Five Things Traveling Can Teach You About Business

Insights Sep 20 2018
lessons of vacation for business

As you read this, I might be enjoying the sunset and a glass of wine in Santorini, or strolling through one of my favourite cities, Barcelona.

Now, I’m not here to rub salt in the wound if your travels have concluded for the summer, but really, I just want you to use future vacations as a means of education. Some of you might want to shut your brain off during vacation, but I find that hard to accomplish.

It’s not necessary either. You can adjust your train of thought so that you bring some vacation takeaways back to the workplace. Your time away is about much more than just a refresh.

I wrote this for you before I left, so don’t be too jealous of my sun-filled reality. Just know that these tips I’m sharing are ideas that I try to absorb during my travels.

Retirement planning is vital

If you’re someone who owns their own business, you likely have a hard time flicking the switch off. Really, this applies to more than just business owners. Canadians take less time off than most workers around the world. Last year alone, Canadians left more than 30 million vacation days unused.

We do, as a country, have a hard time taking a break. Business owners are no different. However, if you’re nearing the end of the road, you have to start thinking about how you will use all of that free time once your working life has come to a conclusion.

What hobbies will you pick up once you retire? Are you sure you will enjoy those hobbies? Do you actively work on your hobbies now? Will you have enough money to meet your retirement goals? These are the kind of questions that you should have time to ponder while you’re away.

Try new things with your business

When you’re traveling, do you ever point to the menu and order something when you have no idea what it is?

Whether you do or not, I’m not suggesting that it’s a good idea to try things willy nilly with your business. What traveling should do though, is allow you to keep an open mind to new ideas. Many business owners often become stagnant in their decision making, since they get into a routine of operating the same way.

If you want to improve the profitability of your business though, chances are that you will have to try something new. Should you be upgrading technology, or doing a better job of marketing? Let the experiences you gain on vacation allow you to bring an open mind back to your business.

Write down your ideas

This surely isn’t something that all of you do while vacationing, but often people will keep a journal or a notebook with them when they travel. Heck, you might even be the type of person to use one notebook for everything, jotting down all of your ideas in the same place.

Stepping out of your daily routine can often get the creative juices flowing. Perhaps you see an interesting business practice overseas and think: “Can I use this back home? Is there a market for this?”

Whether you’re a notebook person or not, it’s always a good idea to keep note of your ideas so that you can circle back to them later. You might try and rely on your memory, but most business owners are so busy that forgetting a possible gem of an idea becomes a probable reality.

Don’t ignore networking

What is your favourite part of traveling? Is it the sights, the history, the food? Everyone will have a different answer, but many will say that meeting new people is their favourite part of going on vacation.

On vacation, it’s often natural to strike up a conversation with a stranger. Many of us have found small-world coincidences and connections when talking to someone new.

This serves as a reminder to network when possible. Yes, it can be difficult to take time out of your way to build connections, but having a strong and diverse network can open up many doors for you as a business owner. While this is something that falls by the wayside for many, going on vacation can be a reminder that you need to prop open a few more doors, and expand your horizon.

Try to bring “fun” to the workplace

Do you dread the thought of coming back home after a vacation? If you do, hopefully it’s just because of your workload, and not because you don’t enjoy what you’re doing.

Finding enjoyment in the workplace can be a challenge for many. This includes business owners. Many entrepreneurs start their own business because they have a passion for something, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own stress and forget why you followed that passion in the first place.

Still, it’s important to try and implement “fun” into the workplace as we go about our day-to-day. We all work far too much to despite what we’re doing. Whether it’s buying lunch for your employees, hosting a networking event, or something entirely different, it’s important not to forget that work can be fun. If anything, a vacation should teach you that enjoying what you do is an important part of life.

Has traveling taught you anything about running a business? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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