurs Stay Productive on Long Business Trips
Between non-stop meetings with investors and frequent trips to industry conferences, travel is an essential part of being an entrepreneur. Every day, about 1.1 million Americans hit the road for business purposes.
With the excitement of new business opportunities come stress and sleep interruption. The airport-to-meeting-to-hotel slog can wear you down. You may find it’s hard to get things done when you are jet-lagged and tired.
Planning your next work trip? We asked a group of peripatetic business travelers for their best nuggets of wisdom. Here are six proven hacks to make sure you stay productive.
Get the most out of each trip
Business travel is part of the routine to bootstrap your start-up, expand your business, and eventually make more money. But for cash-strapped startups, it’s is expensive. Before you leave, plan carefully so that you get the most out of a trip.
If you can combine multiple meetings or clients into one trip, all the better. If you plan to be near another client, ask whether you can stop by.
Book the right accommodation
Don’t shell out a fortune for a cramped and questionable hotel room. These days, more business travelers are traveling in comfort by staying in vacation homes instead. There are plenty of business-ready vacation homes with a secure Wi-Fi connection, plenty of outlets to charge your devices, and spacious workspaces designed for productivity.
If you are traveling with your team, staying in the same home encourages cooperation and increases morale. With access to amenities such as a private kitchen, more comfortable bedrooms, and sometimes even a pool, you will feel more relaxed after a long day of back-to-back meetings.
Make a to-do list according to Wi-Fi
While on the road, you often find yourself in areas without Wi-Fi. Some entrepreneurs may get flustered and frustrated when this happens, but others come prepared.
Create two lists before you go. One list contains all of the things that can only be done with an internet connection. One contains tasks that you can do without Wi-Fi. You may not be able to send emails when are offline, but you can still write them. You can also go over notes, prepare for your upcoming meetings, and read. Bring headphones and listen to an industry-related podcast, or use the time to (quietly) practice a speech or interview questions.
Planning this way helps you stay on track and reduces the panic that often comes with an unexpected connection issue.
Grow your network efficiently
Every interaction on a business trip is a networking opportunity. Even airplane networking is a real thing—getting stuck on the plane sometimes turns into meaningful conversations with your seatmates and brews unexpected business opportunities.
Business is all about making connections. Before you attend a conference, spend some time studying your fellow attendees, and make appointments with them ahead of time. Allow for at least 30 minutes to an hour after every speaking engagement to network. This could mean making time for a meet and greet with speakers, sharing contact info with vendors and investors, or simply striking up a conversation with a fellow entrepreneur.
Packing is both art and science. While you don't want to add a lot of bulky items to your packing list, you want to make sure you equip yourself with all of the tools that will help you be productive away from home.
Some small gadgets, such as a portable keyboard so that you can type on your tablet, can make a huge difference. At your home office, you may have plenty of ways to charge your devices throughout the day, but you may not have this luxury while on the road. Invest in car chargers or portable chargers, and bring a backup just in case.
Wake up the same way
It’s been proven that professionals who maximize their morning times are more productive throughout the day. While you are on a business trip, try to stick to your usual morning routine. Use your mornings to prepare for meetings, plan your schedule, and get a good breakfast.
Avoid eating junk food, staying out too late, or skipping your regular workout routine. The closer you can stick to your daily routine, the better and more productive you will feel.
A productive business trip happens when you combine organization, flexibility, expert time management skills, and a little bit of fun. Extended business trips can be an optimal opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet new people, expand your business, and learn new things.