Taking Your Business on the Road
Top 5 tips for your next work trip.
By: Sara Ford (Kinship)
You're planning to make your first big step within the market space and decide to apply to an out of province market. And congrats!.. You were accepted! But now what? Travelling with your business for the first time can be scary and daunting.
That's why we wanted to share our top 5 tips to consider when travelling with your business out of province.
1. Why are you going?
Is there a market or event you're going to? Is this a networking trip or photography location? Make sure you have a clear understanding of why you're going and then once that is laid out, you research it. If you are going for a market, why that one? Do you know someone who went and said it was great? Make sure you have a solid reason for picking that city and that it aligns with your brand and will translate into sales. Just because one place was great for selling baby clothes might not mean that it will translate into your art. Really make sure you do your research; ask other makers who have gone to that same market that sell similar product as you and check out if there are any online reviews. Many cities have Facebook Groups discussing local markets that rate and review them. Vendors discuss if it was something they would do again and if it was worth the hotel, travel and other expenses. Make sure this is the right market for your business and if it's worthy of your time. Don’t let a
stunning Instagram feed with beautiful photos fool you into thinking it's full of people who want to buy a product or service from you.
2. Where are you going?
Of course, the best option is stay with a friend or family because it will save you on a LOT of money. However, that isn’t always an option (boo). When you need to get a hotel, look for a few key points:
Is there free WiFi? You need WiFi to talk to your family, answer emails, contact clients or to enjoy some down time looking at cat memes or Betches Instagram. You will save a lot if you don’t have to pay data overages on your next phone bill.
Continental breakfast? YUP. Save where you can. Free bagels and awful coffee is better than not free bagels and good coffee (ok….you can spend on the coffee….we’re not monsters). But really, save where you can and jack a few things for the road (a banana, box of cereal…just a couple of things here and there).
IS IT A PARTY HOTEL? Because if it is, stay away. We get it, everyone wants to be cool and chic and stay at a boutique hotel, but you know what else is nice? SLEEP. Walls are thin, people are annoying, and you need to get shit done in the morning. Go for a walk to the insta-worthy hotel down the street if you need some good content.
3. How are you getting there?
Driving? Flying? Bus? Horse? We are pro carpool. It's better for the environment and your wallet. Driving doesn’t have to be lame; invite a friend, bring snacks, download a few podcasts and create some new playlists for the drive. Kyla and I drove 17 hours to Banff last year and we spent the entire time listening to podcasts and writing out our business plan. If you have product, did you check the fee to pallet ship it? If you're driving, do you have access to a truck or trailer? What time are you arriving at the hotel and when is drop off for the market? You don't want to leave your product unprotected in your vehicle overnight. Crunch the numbers for each of your options to see what works best for you and your budget.
4. What else can the city offer you?
If you will be there anyway, how many other avenues can you take advantage of? Are there networking events, photo locations, boutiques who might want to sell your product or stores that could use your service? Think of how you can maximize the trip to it’s fullest. Look up a local Influencer you can work with, maybe a business owner you could meet for coffee to chat with and get some advice. Are there other events you could check out that you would like to be a part of next? Really make sure you max out all the options you can.
5. Are you organized for your taxes?
Keep your receipts! All of them! Gas, street parking vouchers, coffee, all of it. This is a trip for business and you can write off those expenses. This doesn’t mean you can spend all your money and get it back. Writing off expenses means that you can claim expenses and put them toward your taxable income, lowering how much you'll owe at the end of the year, so keep and file them! Our advice, go paperless! Take a photo and make a "Receipts" folder to store them. Make sure everything is marked correctly when you are using it for business.
Traveling for business can be scary but exhilarating, stressful but rewarding and sometimes just a total flop but that’s half the fun of business. Do what you do best, stay organized and do your research!
Have fun and tag us in your travel journeys!