If you’re an entrepreneur in the startup stage, traveling is a great way to spark creativity and make connections. While money is tight for any new small business, don’t rule out trips. Migrating away from your comfort zone and meeting new people should be viewed as a business investment.
Follow these six tips for smarter business travel to get the most for your money and maximize your experiences.
1. Find an Appropriate Time
Equally important as how you invest your money as an entrepreneur in the startup stage is how you invest your time. Are you at a point where you need to be cranking out code behind your laptop for the next month? Stay put — you’re likely to be more productive at home or in the office. But if you’re at a stage that requires time to brainstorm and reflect, pack your bags! A change of scenery could be just what you need.
2. Take a Chance
Get creative with funding and planning your trip. Funds (and lodging) can come from a variety of sources, and keep in mind that you may need to make some sacrifices along the way. If you need to crash on a friend’s couch to afford two weeks in the Caribbean working from your laptop, that’s okay. Or you can try Couchsurfing.org, a site that connects people looking to exchange free lodging for cultural experiences. Traveling brings a fresh perspective and inspiration that makes it worth the plunge.
3. Create an Agenda
Build an itinerary before you go, especially if your trip is longer than a week. It’s not necessary to do “work” every day — you can and should submerge yourself in the culture and have some fun travel experiences. But do set parameters for what you want to achieve by asking yourself these questions:
a. What do you intend to accomplish?
b. How will you achieve your goals?
c. How will you stay connected with your team?
Even if you’re embarking on a short trip, the goal is to forge meaningful relationships and bring back new ideas.