business travel tips, productivity tips

It has been a brutal travel season with unbelievable snow. In spite of that, business still needs to get done. In the past, four weeks I have spent more nights in hotels than in my own bed. If you travel, you know that means lots of time waiting. Waiting in airports, waiting in rental car lines, waiting in hotels-all while surrounded by people who are doing the same thing you are doing- waiting and working.

In the midst of all of this I have found that some of my best thinking and productive work occurs while I am traveling. I don’t think this was always the case but it is today. I started to analyze why and the reason is actually pretty simple. When I am at work I am constantly surrounded by people. Employees need time and attention. Customers want to meet, have phone conferences and, in my case, we are on location videotaping people and facilities for corporate productions. Add in the constant e-mails and texts and it feels like I am being bombarded by constant communication.

Don’t get me wrong, I love people or I would not be in business doing what I am doing. But, sometimes I just don’t have time to think.While business travel is not always easy, it does give you some time alone. Of course, it’s helpful if you are in business class so that others are working as well. I have started to plan my travel so that the time is actually some of the most productive time. That means I have less to do when I return home. Here are a few tips.

Bring projects of varying lengths. I use the time in the airport or on short flights to knock out those annoying little things that need to get done; the proposal that needs polishing, background reading, e-mails that I need to write or clean-up. I also bring at least one major project that requires lots of think time. On longer cross-country flights, I can get massive amounts of work done because no one is interrupting me.

Bring one business issue you have been trying to solve. I love to brainstorm ideas for things that I just can’t seem to get my arms around. I write down everything that comes to my mind and try not to filter out the good from the bad ideas. I just let it flow.

Bring at least one business book you have been trying to read. It’s hard to take the time to read something I want to read when work is piled up on my desk. When I read a book on a plane, it feels like I am doing something just for me.

Take time to do nothing. Most business owners love interaction. We love to be on the go and doing things. It is actually hard to do nothing. Try it sometime. Sit on a plane and do nothing. Sit in a hotel room and watch something really mindless on TV. Sit in a restaurant or bar and just watch people. Take a walk around the airport concourse. In other words, give your mind a rest.

I actually am enjoying travel these days, despite the hustle and bustle. That’s because I am using it as my quiet time. And, who couldn’t use a little more of that?


~~I was recently asked a common question during a Q&A. “What is a brand?” Believe it or not, I get asked this question all the time, simply because the word “brand” carries with it many different definitions. Depending on what one does for a living, what they’ve heard, what they’ve learned, or how they perceive their own “brand” the word has different meanings to different people. Some common definitions of brand are: a logo; a company; a product; a jingle; a trademark. Others think branding is advertising and marketing.

Speaking before the House of Representative Committee on Small Business was not exactly on my bucket list, but maybe it should have been. This past week I got a rare invitation to testify on behalf of the National Small Business Association. So, I decided to make the trip to Washington, DC. It was not exactly an easy trip. The weather was terrible and what should have been a 3 hour plane ride turned into an almost 14 hour ordeal.

the ceo magazine, small business
Richard Milam, CEO, EnableSoft Inc.

Unless you are in the accounting field, the chances are good that this March you’ll be struggling alongside millions of other business leaders who are rushing to file their 2014 taxes on time. This can be a time of great panic as you or your finance team rush to get documentation together in order to meet tight deadlines. Besides late penalties, there are real opportunity costs to this sort of frenetic tax preparation process. Last-minute tax help is expensive, for one. Moreover, every minute you spend preparing taxes yourself or managing others takes time away from managing your organization.

A Harris Poll was recently released on the Most Loved and Most Hated Companies



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