The benefits of travel are obvious. Seeing the world helps you find yourself, learn about different cultures and experience new things. But did you know that travelling can also make you a better entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is a person of determination and vision, who can see opportunities and act on them quickly. These traits are only amplified in unfamiliar territory.
Regardless of the length or purpose of your journey, or even the experiences you have along the way, travelling helps you develop a whole wealth of new skills – particularly the kind of soft skills that could be useful to you as an entrepreneur.
Here are 6 ways that travelling can help you grow:
#1 You’ll sharpen your organisational skills
Organising a trip can seem a lot like project management. You start by defining your objectives (tourism, sport, humanitarianism, or just relaxation), then you work out the specifics (itinerary, transport, lodging, activities), deadlines and most importantly your budget. Breaking out of your daily routine means getting organised in advance, managing your time wisely and anticipating (and ideally avoiding) potential problems. New experiences will help you get better at organisation, prioritisation, and managing urgent issues that may arise: all the same skills required of an entrepreneur, where every day brings new challenges.
#2 You’ll master the art of problem-solving
Travelling is not all rest and relaxation, and even if you’ve spent hours making elaborate spreadsheets to be sure you’ve covered all your bases, there will inevitably be obstacles: bad weather, cancelled trains, lost reservations. On each new day in a new place, you may run into unexpected and tricky situations. To get through them, you’ll need to keep a level head and approach the issue from different angles. This problem-solving mindset will be an invaluable tool for tackling the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. When you’re able to think differently, you can identify better strategies and change your approach as circumstances change, so you can learn and grow from the experience.
#3 You’ll learn to let go and become more creative
When you travel, you put yourself in situations that force you out of your comfort zone: unfamiliar places where you need to stay alert, difficulty communicating in another language, or dealing with local customs, to name a few. You’ll need to let go of your normal way of operating and accept that you can’t always be in complete control of the situation. While this may be uncomfortable at first, it’s an asset for making you think creatively. Being resourceful and inventive can make all the difference when you’re in a tricky situation, and it’s a very important skill when you’re an entrepreneur, when you’ll need to think outside the box to make better decisions.
#4 You’ll learn to think big
Travelling gets you out of your bubble and opens your mind. While you may know your domestic market and business practices like the back of your hand, seeing different lifestyles and ways of doing business in another country can completely change your perspective. By watching the locals, you can observe different consumer habits and practices and spot new trends. You’ll come back from your trip with not only new insights but a broader understanding of the world around you. This curiosity and open-mindedness will help you find inspiration that you can bring to your business: new ways of working, conquering new markets, or ideas for innovative products and services which can meet the demands of consumers in your own market.
#5 You’ll enhance your network
When you’re travelling, you’re constantly meeting new people. It’s a great way to get to know someone you may not have come across in your day-to-day life. Even if you’re not primarily travelling for business, that doesn’t mean you can’t meet people that can help you professionally. Hanging out in an informal setting in a friendly environment, where people are generally feeling more relaxed and open to talking, is the perfect place to grow your network. Whether you’re poolside, on a cultural excursion or even at the hotel bar, stay approachable for a conversation. You never know, your next big opportunity might start with small talk about the weather!
#6 You’ll get used to doing things remotely
Travelling also means putting certain things on hold while you’re away. But you should be able to jump back in the loop when it’s necessary. Whether it’s putting a project back on track with your team or catching up with strategic clients, you need the right technology to make sure distance doesn’t put up barriers or generate frustration. Remote collaboration is the new norm for agile, efficient teams, and it will soon be essential. Trying it out on an informal trip abroad is a great way to introduce yourself to its tools and methods before you need to use them on your future work trips as an entrepreneur.