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Do You Need To Travel To Succeed in Business?

June 1st, 2010 | Small Business | No Comments »

If you work for a big company, travel seems less like a luxury and more like a nuisance.  Sure, everyone talks about the need for “belt tightening”, but even through the most severe economic crisis we’ve faced in years, I traveled more for my day job than ever before.  How could this be?  The rationale is that during the difficult economic conditions, retaining customers is the highest priority (so off we went, visiting customers). 

I’m about to do a three week stint, traveling to the East Coast, the Midwest and the South.  The trips are all important, but if this were on my own nickel, I’m not sure if they would be necessary.  Which brings me to my point…I do have a point.  For small/start-up businesses, the math involving the cost of a trip and the benefit from it becomes crystal clear.  There are no meet-and-greet trips when  you’re financing the trip.  You only go when there is a contract to sign or an important relationship to forge.  Otherwise, conference calls and webinars work just fine.

Shouldn’t that be how large companies also opertate?  If I the travel budget were more tied to executive pay, I guarantee that there would be a higher scrutiny of costs and need for a trip.  Of course nothing can substitute a face-to-face meeting, but do you need a perfect substitute?  What if I can only do webinars with a customer, but give him a 5% break on his bill?  Would that engender more good will and customer loyalty than a steak dinner and forced conversation?

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