You’re on the funding round trail to secure cash to boost your start up or to take your existing company to the next level. If you’ve tried and failed at all the sources you could try without leaving your office, and you simply must travel with following seven suggestions for getting you there – and back – without doing it on a wing and a prayer, and without giving your bank balance too much of a pounding.
- Why are you booking all this travel? Yes, I know, you couldn’t get funding sitting in the office. But that’s why you’re travelling, not why you’re booking it. Get a travel agent involved. They’re specialists and you’re not. Every trade has its tricks, and the travel business is no different. Giving a list of dates and destinations, and let them iron out the hassle. You could spend the time saved with the family to iron out the hassle of being away on another business trip. Hey, I’m just saying…
- Set the rules. Don’t let the travel agent upsell you into upmarket hotels with complicated pillow menus and in-room saunas. You’re trying to generate cash on this funding round, not spend it. The hotel room is a place to sleep for one or two nights; you’re not moving in. Set a budget and have them work within it. Being clear at the outset helps them to help you.
- Get on the chain gang. There’s something comforting in the familiar, and that’s what you’ll find if you work with the same chain of hotels. What’s even more comforting is that you’ll be able to tap into loyalty schemes that will make your trip cheaper. We’re trying to raise money here. See tip 2.
- Travel light. You can move faster if you travel light. Get your packing down to a fine art, and manage with a carry-on bag. Be sure it’s a size that airlines will accept, and you can be the first to the cab rank when the flight’s landed, rather than watching a broken push-chair trundle round the baggage carousel. Look, it’s coming around again… I wonder if your case has gone to Birmingham, UK, rather than Birmingham, Alabama? Maybe that’s why it hasn’t appeared yet… Oops…
- Eat out. What kind of crazy advice is this? Why would you eat out, when you’re staying in a hotel? Well, a couple of reasons, actually. Firstly, if you’ve squeezed the budget very tight, you may well be staying in an hotel with no restaurant, but even if you’re not, getting out in the evening will get you some exercise whilst you’re walking around to find the right kind of eatery, and secondly, you’ll get a flavour of the city you’re visiting, and that’ll come for nothing. Exercise and sightseeing at no cost? What’s not to like?
- Whose money is it anyway? If you’re on the hunt for finance, chances are it’s your business that’s footing the bill, so consider this. How about paying for your own meals? It’s what you’d do at home, having shopped for groceries or picked a restaurant, so why not do the same on a business trip? In the grand scheme of things, it might save only a few pennies, but hey, it’ll all add to the profitability, even if only a tiny bit. Travel expense management software is a brilliant tool for keeping track of what you’ve spent, allowing you to reassure yourself that you’ve had value for money.
- OK, you win. So, you want to do it yourself, all this travel booking malarkey. Go ahead – but do me a favour. Use some travel and expense management software. Failure to do that means the whole thing will be out of control, and no matter what it says on the plane ticket, you won’t know where you are financially.
Sunita Nigam is a Co founder of Solo Expenses, It’s brought to you by the founders of Expense on Demand, the specialist mid-market expense management system used by more than 70 countries since 2003. See