There are myriad ways that travel can help small businesses. Making new connections, nurturing those you already have, and discovering first hand what your market looks like are just a few.
Now, this is easy for multinationals who have money to throw around, but it's much harder to manage small business travel. Tightening the purse strings, paying close attention to your ROI, and keeping things running back in the office are of utmost importance, so managers need to have a good strategy in place to reap the rewards of travel.
But don't worry — Bitrix24 is on hand with a variety of travel management tips that you can immediately put into practice.
Before anybody jets off into the sunset, there's a certain amount of level setting that needs to take place. This doesn't mean implementing rigid standards that will last forever — you can of course change them based on your analysis and feedback from your workers — but a travel policy will stop you running dangerously over budget or losing out on productivity.
When thinking about how to manage small business travel, start off by writing up a travel policy and saving it visibly in your company Drive. Get your team to familiarize themselves with expectations such as objectives, daily expenses, and maximum travel and accommodation costs. You can also incorporate this document into your onboarding process so your new recruits are ready to go from day one.
Bitrix24 also offers easy-to-use tools for your team to request business trips and for your higher ups to approve them. Now your team knows what is expected of them, and you have streamlined your request processes, you're ready to start planning your trip!
When you manage small business travel, it really isn't that much different from your in-office tasks. You can add your travel tasks to your project management tool so your entire team can see the what and why of your trip, and managers can organize tasks accordingly. For example, you can set dependencies so when your traveling team member checks something off a list, a subsequent task is assigned to a colleague.
Having a smart CRM is the customer-facing side of your planning. This is where you keep records of all your client interactions, whether they're face to face or via emails and phone calls. The beauty of having a cloud-based CRM is that everyone can access it, no matter where they are.
With a well-planned sales funnel, you can back up your in-person professionalism with the attention and nurturing that your clients deserve. Set automated emails for new leads to welcome them to your business and schedule reminders to make sure your team doesn’t leave anyone behind.
Setting up a solid CRM on the cloud is a great way of connecting the work your travelling team does outside the office with what your internal team do — everybody wins.
When you're running a company, time is rarely on your side, and that is never more true than when you manage small business travel. One team member traveling for three days can translate into a large percentage of your workforce out of action on their day-to-day tasks. Therefore, you've got to be smart about how you organize your time for business trips.
One great way is to block out travel time on your team calendars well in advance. This way, you can plan meetings for when you know your staff are in the office, rather than finding out at the last minute that your top salesperson isn't available.
If your team is remote, it is worth adopting an organizational chart. Not only will your team be able to use keywords to search for colleagues they may not know personally, but with Bitrix24, you can also see if they're in the office and online.
One of our favorite travel management tips is to use time tracking software. Especially useful for freelancers, you can see the hours everybody is putting in wherever they are in the world.
As part of your pre-travel preparations, it’s a great idea to plan how your travelling team members are going to communicate with the office. Bitrix24 provides you with tools that cover immediate communication, from instant messaging and phone and video calls, to asynchronous updates through internal emails.
Remember that for project-specific updates, you can mark tasks complete and send comments through the project management tool. Your in-office team will get handy notifications about the project, rather than an inbox full of confusing messages, and project managers, collaborators and observers will all be able to see your progress.
If you frequently manage small business travel, you may be aware of the potential headache that expenses can be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By implementing processes for filing expenses, you can make life easier for those travelling, as well as the HR and accounting departments. Bitrix24 links all the information from your sales team with the HR sphere, with record management, document approval, and so much more.
You can even integrate Bitrix24 with other tools, such as Expenses. Combining the two means you can keep all your information in one place while leveraging the power of third-party tools — a great way to improve your travel and expense management.
We’ve gone through all the software and techniques that can make your small business travel management a breeze. However, there’s possibly nothing more important than being able to work on the go.
Bitrix24 brings together all your business tools on iOS and Android, so you can complete all your tasks and communicate in real time.
Now you know how to manage small business travel like a pro, it’s time to start implementing what you’ve learned. Sign up for Bitrix24 for free and start reaping the rewards of an all-in-one business platform to help you take your small business travel management to the next level.
For more information on the power of Bitrix24 in the travel industry, visit our dedicated page.