By Will Norquay
Being a small business owner today comes with a long laundry list of advantages. Sure, small businesses may not get the same perks with the tax collector like bigger businesses do, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate owning and operating a small business.
Smaller businesses are much more light weight and able to adjust to business demands on a dime – literally. Free of internal bureaucracy, smaller companies are able to make nimble decisions that enhance their purchasing power. In a nutshell, smaller businesses are able to try new things out without worrying as much about how it will affect their business.
Here are a few tips and tricks for controlling small business travel costs (or avoid them altogether).
1. Avoid Travel
In some cases, travel for small business can be avoided altogether – or at least in the beginning of a business relationship. If travel isn’t in your small business budget, you may want to consider using a work-friendly videoconferencing solution. A lot can be accomplished virtually, and since the proliferation of reliable video-conferencing software many small businesses have been able to punch above their weight and work with clients across globe.
These days larger clients are open to working this way; business relationships have become more about results than needless travel and excess.
2. Travel Light
Avoid baggage charges and pricelessly damaging lost baggage claims – don’t put your business meetings at risk by packing light and storing everything in a carry on. This way you’re less likely to lose anything which can have a ripple-effect and ruin a whole business trip.
3. Use Suppliers No One Likes
Whether it’s a poor customer service report or it’s a PR nightmare like a missing airliner – air travel is still the safest form of travel available on this wonderful planet, and choosing an airline or a travel agency that people love to hate could be really good for your travel budget.
4. Hello, Concierge
One little-known perk that comes with many credit cards is a 1-800 number concierge. They will do anything you ask them to. So if you’ve been pining away for a virtual assistant to handle your bookings, book venues, and make other travel arrangements find out if your card is eligible for concierge service – and simply ask.
They can also book movie tickets, find out when your dry cleaning is done, and a whole lot of other things that small businesses need and Siri can’t do. Yet.
5. Send Snail Mail Cheaply and Quickly from Anywhere
If you’re on the road more often than not (and more than you’d like) you know that it’s easy to fall behind with traditional business processes like paying bills, sending contracts and deliverables in the mail, receiving mail, and the like. Small businesses of one, or small teams, will benefit from mail-related services that will scan and email your mail to and for you while you’re on the road.
And that’s not all, you can have bills paid, cheques deposited, packages forwarded, and mail shredded with a number of online services such as Earth Class Mail, Mail a Letter, and Shipito.
Uber gets its own point on this list – and services like it. We know it isn’t the only peer-to-peer cab company on the market, it’s simply the most well-known. Uber and companies like it will get you from a-to-b in a clean, usually safe mode of transportation. Apps for crowd-sourced carpooling can save a whole lot of travel expenses, and although a large company may never use them, you sure can!
How do you keep travel costs down?