In an era where mobile phones and video conferencing are so ubiquitous, some people question the need for business travel at all. Many companies view business travel simply as an expense. At Family Bank we see it a little differently. Sitting in an office and staring at a glowing screen is not a replacement for having boots on the ground. Here are four key reasons we think business travel is still very important.
Closing a Deal or Signing New Business
Face-to-face meetings are important to closing business. According to Oxford Economics, the rate of converting mere prospects to actual customers nearly doubles when a tête-à-tête is included in the mix. In many industry segments, that can mean closing nearly 100% of the business deals.
This is for good reason. Think about it—would you trust your future as a professional to someone you’ve never met?
When one is out in the field, the chance to meet people one would never have interacted with from the comfort of an office increases tenfold. That is the key factor that is networking and it can take several forms. David Gicharu, a businessman based in Kenya, has met suppliers from Brazil and China through the Family Bank Business Club. Mr. Gicharu notes that “ The Business Club has definitely broadened my perspective. I have personally gone to many places that I would not have visited on my own.”
Charity Wosula is a Nairobi businesswoman. Her reasons for attending the Family Bank business trips are a little different from David’s, her purpose of taking the trips is to get insights on how to run a successful business.
In her travels, she has learnt what she considers to be the cornerstone of good business: meticulous planning, sticking to the script, patience, and careful investment of resources. She has learnt that “resources” does not only mean finances, but time too. When all these components come together, the business takes care of not only itself, but other businesses too. “The trips have given total transformation to our business. We have learnt how to diversify and expand. I have grown from one branch of Fransat Services, (her business) to having three more branches that we are building to stability soon.” The benefits to her growth extend to the community as well. She notes that “We have created employment to many and our hearts’ desires have been fulfilled in the process. It’s now a family business and building our legacy. We are raising other business people in the process so the trips have really been of great value to us.”
Leadership is hinged on the ability to inspire others to have confidence in you and your company and to motivate others. Visibility is a key driver for this, and the Family Bank Business Club offers the perfect visibility platform.
This is arguably the biggest reason why business travel is important – to foster personal interaction. Face-to-face meetings can increase understanding and empathy, reduce miscommunication, and foster a team spirit of “us.”
George Gondi of Trima Systems Limited had this to say about his Family Bank Business Club trips.
“I attended the trips not only to network and get exposure, but also to explore other business diversification opportunities. I have since learnt that there are so many other businesses opportunities out there. There’s need to do things right in order to attract partnerships and expand existing businesses. I need to work hard and network more. Our businesses have transformed after we learnt a lot about new technologies and broadened our thinking. The trips have met my expectations completely and I feel, we even need more trips in the calendar year for us!”
Business travel should not be viewed as a cost to your business; it can result in immense benefits and yield new business opportunities. We are currently signing up for a trip to Europe, we would be delighted to have you join us!