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What a rock band can teach you about business travel

Until recently, my only experience with business travel was touring with a rock band. One of the most disorganised groups of people that could possibly be unleashed on the travel industry. But luckily my extensive touring experiences prepared me well for when I crossed over to the corporate world. In fact, compared to touring, travelling for business is almost a breeze.

Bands have it all. Really heavy, but somehow really fragile equipment. A group of people that barely know each other despite each being integral to the team’s success. And of course little to no ‘time management’ skills and a complete disregard for the costs associated with a business venture.

Despite their usual lack of organisational skills, a band is indeed a business entity. And a large part of how successful a band is depends on how well their tours go. Travel is vital to their success. I realised this pretty early on and developed a personal travel routine. Now that I’m crossed over to the corporate world, I was surprised at how many similarities there are between gigs and board meetings. So check out these tips, they’ll help you rock your next board meeting or sales call.

Get a system for your downtime.

Plan to make the most of your down time. Especially on a road trip or flight. If you don’t want to be bogged down with double work when you return, hit up some of that work on the road. Or in the air. It can be tempting to just veg out and watch Home Alone for the tenth time on a long flight, but you’ll be in a much better position if you do some work (or in my case uni reading) during your down time. Legend has it that a guitarist for a prominent New Jersey band did all his reading for his doctorate while on tour. So image what you can achieve in your downtime.

Soul food.

There’s nothing worse than four band members eating fast food for weeks in row and being locked in a confined space. When you’re on the road plan where to eat in advance. At the very least get some Yelp! recommendations near your hotel. You’ll avoid having to have a last minute burrito before your big presentation. Your stomach and audience will thank you.

Keep the eye of the tiger on the road.

Playing live music requires a certain level of fitness. Working out also helps your mental health. So try and keep your fitness regime with you on the road. Find ways to work out in your hotel room or book hotels with good gym facilities. There’s nothing worse than not having worked out before you perform. You’ll feel sluggish and lacking energy. So whether it’s a rock show or sales pitch, get the blood flow pumping before you hit the stage.

Surprise! You’re in debt.

No one ever thinks they will damage their rental car. Well, let me tell you about the time our bass player backed the van into a pole. Or, how about the time our bass player knocked the rearview mirror off a station wagon? Or the time he ran up the back of a car in peak hour traffic on the freeway (You see pattern forming here with bass players?). There’s nothing worse than giving all your T-shirt money to some car hire company to pay thousands of dollars of liability on damaged vehicles. Especially when you can get zero damage liability and pay a little more each day. Things happen on the road, make sure you’re covered.

The last plane out of Sydney is actually gone.

Never book the last plane. There are too many variables that can prevent you from getting there on time, whether it’s a business meeting that runs long, or a missing band member who wandered off with a local barmaid. Give yourself the leeway to get a later flight. It can mean avoiding having to pay for an extra night at your hotel, not to mention possibly missing your next gig or meeting.

Home, like no place is there.

After a big trip, you’re going to be more tired than usual. Even if you follow all these tips, travel still has a way of taking it out of you. So don’t book your next recording session for the moment you get off the plane. Give yourself some breathing room. If you’ve kept on top of your work while you’ve been on the way, there shouldn’t be too many urgent requests. Try and have a lighter day and get back in the swing of things.

A business trip doesn’t haven’t be a rock and roll shambles. And you don’t have to come home to mountain of work. So Whether you’re on the road to sell your songs or your small business, make sure you follow these tips and you’ll be number one with a bullet at the next client meeting.

published November 12, 2014

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