Business trips are vital for startup founders trying to grow their business. Getting the best ROI for a business trip possible is important as well to maintain a healthy cash flow. Venturing out on business trips time after time without closing deals is a fruitless venture if you do not count expanding brand recognition. A founder should go on a business trip with goals in mind whether it is to meet with a certain number of clients or to pitch to a particular group of investors. A business trip without goals set for each meeting can go off of the rails quite quickly. The best thing that a founder can do is to prepare for each meeting like it is a final exam in college they have to ace in order to graduate. This preparation can help a founder answer a particularly tough question or provide a great example that will help answer the question. The following are tips to help a startup founder kill it on their next business trip potentially impacting the trajectory of the company immensely.
Meet With Potential Partners/Investors Wherever You Visit
As a startup there might be a chance that you are looking for funding or are willing to partner with the right investor to help grow the business. Certain investors could have relationships that can be tapped into in order to close deals or even give the startup more exposure. Lee Jacobs, a former partner at AngelList has a great example of a resume of an investor that you would like to bring on board. Understanding that not every venture capital group is going to “get” your business idea which is a reality but this does not mean it is not a great idea. Staying confident is important as these VCs are pitched frequently so they can detect an unsure feeling of a presenter.
Meet With Current Clients To Maintain The Relationship
The growth of a company has a lot to do with finding new clients but it has even more to do with a high retention rate of current clients. This will include taking them out for drinks/dinner or could simply be you visiting their office on every opportunity you have. Clients love to feel valued and making an appearance during a busy business trip does just that. Remembering names of staff that you have met before also does help as you most likely work with these people if you were introduced.
Monitor Staff Performance When Out of Town
The one thing that cannot happen when you go out of town as the founder is have production stop at the office. This happens at businesses of all sizes when a manager or high ranking employee is out of the office. Goals should not just be set for the meetings but also for staff during the time you are gone. Time tracking software should be implemented as this can do a myriad of positive things for the company. The most obvious perk is reducing wasted time but also it can bring light to how all-star employees are spending their time. Business should not stop because you have gone out of town as staff is still being paid and there is work to be done.
Sales Prospects Love to Be Wined And Dined
The truth is that a lot of businesses work with companies where they like the staff. If competing with another company being more likeable can close a deal if both companies are offering similar quality service/product at around the same price. Take out potential clients to dinner as it is important to build rapport which will make it hard for them to say no when the time to sign a contract comes. There will be some prospects that take advantage of this so try to sift through these types as they can be quite prevalent.
Meet With Other Related Companies To Potentially While Label Your Products/Service
Meeting with businesses in your niche to discuss white labeling your services that you do not provide can be quite a success. This not only will be offered to their current customers but it will also be offered to future customers. Sending over your sales materials after a company has agreed to this will be the next step. One thing to make sure of is that payment terms are clear as you do not want your company to be lacking in cash flow due to their client paying late. Even if these companies do not agree to white label services creating this relationship is important as they could send over contract work to test the startup’s services. Business meetings can be a time where a company that might be struggling can change their luck in a week. Do not underestimate the value of meeting with people face to face as it offers something that virtual meetings cannot. Dominate your next business meetings by using the above tactics.