Being away from the office can be stressful when you’re running a small business.
With frequent business trips to insurance industry events or meetings in the main office, it can become a struggle to stay on top of your agency while you’re away. But don’t stress with lots of preparation, you can be sure your trip will run smoothly, or at least that you’ve prepared for the worst and you’ll still accomplish all you set out to do.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Travel frugally and save your company’s money for more important ventures. Many times trying to find and book the most fiscally responsible travel arrangements requires a significant time commitment from you or one of your employees. But why waste all that time, money and effort on something you can achieve with a perks business card? Small business tools such as a business credit card from American Express can simply outsource the planning. You won’t have to spend hours trying to name your price or bargain for hotel prices. Just use all the accumulated points you get with qualifying purchases and spend them on flight and hotel purchases. You can also use American Express Global Business Travel, a large network of service locations and the expertise to help you get it right.
Play by Murphy’s Rules
Murphy’s Law, however unscientific it may be, says that what can go wrong will go wrong. So build in some buffers to your business travel to ensure a successful trip even if something goes wrong. Consider quickly, just how many puzzles pieces have to be in place for a successful business trip:
- Getting to the airport on time.
- Getting through security.
- No weather, mechanical or other delays.
- Successful use of ground transportation at your destination.
- No problems with lodging.
- No problems getting to or from meetings and other scheduled events.
Don’t take chances with success. Get there early. What’s the worst that could happen if you’re early? You can get some other everyday tasks done.
Live in the Now
Technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Dropping the only device with all of your presentation materials saved on the hard drive would be devastating. Or, you could harness the power of cloud computing to keep remote backups of materials you might need. Cloud computing also lets you stay in touch with what’s happening at the office while you’re away. Make an effort to find tools that can simplify your life and use them.
Make your time in the airport as painless as possible. Use a TSA-approved laptop bag to make trips through the security line easier. Also, carry on everything you need whenever possible. For longer trips, have at least your toiletries and two business outfits in your carry on.
Respect Uncle Sam
Want to get audited by the IRS? No one does. Avoid the scrutiny of the tax man by keeping business and personal expenses distinctly separate. Keep good records and file your expense reports promptly. The IRS has very specific guidelines for what passes as acceptable documentation. Consult an accountant or follow the guidelines provided by Irs.gov.
About Author: Tom Youso
Tom is an accountant and a huge fan of cloud computing solutions that help SMBs simplify their bookkeeping and CSM operations.