Whether you're next business trip involves catching a flight, boarding a train, or heading out on a road trip, packing everything you need in a single carry-on can cut costs and reduce stress while you're away from home.
Start With The Right Suitcase
Whether you're a frequent flier or not, a high-quality, airline-approved carry-on suitcase is a smart investment for any business traveler. Most airlines strictly limit carry-on sizes to bags measuring no greater than 22" x 14" x 9" - any bigger and you'll be looking at checked baggage fees and the inevitable delays that come with airport luggage carousels.
Look for one that has wheels and a pop-up handle that can do double-duty as a briefcase holder during those long treks through the terminal, parking lot, or hotel hallways.
Choose Neutral Colors
Packing a high-quality black (or neutral) business suit will give you the perfect base to build all your outfits on during your trip. During the day, wear the entire suit with a simple button-down business shirt, then pair the pants with either a casual dress shirt (for men) or a blouse (for women) to wear in the evening so you won't need to pack multiple pairs of matching shoes.
Stick with black socks, and use ties and lightweight silk scarves to add a touch of color without bringing along extra clothes.
Pack Travel-Sized Personal Care Products
Not only can regular-sized containers of hair care products, contact lens solution, and beauty creams take up a lot of room in your luggage, but there's strict limits on what you can take with you on a flight.
Pack only TSA-approved travel-sized containers of any must-have toiletries, and remember, most hotels offer complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner on request. Unless you need a specific brand, go ahead and leave those personal items at home.
Ditch The Winter Boots
If you're travelling to, from, or between destinations where boots are a must, consider investing in a pair of pack-able, waterproof winter overshoes. Lightweight and versatile, they're the perfect space-saving alternative to bulky boots, and they're designed to fit over both casual and business footwear.
Wear Your Jacket
Jackets can really eat up the limited space inside your carry-on bag - that's why we recommend wearing your coat or blazer while traveling. Not only will this leave more room inside your luggage, but your jacket can serve double-duty as a pillow in a pinch.
Roll or Fold?
Roll small items like underwear and socks so they can be tucked into small spaces in your bag. To pack dress shirts, first button them up, lay them front-down, and fold into thirds. Fold again horizontally, then roll tightly from the fold right up to the collar. Similarly, dress pants can also be rolled vertically - just be sure to keep the crease straight.
Suit jackets are the exception - they should be carefully folded (not rolled) and packed last to minimize wrinkles.
Limit Your Electronics
Choose a single, multi-function laptop computer in lieu of multiple devices when traveling. Not only will this cut down of what you'll have to pack, but it'll reduce the risk that you'll loose your electronics while on the road.
Storytelling is a major buzzword in the marketing industry these days, and it is an aspect of promoting your business that you cannot afford to ignore. Rather than focusing your marketing efforts on promoting your products or services, the new business model requires telling the story of your brand to help your customers feel connected to and engaged with your business. Follow these tips to do it right.
Stay True to Your Core
When coming up with your "brand story," it is important to stay true to the foundation of your business. For example, if your company manufactures reusable water bottles, you wouldn't want your brand to be associated with anything that is disposable in nature. Instead, you would want to tell a story that coincides with sustainable values. Viewers these days are becoming more and more discerning in terms of the brands they choose to patronize, and they will immediately identify anything disingenuous.
Tug at the Heartstrings
Emotions are incredibly powerful when it comes to influencing consumer behavior, and your brand can use this fact to its advantage. People love seeing stories of triumph over adversity, personal growth and achievement, and giving back to the community, so try to incorporate these or similar storylines into your brand storytelling. Of course, any content you produce should still align with your company goals at the same time as telling your story.
The primary goal of brand storytelling is to get prospective customers excited about your brand. Whether you do this through associating with popular local events or by offering frequent promotions and discounts, the goal is to keep your customer base interested in your offerings and excited about buying from your company rather than your competitors. Aim for a high energy level in your marketing materials and branded content online so that your customers are excited to share your content with their friends and followers, helping to expand your reach even further.
Tie in Your Company's Offerings
At the end of the day, the ultimate purpose of brand storytelling is to attract new customers, and you can't accomplish this without letting people know what your company has to offer. With any content you create, whether it be blog posts, social media posts, advertisements or videos, there should almost always be an element that speaks specifically to your company's products or services. Without this critical aspect, your audience won't know why your brand is sharing its story. You need to help them make the connection between the story and your offerings.
Overall, brand storytelling is about more than just selling products; it is about helping your customers to feel more connected to your business, increasing the likelihood that they will continue to buy your products or services in the future. Keep this end goal in mind at all times to help guide you in creating your brand story. With a bit of creativity and effort, you'll draw in customers and establish dedicated brand loyalty, setting your business up for ongoing success in the future.
Deciding between hiring in-house talent or outsourcing the job can be a tough call to make, and both options have their benefits and drawbacks. Here are some things to consider when choosing between the two recruitment options.
Why Independent Contractors Make Sense
It's easy to understand the draw that outsourcing certain tasks has for business owners.
First of all, while you should work closely with an independent contractor, there are no employee-related expenses; no training costs, health care, vacation time, or sick leave.
Additionally, in many cases, you will be working with and benefiting from the experience and insight of a team of specialists, rather than a single worker.
Outsourcing may also spare you business expenses. For example, perhaps you are interested in making some promotional and informational videos for your website. You could invest in expensive equipment, along with hiring someone with the proper know-how, or you could outsource the job to a video production company that already has the knowledge, experience, and the equipment.
Finally, outsourcing certain tasks can free you and your workers up to focus on the core areas of your business without pouring time and effort into peripheral tasks.
Making the Call
While outsourcing can be a good thing, it also has its drawbacks. Your project may not receive the focus it deserves, you lose a little bit of control over the timeframe, and you have less control over the quality of the finished product. Before deciding whether to outsource a task or operation, consider these questions.
Is it a Business-Critical Function?
Generally, anything that relates directly to the operation of your business should be handled in-house. For example, for some businesses, their social media marketing strategy is an essential part of their competitive advantage. In this case, a social media manager should likely be an in-house hire who shares your goals and vision for marketing campaigns.
However, duties like payroll, bookkeeping, and administrative tasks, though they don't relate directly to the vision of your business, tend to take a significant toll on overall productivity. Outsourcing these tasks, rather than hiring in-house, makes sense for most businesses.
What Is Your Budget?
There may be a significant cost difference between a trained employee and an independent contractor. Oftentimes, if you're shooting a single promotional video or you want to create an app, outsourcing the job may make the most sense because it will spare your business the expense of investing in expensive equipment and providing highly specialized training. On the other hand, independent contractors may charge a relatively high daily rate, making outsourcing less than ideal for long-term projects.
What Is Your Time Frame?
If you have a skills gap that needs to be filled quickly, then outsourcing makes sense. Rather than taking the time to go through the hiring and training process, you can hire an experienced professional who can hit the ground running.
In the end, whether or not you choose to outsource hinges on your timeframe for project completion, budgetary considerations, and how it will impact the efficiency and goals of your business. Using these as guidelines will help you choose the recruitment option that is right for your business.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.