How travel can make you a better entrepreneur


One of my relatives is an old-school entrepreneur, although she manages more than 70 employees, she rarely delegates, and instead, micromanages every single detail of her business.

You can imagine what a huge toll that has taken on her over the years.

We were having a conversation the other day, and she came to realise that her business has barely innovated in the past 20 years. It is still following the old ways of doing things. She could have saved a lot of time and resources if she had adopted certain software and programs, and delegated some of her work. She could have been a pioneer in her field and quadrupled her fortune, if only she had the time to think and innovate.

She also never took any proper holiday, except during Eid and national celebrations, and that was only because no one else was doing business on those days.

Will she be changing her ways of doing things? I doubt, for she’s very rigid in that sense.

Her situation isn’t very unique. A lot of entrepreneurs slave through the weekend, answer emails after midnight and text clients instead of socialising with friends on the weekends. That line between work and personal time is almost non-existent.

A few years ago, I remember how I was so immersed with work that 18 months had passed without me going on a holiday. I’m someone who loves to travel, explore and broaden my horizon. I felt fatigued, stuck in a rut, and that situation took a toll on my health, too.

Travelling as an entrepreneur has been one of the best ways for me to grow personally and professionally. My trips have a huge impact on how I run my business, how I interact with clients and my perceptions of the world.

Here’s why travelling will benefit your business:

You’ll be energised

If you find yourself coming back home from work with no energy to do something personal or meet up with friends, then that’s your cue to travel. Sometimes it’s not enough to just take a day off and stay in bed browsing through Netflix.

I was going through that phase a while back when I decided that the best thing to do was to escape. So, I took a break and went to Hong Kong. There I relaxed, spent a day at Disneyland running around like a kid and was fully recharged and excited to get back to work.

When you’re on break, be really present. Limit your email time and alert your clients that you’re away. The only way you will truly recharge is if you completely switch off.

You’ll be inspired

How would you be inspired if you are exposed to the same scenery every day? Visiting new places, starting your day differently and just walking instead of driving, will inspire you in so many ways. These simple changes in routine trigger our minds. Visiting a new place or seeing how companies interact with clients may inspire you to start something new or alter your way of doing things.

It aids personal and professional development

It was a trip to Europe that inspired me to offer augmented reality solutions through my consultancy. Another trip to Bali and the Seychelles inspired me to write more about culture. Staying in Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, where the rule was to walk barefoot and the internet connection limited, I was forced to let go. It also taught me how healthy it was for my mind to stay away from my electronic devices and just run and ride my bike around the island.

It may be rational to think that the way you’ll be inspired or make more money is to invest extra hours in your business, but I’ve personally found the opposite to be true.

Going away will bring you closer to your goals.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and entrepreneur, who manages her creative consultancy in Abu Dhabi.

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