How Can I Do Business With These Gas Prices?

Janet Christy

Business can be conducted other than face-to-face. There are many ways to communicate and conduct business without traveling. There are also measures you can take to insure trips are more effective. A business must realistically evaluate the options to determine what is best for the situation.

Here is a list of some of the possible alternatives to business travel. (Some situations may require a mixture of the alternatives either simultaneously or at specific junctures in the process.)

  • Video Conferencing
    • Via your private network
    • Via the Internet
    • Via a video conferencing service/facility
  • Audio Teleconferencing
  • Online Presentation
  • Online Meetings
  • Email
  • Instant messaging
  • Text Messaging
  • Online Chat
  • Hard copy (US Mail, overnight delivery, private courier service, etc.)
  • One-on-One Phone Conversation (it sounds silly, but it is sometimes overlooked)
  • Social Media

Preparing to “do business from home base” requires preparation and execution logistics. It also necessitates a new set of precautions. Here are some of the basic considerations and actions:

  • Appropriate network speed and size
  • Adequate network security
  • Proper software
  • Necessary equipment (video, quality speaker phones, headsets to filter out noise, cameras, etc.)
  • Suitable spaces that are acoustically adequate for video conferencing or audio conferencing
  • Training (equipment and procedures)

The old “tried and true” preparation actions for doing business are even more important when doing business without traveling and for making travel more efficient. Some of those actions are:

  • Research the other party (website, other internet sources, newspaper articles, financial report, and other appropriate material)
  • Read ahead (the proposal, the past correspondence, any other background or appropriate information)
  • Test equipment and/or line at least a day before it is to be used
  • Know how to use the equipment or software
  • Have a technical expert available – a life line
  • Practice (on-line presentation, video or audio speech, etc.)
  • Allow enough time for the meeting (people tend to think a video or phone meeting will not take as long as an in-person one, not necessarily – your time savings comes from not having to travel)
  • Schedule multiple meetings or contacts if you do travel
  • Be sure you have proper materials with you whether you travel or have a meeting online or by phone
  • Be sure the right people do the traveling or are involved in the online interaction (do not involve unnecessary people in a video or phone meeting just because you can without having to incur travel expense)
  • Send one or two people to a trade show/conference and have them provide the information to other appropriate staff. Purchasing videos of the presentations may be an alternative to attending at all.

Travel is a way of life and business for commercial, non-profit, education and government entities. However, current economic and security conditions require evaluation of travel practices and the implementation of alternatives. It will take some effort to overhaul attitudes and procedures, but the results will be a more efficient and effective way of doing business.

I do consultations, research, radio interviews and meetings by phone all the time. During a phone consultation or meeting I often have the other participants go directly to websites and help them walk through forms, understand procedures and find information expediting their ability to action. Doing consultations by phone makes it affordable and possible for my clients to use my services.

Janet Christy, Founder and President of consulting firm, Leverage & Development, LLC
Copyright 2012 Author retains ownership. All Rights Reserved.

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