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The Global Business Travel Association (GTBA) in its last GTBA BTI Outlook – India report, released in July 2016, reported India as one of the fastest growing business travel markets in the world.
The GTBA foundation report forecasted 10.7 % growth in business travel spending in 2016, followed by another 10.2 % in 2017 reaching a whopping $36.1 billion USD. India is currently the 10th largest business travel market in the world, moving up 5 spots since 2000 and GBTA expects India to become the 6th largest business travel market in the world by the end of 2019.
This positive outlook for the Indian business travel market, clearly suggests that more and more Indians are travelling for work and will continue to do so, a large proportion of them being entrepreneurs.
Work travel – sounds glamorous! & am sure it is. But the attributes – like, you can club fun with work, meet interesting people, explore new cultures – that make it attractive can also turn it terrible, more so for entrepreneurs who are just starting out.
Dealing with work travel burnout is one of the top most challenge. Entrepreneurs are more “ON” then ever on such a travel, since they are most likely always in meetings, giving presentations, attending conferences while constantly trying to manage their team back home. Plus, for a start-up entrepreneur these trips are not company-paid but self-paid.
Smart and phased-out planning, I suggest, is the key to ensure you most optimally utilize the trip without being burned-out!
While sometimes last minute trips are unavoidable, its best to plan a business travel in advance. This will ensure you have enough time to prepare for it, create back-ups at work and wrap up unrelated work.
And this can be achieved by some of these handy tips –
- Inform your team well in advance about your travel schedule or at least tell your key people. This will help them prepare too.
- Identify work which requires your presence and depending upon how much time is left for the actual travel, prioritize such tasks. Try to wrap up important tasks and meetings before you venture out on the trip.
- Of course, it is not possible to ‘finish’ all of this, in which case – you delegate! Identify key people from your team, depending upon their vintage or team management skills or prior experience, and empower them to wear your hat while you are away! Assign them responsibilities and make them accountable for key business activities.
- I also believe telling your team the purpose of your travel is a great idea. If your team knows why you are traveling and how the business may gain through this they will automatically take responsibility for their areas, because employees understand – if the business grows they grow! & by a dialogue like this they will feel more valued and connected to the business. However, if the purpose of the trip is confidential, having a small chat with the team, without giving out actual details, can also be very useful.
While on the trip …
Keeping momentum in the team when away on travel can be the biggest challenge. Staying connected can be the key!
- Whats App is the newest platform where businesses are connecting with their people informally. Considering your tight travel schedule / connectivity issues / time-gaps in case of international travel, you may not be available for calls often. Having a group on Whats app can be great – it will help you stay in touch with your people. However, your team must not feel that you are constantly tracking them or their work. Refrain from asking regular work updates. Instead, use this channel to motivate your team.
Have faith in your people!
- Don’t attempt to club unrelated work with your travel. Concentrate on the tasks in hand.
- Self-review and self-accountability can be powerful tools while you are on the go. Review your day and identify areas that may require improvement – where did you waste time / what could have been more optimal – use the learnings to plan the next day even better!
- Several of us are morning people, several not! Identify your optimal working hours and accordingly plan your engagements for the maximum productivity.
- Learn to say ‘NO’! Resist random meeting, phone calls that you know will not push your business forward.
- If you are lucky to have most of your engagements and meetings organized in advance – it would be good to stick to a schedule. Ensure you have ample time to eat, relax and rejuvenate yourself.
Once you are back…
- Remember the people who managed your business like their own while you were away – engage with them! But informally, no formal meetings … those can wait for a day or two. Catch up with them informally, update them on what happened on your trip. Great way again of making them feel valued.
- Don’t rush into meeting immediately on joining back. Take some time alone to put your thoughts in place, organize all the information gathered while on the trip and clear pending e-mails.
- Discuss the outcome of your engagements with your people and take in their valuable opinions and views. You will ultimately need them to positively materialize the outcomes for your business.