- Why travel matters to small business owners
- The problem with being out of town and away from your business
- Is there a business tool that can solve these problems?
Q: How can I manage my small business when I’m out of town?
A: While the internet has made it easier than ever to manage your business remotely, it can still be tricky when you’re away. One of the most significant issues is handling incoming phone calls. This article explores why travel can be difficult and how you can better manage your business when out of town.
The way we run our businesses has changed dramatically in the last few years.
Thanks to the internet and the rise of e-commerce, it’s entirely possible to launch and grow a business completely online. No longer are we dependent on traditional offices or retail spaces.
Instead, many small business owners work from the comfort of their homes. This allows them to keep overhead low, while providing them freedom when taking a business trip or simply dealing with the twists and turns of life.
And the pandemic has only cemented this change. According to Pew Research Center, operating remotely is going to continue becoming the norm as we move into the future.
But the mechanics of online business activity hasn’t been fully worked out yet. While most aspects of running a business are simple when working remotely, there are a few issues that pop up.
One of the biggest hurdles facing remote business owners is travel.
- The modern small business
- Why travel is so important for many small business owners
- The problem with being away from your business
- What is the solution?
The Modern Small Business
Gone are the days of the small business owner sitting in the back of the office or store.
These days, small businesses are increasingly using online and remote operations. Some do this in addition to having traditional business spaces, while others have made the shift to entirely online operations.
Operating remotely has a number of benefits.
For starters, running your business remotely helps you keep your overhead low. By avoiding expensive monthly rents, small businesses are able to start on much slimmer budgets.
This allows entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses much faster. Business owners don’t need to save up tons of capital to get off the ground, and once operating, they can reinvest the money they save.
Additionally, using the online space eliminates the geographic constraints of marketing. Entrepreneurs can find their business niche, no matter how small or spread out, market to them, and profit.
With the increased ease of using a virtual office for LLC registration, it’s never been easier for the business-minded to get off the ground and into the e-commerce space.
However, that doesn’t mean in-person operations are entirely irrelevant.
Why Travel Matters to Small Business Owners
You will likely still need to travel for business on occasion.
For instance, you may need to go out of town to:
- Attend conferences
- Meet with clients
- Scout new markets
While taking a business trip might contribute to your expenses, when utilized correctly, it often provides significant returns.
Brushing elbows with people still carries weight, even in our increasingly digital age.
Travel is also an essential and enjoyable part of many people’s lives. One of the benefits of being a small business owner is that you have the flexibility to turn your business trip into a vacation, taking advantage of the write-off to save a bit of money.
Because you can set your own itinerary, you can easily leverage business opportunities to see the world while still growing your business.
On top of that, the increase in remote operations means that many small businesses have teams scattered across the country.
According to CNBC, distributed workforces will likely boost business travel as well, as remote employees will fly out to meet in person on a somewhat regular basis.
With business travel ramping up as the pandemic is increasingly managed, the number of opportunities for both work and leisure trips will only increase.
But unfortunately, no packing list can give you everything you need to perfectly recreate your typical setup when taking a business trip.
Taking a Business Trip Can Be Complicated
When you leave your home office behind and hit the road, you must deal with quite a few logistical issues.
While you may be able to work from your laptop, you probably won’t be able to coordinate shipping out items on the road.
For e-commerce-based small businesses, this can be something of an issue, as you may have to delay shipments or hire someone to temporarily handle outbound shipping while you’re away.
There’s also the issue of not having consistency or routine in your day. Even if you can theoretically get all of your work done on the road, chances are you’ll want to do new and exciting things while away.
This can end up meaning your work suffers, as you simply don’t have the same time to devote to it.
Then there’s your business phone.
The Biggest Problem with Being Out of Town
Being out of town can wreak havoc on your business phone.
If you register your business using your personal number, one of two things will happen when you’re out of town.
The first: you continue to be directly responsible for all incoming calls, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.
When this happens, you aren’t able to engage with events or conferences, diminishing your ability to learn and network and ultimately reducing the value of taking a business trip.
This gets even worse if you’re traveling for pleasure. You’ll never be able to truly disengage, meaning all the money and time you commit to refreshing yourself will be wasted. You won’t actually de-stress.
The second: you let your phones go while you’re out of town.
While this does allow you to engage with your surroundings and make the most of your trip, there are serious drawbacks.
Each call you miss is a potential customer or business opportunity. Not answering incoming calls means your callers will likely move on to the next business.
This costs you easy sales and significantly slows your business’s growth.
Not answering calls also sends a message of disorganization and unprofessionalism. That bad first impression makes people less likely to recommend your business, and can even lead to negative online reviews.
Obviously, neither of these options is ideal. But how can you manage your business phones when taking a business trip or vacation?
How a Virtual Receptionist Frees You to Travel
A virtual receptionist is the ideal solution for your business phones.
Virtual receptionists are professionally trained receptionists that work remotely. They operate by connecting to your business via a virtual phone number.
When people call the number provided, they are automatically connected to a friendly, professional receptionist.
Adding a virtual receptionist to your business completely eliminates the issues you face when traveling.
No longer will you be responsible for incoming calls. You’re entirely free to engage with your surroundings, whether they be a business conference or a beach walk at sunset.
Meanwhile, all incoming calls will be handled with grace and attention. This means your callers will be left with a fantastic impression of your business.
Any messages left will be forwarded to you, allowing you to handle them when it’s most convenient for you.
Even more, your virtual receptionist plan includes scheduling software that you can use to set your availability for callbacks. This allows you to set aside a bit of time during a trip to handle the most pressing calls without having to constantly check your phone.
A virtual receptionist frees you up to enjoy your trips to the fullest without having to sacrifice customer service or vital business opportunities.
Taking a business trip or a vacation is still an important part of life.
While remote and virtual businesses are increasingly taking over the marketplace, traveling will always have unique benefits for small business owners.
Unfortunately, traveling can be messy when you’re trying to run a business. It can be difficult to balance your work while staying present and making the most of your trip.
Your business phone is among the worst offenders in this regard. Constantly being on-call pulls you away from your trip, diminishing the experience, and leaving you more stressed than ever.
Luckily, a virtual receptionist from Alliance Virtual Offices can help. You’ll gain access to a friendly, professional receptionist who handles your incoming phone calls, no matter where you are.
Make the most of your business trips and vacations with Alliance Virtual Offices.