With technology revolutionising the way the business world interacts, there are endless opportunities to start and grow your own business. However, when it comes to connecting with potential new customers, face-to-face meetings can be invaluable.
Many small business owners agree that face-to-face meetings still play a critical role in their business – and they’re prepared to invest time and money into travel to help close the deal.
Almost 50 per cent of small business owners travel for business either domestically or internationally, according to a 2017 SmartCompany survey.
Hear from two Australian business owners on their top tips for business travel.
Building trust (and referrals) through business travel
Managing director of SIXGUN David Pagotto travels extensively throughout Victoria and internationally in his digital marketing business.
“Face-to-face communication has more cut through than ever,” he says. “It’s essential to build a relationship of trust and respect so people want to do business with you.”
In digital marketing, David says it’s “mind boggling” that people fail to prioritise face-to-face communication. By making it a number one priority in his business, he’s seen growth through a constant flow of referrals. David attributes this directly to the quality of the business relationships he’s built.
Win a Flight Centre Business Travel grant valued at $15,000 to help kick start your business travel.
David’s travel tips
- Find a good travel agent you can build a relationship with, so if a flight is delayed or cancelled they’ll look after you.
- For meetings, always look professional and arrive early.
- Pack light, so you don’t need luggage in the hold and can leave the airport quickly, making the most of your time.
- Make the most of a trip by booking in multiple meetings while you’re there.
- Use social media to let your network know beforehand you’ll be arriving in a certain city on a certain day – sometimes the most value can come from these spontaneous meetings.
Living and breathing your new markets
Vinomofo CEO and co-founder Justin Dry agrees there’s no substitute for being on the ground and meeting people. “It’s different when you’re in the same space with someone. It’s easier to feel their energy, understand who they are and connect.”
Building these connections has been a big part of Vinomofo’s success, he says. “Being on the ground in our global markets is super important, similar to when we launched in Australia. You can’t do that from hundreds of miles away. You need to live and breathe these markets. The success of our global business is, in a large part, thanks to this.”
Justin travels “most weeks”, spending regular time in Singapore and New Zealand, where the brand currently operates, and the United States, which is the next planned market for Vinomofo. The trips are often to host events, speak to media locally and build brand awareness. “I also help budding entrepreneurs, which I’m super passionate about,” he says.
Justin’s travel tips
- Travel long distances during the day if you are flying economy and get lots of work done.
- Signup and use the loyalty programs, you’ll quickly get lounge access and upgrades, both of which make a big difference.
- Get a good travel agent to do all of the work for you – this saves time and money.
- Book as far ahead as possible, the deals are better.
You can get a lot done sitting in front of a computer, but it may get you nowhere fast in the long run. What could travel do for your business?