6 Things I Love About Business Travel

I love to travel. And I love to travel for business.

Last fall, my job took me to 11 different cities over the course of about 8 weeks.  I loved nearly every minute of it.  And now that there’s word of a similar project ramping up – I can’t wait to once again be let out of the starting gate.

Here (in no particular order) is what I love about business travel:

1)       Clean Hotel Rooms

Whenever possible I stay at a Hampton Inn.  They have that whole “faux homey” thing down pat – the free cookies and/or popcorn at night is just icing on the cake.  The great thing about traveling is that everything is clean (clean sheets, clean bathrooms, clean rooms) all without any effort on my part.

2)      No Worries About Shopping for Groceries

Eating at restaurants has its advantages. When you travel you don’t have to worry on your drive home if you have enough milk or ketchup or bread or noodles to make whatever it is you’re planning for dinner. You show up at the restaurant, look at the menu and the rest is taken care of for you.  The same is true of all of the other household items like paper towels, dish detergent and toilet paper.

3)      New Stimuli

Airport bookstores, in-flight magazines, out-of-town newspapers, new shopping centers/malls and restaurants, finding my way around a strange town – all of these things help keep the neural pathways open and stimulated. Nothing boosts my creativity quite like going out of town for a trip.

4)      New People

Restaurants, security lines, hotels, clients, etc. are all full of new people. As George Clooney said in Up in the Air: “Isolated? I’m surrounded!”. If I’m so inclined I can always find someone worthwhile to talk to when I’m on the road.

5)      It Forces You to Focus on the More Important Things

This is all about the power of less. You learn to get done what absolutely needs to be done during the short times that you’re home. If it’s not important, it won’t make it to your to-do list. You learn to appreciate the limits of time even more when you have even less of it from week to week.

6)      It Forces You to Live and Work More Virtually

This includes delegating. This is strongly related to #5. You learn to take on less when you know you can’t be there to get it done. So you’re left relying heavily on delegating most things out. I’m rarely more productive than I am when I have to delegate out all of the important stuff and reduce my own role in how things get done.  I’m at my best when I’m forced into the position of being the person to allocate resources and effort, while managing everything via e-mail, text and phone calls.  My sole job at that point is to remove any hurdles my team runs into.

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Finding Your Highest and Best Use

Highest and Best Use (HABU) is a principle in real estate and business appraisals that means the true value of a property is whatever value the property would have if it was to be put to its highest and best use.

So for instance, your grandmother might be selling her old house.  As a house, the property is ok.  It’s a little run-down and dated and the bedrooms might be a little small.  As a house it’s probably worth slightly less than similar houses that are a little more modern.

But the house sits on 3 acres of land and this land is zoned for high density residential units (townhouses, apartments, condos).  As raw sub-dividable acreage the property could be worth many times what the house might otherwise sell for.

The actual value of the property isn’t the house itself.  It’s in the land.

In fact, the house itself might be in the way of the highest and best use of property.

Individuals aren’t any different.  You also  have a highest and best use.  It is the true value of your time if you were to work doing the activity that brings you the most money.

And just like Nana’s house, most likely there are activities that you are doing right now that get in the way of your highest and best use.

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I think I wasted this recession.

If you’re prepared (good credit and an abundance of cash) a recession is a good time for some bargain hunting of investments (stock, land, real estate, talent, etc.).  And maybe even some refinancing of old debts.

Otherwise a recession is just about juggling your income and obligations and waiting for better times.

Because of a misjudgment a couple of years ago, compounded by a small run of bad luck in mid-2008 – I’ve been mostly doing the latter.

I had hoped to get in a good enough position to capitalize on the opportunities brought about by the reduced prices in real estate, but that hasn’t been the case.  And I think its too late.

Disclaimer: I’m not a trained economist, so everything I say should be taken with a grain of salt.  And none of this should be construed as investment advice.

So with all of those disclaimers out of the way, here I go:

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