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How To Travel And Manage Your Business Simultaneously
  • 21 July 2016
  • Eric Michaels

How To Travel And Manage Your Business Simultaneously

The freedom to travel on your own terms is one of the best aspects of owning your own small business. Building a company gives you the right to set your own schedule and mobilize as you see fit. However, you still have a business to run. If no one is watching over the operation, then the whole system falls apart. Fortunately, as an entrepreneur, you have the tools available to do the traveling you want while your company keeps churning along. Here is how to put a foolproof system in place.

Get the technology

If you run your business as a virtual office with telecommuters, you are halfway there. Your team is already used to conferencing online, seeing progress updates for tasks and otherwise operating independently. For those going remote for the first time, download the most essential apps for business owners and put them to work long before you leave town. You will not want to travel unless you have a system for each of the following:

  • Project management. Whether you go with Trello (the simplest, most visual option), Asana, or another app, make sure you can see the status of projects without having to email or make a call.
  • Communication. Google Hangouts, Slack, and Skype are effective messaging apps that cost next to nothing to run. Choose one that works on a smartphone and seems simplest for your team to run. If you plan to go away for months at a time, you may want to consider a professional-grade video-conferencing plan like AnyMeeting to keep your team on point.
  • Virtual notes. Evernote is the cloud-based app for note-taking, photo-storing, and most other things you will want to do while on the road.
  • File sharing. You can send files while communicating on Skype or Slack, but Dropbox is another effective solution that your team can see in the file list on their computers.
Maintain hard deadlines

Even when you run a company of fewer than 10 people, there is often the tendency for employees to take a mental break when the boss is out of town. Set the record straight right away by showing you are tracking projects from another zip code (or country code). As soon as you let your first deadline lapse, you have lost control of the ship, so stay on top of your team, especially in the early days of the trip. Once your staff realizes "out of town" does not mean "out to lunch" for 14 days, business will resume as usual.

Lean on a trusted employee

Managing a business remotely gets tough when you are in a location without amenities like reliable Internet connection. In these cases, you will want to lean on your number two, an employee you trust to make 95 percent of decisions for the company. When you do not have that type of employee on staff, you may want to ask a colleague to be acting manager for the days you are out of town. If you cannot do it yourself and have no one to cover for you, it is probably not the right time to leave.

Keep freelancers on the bench

Maintaining the status quo is one thing, but what happens when you need to scale up your business while on the road? To take on more work while you travel, you need a network of freelancers on the bench. Small business owners should test for-hire contractors well in advance to see if they are a good fit for your operation. Once you have your core group, you can turn to them via email or chat and have your answer. A solid Internet connection is essential to pull off this type of move.

Have a plan B

When you are away from home, variables exist on all sides. One day you might lose Internet; the next day you might lose power; and on the third day, both those things might happen at your office back home. Have an alternative plan for each of these occurrences while you are traveling. Know the spots in your temporary neighborhood where you can get online in a moment's notice and have whoever is watching your business back home do the same.

You can travel and manage your business well at the same time. In fact, as the captain of your own ship, you have earned the right to do so as often as you like.

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