5 Tips For Doing Business Remotely

Many people travel for business. Some take off for a day at a time; others spend weeks on the road. If you fit into this group, you probably know how important it is to be able to take your business with you no matter where you are headed. Business is becoming more remote, and it’s conducted around the world. It’s important to have the necessary tools and equipment to do business no matter where you are.

Here are five tips to follow if you are interested in taking your business on the road:

1. Pack what you need and leave the rest back at your office. The last thing you want to do is get in the habit of packing anything and everything that you can get your hands on. Sure, you need certain items, but somewhere along the way you have to draw a line.

2. Use one bag and one bag only. This goes along with tip number one. As a general rule of thumb, when I am traveling for business I limit myself to one bag for “work related items.” For me, this includes my laptop, necessary files, and miscellaneous equipment (mouse, USB stick, keyboard, etc). All of this fits nicely into one, carry-on computer bag. Anything that doesn’t fit stays at my office.

3. You need a laptop. If you truly want to take your business with you wherever you go, you need a laptop computer. You may prefer a desktop in your office, but for travel this simply isn’t going to work. In today’s day and age you have many options including lightweight laptops as well as smaller netbooks. Either way, you will have what you need to travel comfortably while giving yourself access to the internet and saved files.

4. Where are you going to stay? Does it offer a reasonable work station? Will you have internet access? It is important to plan in advance if you will be staying in a hotel. You must choose one with a proper work station, as well as fast and reliable internet access. There are many hotels that cater to business travelers. I always look for a hotel with free WiFi in the room. Make sure you call ahead to ask if the WiFi is available in the rooms, because sometimes they boast “free WiFi” but it’s only available in the common areas.

5. Upgrade Your Phone. I carry with me an iPhone, and it has saved me on numerous occasions from sending out an important email, receiving an important email, looking up quick research on the internet, or even sending an invoice. I use Fresh Books, which has an iPhone app that allows me to manage my invoices and create/send estimates to prospective clients. I also have an app that allows me to scan and electronically file away business receipts and documents. Your old phone may be holding you back from doing business more efficiently on the road. You don’t have to buy an iPhone and switch to AT&T. There are other great smart phones on the market. I also like the Google Android phones, because of their open platform to create different applications for the phone.

If traveling is a big part of your job, the tips above should allow you to successfully conduct business from the road. Although you may never feel as comfortable as you do at your office, you can stay still productive.

Do you have any additional tips? Everybody is different in terms of how they like to travel. Feel free to leave a comment to share your advice and experiences.

(photo credit: Melanchuk)

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    In this day and age, if you are doing business, you need a smartphone. The iPhone is the most versatile with the many apps, but you need something with email & internet access. Without one, competitors will have a distinct advantage as they will be better equiped to conduct business anywhere.

    • Winston

      I can assume with certainty that most businesspeople have smartphones. The issue becomes which smartphone fits best for each individual. My boss uses a Blackberry as he can’t stand touch screen. It is not as versatile as the iPhone but he likes it the way it is.

  • gina

    I keep a check off list of items so that I can pack quickly. Also, I agree with checking out the amenities of the hotel prior to arrival-it makes things so much easier to deal with if you are prepared.

    • http://madsaver.com Mac

      True – having wifi in a room is essential. Several years ago I was out of town for business, I checked into a hotel that had internet. Well, not so much. The “internet” was on 1 computer in the lounge and it didn’t even work. These days I wouldn’t take anything less than wifi hotel-wide.

  • Winston

    If you are doing business on the road, wouldn’t it be much more convenient to get a laptop data plan? That way, you can work anywhere at any time and don’t need to search for free WiFi hotspots.

  • http://twitter.com/businessbecause BUSINESSBECAUSE

    Great article Chris! And your tips are really useful. I wonder if you have a any tips for engaging with business people who you are yet to meet face to face? Not being in the same space with people means you have less control on how things go and this can be quite stressful for a business person. One St. Gallen MBA I interviewed suggested factoring in cultural considerations. He was in India working on a project for Infosys and had prepared just like you suggested but in his experience, the people he had to deal with preferred putting a face to the name before actual business could begin.