Think Business Travel is Unnecessary? Think Again.
Business travel can be one of the most fruitful ways to amp yourself and your business.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Some entrepreneurs believe travel to be nice but unnecessary. Or, a waste of their time, when they could be in their office, nurturing leads or making sales calls. The other half knows that it's important, but don't feel like it could benefit them or their business, even if it is a working vacation.
I've been traveling around the world for over 20 years, both for business and personal reasons, and I'm 100 percent positive that traveling has made me a better person and businessmen in numerous ways. So, to help you see what so many of us traveling entrepreneurs already know, I've gathered a few reasons why traveling alone or with colleagues should be one of your top priorities in your business.
1. It prevents burnout.
Burnout is one of the worst things that can happen to an entrepreneur. When you're constantly working with no end in sight, the only thing you can and will see is burnout. That's why you need a break from work. And I don't mean leaving your office desk to go home and work in your home office.
To prevent workplace burnout, you need to travel. It can help you decompress and take your mind off your business, even if it's only for a few days. Sure, traveling has its own set of problems, but once again, it helps you focus on something other than your business. When you return from your travels, you'll be using your brain at full capacity and feeling more relaxed.
2. It can inspire you.
When you're stuck at your desk all day, you're likely not learning new things or analyzing different perspectives. Thus, your creative muscles aren't stimulated, so you feel like there's nothing more to add. But how can you know that if you're not going places and experiencing life?
Traveling to foreign countries helps you recharge your creative energy. You'll notice the way people interact, their values, and how they do certain things. All these factors combined might lead to you launching a new product that helps to solve a problem for your customers that you wasn't aware of before. Or, you might find a different perspective on a problem you're facing in your business.
You'd be surprised what connection your brain can make when you travel to other cultures, and how those connections might be the catalyst to help propel your business forward.
3. Travel improves your adaptive skills.
Being an entrepreneur means constantly being thrown out of your comfort zone and having to do things that you would prefer not to so your business doesn't fail. That means you need to always be able to adapt to the changes that present themselves to you. Travel is one way to push your boundaries.
One way I've done this is by traveling to places I've never gone before. One thing I used to do was travel to the same city, stay at the same hotel chain, and eat at the same restaurants. I was traveling, but I was traveling in my comfort zone.
I felt like I was missing something and traveling wasn't the same. Once, I noticed that it was because traveling had become too comfortable to me, I decided to switch it up.
I started going to different countries and interacting with diverse cultures and people. It forced me to adapt to my surroundings and learn how to fit in. I wanted to enjoy my trip so I got past my limitations and started to enjoy traveling again.
Like it did for me, traveling can help you to change what you consider your comfort zone until nothing intimidates you and you start to thrive from the curve balls life throws at you.
4. It helps you read people.
As I mentioned before, I would travel to different countries and interact with people whose language I wasn't well-versed in. To communicate more efficiently, I learned to read their body language, facial expressions, hand gestures and tone, anything that would help me understand what they were trying to tell me.
Learning to read people is a critical skill to have when conducting business, especially if you have international clients who have different social norms.
5. Travel can grow your network.
Whether you're traveling for business or personal reasons, you can meet new people and make meaningful connections. I've gone to conferences and meet colleagues and potential clients. But I've also built relationships with people who wanted to learn more about traveling.
Some of them turned out to be great friends and years later, we still occasionally chat and if I'm nearby, we'll meet up. It's no guarantee that you'll meet lifelong friends on your trip, but it's possible to spread the word of your business and help others or learn from them.