Business can be expensive. Your main aim is to make money, but sometimes that means spending it too – and not in small amounts. And one of the most costly things that can be vital for your business’ growth is travelling abroad. Sometimes video calls just aren’t going to cut it, and even if they are you need to consider the costs of paying employees overtime to have them in the middle of the night – if need be. A lot of the time, you just need to go there and deal with situations yourself, and that can be very expensive.
But, luckily, there are ways in which you can save some money, without cutting corners, and even make some investments along the way.
Using a credit card, like American Express, for all your business expenses can really help you when it comes to paying for flights. One of the many perks of certain credit cards is the fact that you can gain discounts or money back off flights with certain airlines. Make sure you keep yourself in good credit with them, or it will work against you.
Sticking with the same airline or travel provider can do the same thing. Everyone has heard of air miles, and they don’t just apply to credit cards. If you fly with certain companies enough, you can gain discounts or free upgrades. Do the research and find one that best suits you. You might have to pay a little more at first, but the investment will pay off for being a loyal customer.
Sticking with the same company also applies to hotels. It’s your choice whether you pay for all inclusive or not, but remember that you might not have time to go out and find a restaurant between meetings, and also, you might not be at the hotel for most evenings. Think about your itinerary and work around that. Sticking with the same hotel chain might not earn you discounts, but it will earn you a better service if you’re a good customer. Building up that relationship will make any concessions, like dinner at midnight, happen easier. It could also open some doors for you business-wise, depending on what your business is of course.
Those relationships will also be beneficial when you need to get around this new country. People who like and know you are less likely to call a rip-off cab company, and more likely to point you in the direction of a driver who is reputable and quick. They can also offer insights into the business stance of the country you’re now in. If you’re negotiating a big contract, you might need to keep it under wraps, but never underestimate the knowledge the average person has – perhaps your potential merger or purchase is rocking more than a couple of boats. Keeping an ear on the ground can help you a lot.
If you’re visiting a country often enough, it might be worth investing in an apartment for your business stays. This way you don’t have to pay hotel prices. It might be more expensive at first, but it could also save you a lot in the long run. Calculate how often you’ll be in the country, or sending someone else, and how much that would cost you both in a hotel and in your own property and see which is cheaper. And when you’re done or aren’t visiting that place as often, you can sell it – hopefully for a profit.
Maybe you don’t buy somewhere, and choose to rent instead. You can find HDB flats to rent, condos, even a penthouse. And only lease them for the summer, or for the duration of your contract negotiations. The benefits of renting a property, particularly on a non-fixed term basis, is that you can have your own space, save on hotel costs, be able to store your own car for free. However, you do have to cater for yourself unless you can hire someone to do that for you. You’ll also need a cleaner, as it is doubtful that you or your employee wants to do it yourself while having to work all the time. In saying that, however, that is what you do at home, so it’s not too big of a stretch to ask people to cook for themselves and clean up once they’re done.
Remember that anything you buy out there – from food to taxi’s – is a business expense. So make sure you keep track of every expenditure and log it in your taxes; otherwise, you’ll end up having to pay more than you should. Even the price of using the hotel bathroom can be classed as a business expense. And if you have bought or rented a property, that too is a business expense as are the bills you pay to keep it going.
When heading to a different country for business purposes, make sure you have the right things with you – from documents to suits. You don’t want to land and suddenly realise that you have left half of your stuff at home, where you’ll have to send for them, for go out and buy more things to replace those you left behind. And consider how long you need to be out there – flying there and back multiple times in a short space of time could be much more expensive than just staying out there and enjoying the time off between business days. But that might cost you, personally, more as the company won’t be paying for your jaunt to the local theme park.