Small Business editor of the NZ Herald

Small Business: Travel

This week, small business editor Caitlin Sykes talks to business owners about travel.
Greg Sheehan, CEO and executive director of RightWay.
Greg Sheehan, CEO and executive director of RightWay.

Entrepreneur Tim Norton is a constant traveller.

As CEO and founder of video production marketplace 90 Seconds, Norton's role involves him regularly getting around the company's offices in five countries and seven cities.

Over the past four months his travel regime has also included visiting around 40 investment firms in four countries with an investor roadshow as part of a significant capital raise for the firm.

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A lifestyle of whirlwind travel means Norton has had no fixed home for the past four-and-a-half years, but he's employed a diverse range of strategies and tools to help him deal with life on the road.

For example, he now has a room in three locations - Singapore, Sydney and Auckland - where he can permanently keep some personal belongings. When elsewhere he uses Airbnb.

"I think Airbnb is a far superior platform for business travel, because when you can sit down at a kitchen table in the evening it feels more like home, and that's when you can be fully productive."

Technology plays a key role in keeping business humming while moving from place to place, he says; all the firm's systems are cloud based, including its communications and project management software.

Norton says regular exercise is also crucial to staying productive while travelling - a point echoed by Greg Sheehan, the Martinborough-based CEO and executive director of accounting firm RightWay who regularly to Wellington, Auckland and Sydney.

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"I have the worst willpower in the world, but I do try to get out of bed in time to go for a walk or run," says Sheehan.

"It's amazing how much better you feel by getting out and getting some fresh air."

Sheehan also makes a point of delegating work so he can focus on the core reason for his business travel.

I know a lot of small business owners find it hard to do that because there often aren't a lot of people to delegate to, but if they can take some pressure off themselves in some areas that's one less thing they have to think about when they're travelling.

Nelson-based executive coach Suzi McAlpine travels at least once a week to Auckland or Wellington where her corporate clients are primarily based.

McAlpine's husband also has a demanding role as a senior executive, so she says part of keeping things running smoothly while frequently travelling is being super organised at home.

"My husband and I have some practices we religiously adhere to, like sending each other invitations on our work calendars for when one of us is out of town and the other one is on pick-up-from-after-school-care-duty," she says.

"It avoids panicked 'who's picking up the kids?' conversations on the day of travel, which ain't great for marital wellbeing, let alone the stress levels of the business traveller."

- NZ Herald

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