Business Advice

The value of travel: Why small business owners need to get away

Angela Ferguson /

Angela Ferguson’s Futurespace has designed offices for Google, Microsoft, PwC & many more. She believes travelling is as essential to business as desk time.

Travelling is not just about having fun, it also gives business owners the opportunity to develop different perspectives and problem solve issues in their business.

In a recent report, Booking.com revealed that 60% of working professionals globally say experiencing new cultures and destinations adds value to their job. With this focus on finding new ideas in foreign landscapes, it makes every holiday a learning experience.

Over the years I have been invited to speak at a number of overseas conferences, and I’ve made the most of these trips by extending them in order to explore the place I am visiting.

I try to take advantage of this during my travels. I plan ahead, make contact with places and people that may be interesting to me as an interior architect such as galleries, hotel owners, suppliers, manufacturers, designers and architects and arrange to meet up. Experiences like these truly emphasise the importance of travel and help in my business life and career.

Here are my five main reasons why travel is an important part of business.

Problem solving

Different cultures use different tools to solve everyday problems. Seeing new ways of addressing basic human needs can be very provocative for a business owner, as it could lead to the discovery of a new solution to a problem back home, or even the adoption of a new piece of technology that you might not have considered in the past.

Creativity

There are numerous studies that show creativity is directly influenced by travel, not just by getting away from the everyday but also by immersing yourself in the culture you are visiting. One such recent study by Adam Galinsky from the Columbia Business School says sounds, smells, languages, tastes sensations and places have the potential to revitalise the mind and promote creativity.

Inspiration

Much of my own inspiration comes from travel. Observing ‘new’ cultures and environments that are different to my own every day experiences, stimulates the brain to think up new ideas. The sign of a great trip for me is how much I want to live in the city I’ve just been inspired by, and nearly every time I go somewhere I decide I’d like to live there.

Perspective

Seeing things from a different point of view can also help to understand what is not working currently, or what changes need to be made. This is important, as not all issues can be seen initially. Taking the time away to think about how things could improve could completely revitalise your business as well as yourself.

Taking a break

In the busy 24/7 world we live in, it’s often difficult to escape the everyday and find some time for rest and relaxation. Seeing the world and being immersed in many cultures informs our creativity and innovation. It can recharge you in all sort of ways, giving you the opportunity to return to work with a calm and collected mindset and a willingness to get things done.

Maintaining a connection with the rest of the world through travelling provides business owners with the potential to become stronger and make their service more unique. For business owners that are looking to broaden their horizons, experiencing a different culture could generate that big idea that you’ve been trying to come up with.

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda

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Angela Ferguson

Angela Ferguson is the managing director of Futurespace, an interior design and architectural agency.

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