Whether you’re flat out running your online business, fitting in the school run or dashing off to an all important meeting, chances are you’re ultimately relying on your car to get you where you need to be on time. All you have to do is drop the children off at school and drive the 30 miles to your meeting venue.
What can possibly go wrong? Let’s imagine that tomorrow is a very important business meeting. You want to make a good impression so you’ve chosen your wardrobe carefully to look smart, well organised and professional. You know what you want to achieve, you’ve rehearsed what you’re going to say, you’ve considered how to be memorable for all the right reasons and you’ve packed your briefcase with business cards and all the right supporting materials.
Then real life intervenes. You forgot to wash the car, you can’t find the SatNav cradle, the fuel light is on and they’ve just started to dig up the local bypass causing horrendous traffic hold ups. It’s the stuff of nightmares were it not for some practical tips here, mostly borne out of personal experience, designed to reduce the impact of unexpected events damaging the outcome of an all important business meeting you’ve otherwise prepared for in full.
Tips For Stress-Free Business Travel
To be sure of a safe and stress-free journey to your business meeting I suggest you:
- Schedule your journey allowing plenty of time for a comfort stop if needed. It’s better to arrive at reception a little early but looking cool, calm and in control rather than breaking the speed limit en route and dashing through the business door looking disorganised and ditsy.
- Do your journey homework in advance. If you’re not sure where you’re going, look at a map to get your bearings first and don’t just rely on your SatNav on the day. My Garmin played up in the summer heat recently. The screen froze whilst I was negotiating the motorway equivalent of Spaghetti Junction in an unfamiliar area. One wrong turn off and I could so easily have been 30 minutes adrift.
- Check your tyres, fuel, engine oil and windscreen washer levels. Strictly speaking these should be regular car checks but I recommend you double check them before setting out on any important business meeting. I recall a stressful motorway journey travelling on grimy autumnal roads the day after my car’s annual service. I expected the windscreen wash to have been topped up but this wasn’t the case. My wipers smeared the windscreen in front of my eyes, I was driving in the outside lane at the time and I could very easily have been in a serious road accident for not checking this in advance. If you don’t know how to do your own car maintenance, ask someone to show you how – so you can DIY the next time. Or ask a garage you trust.
- Make sure you have emergency money for car parking. You could assume free hotel parking but this mightn’t be the case. So it’s a good idea to have a selection of coins, a credit card and a fully charged mobile phone to cover most payment options.
- Be sure to have the phone number of the person you are meeting as well as the person who’ll collect your child from school in an emergency. If you are unavoidably delayed, pull up somewhere safe as soon as possible, switch off the car engine and call to explain, apologise, reschedule and take control.
Your car is an integral part of your business tool kit because it gives you the mobility, flexibility and space for business thinking. Like you, it needs to reflect your professional business standards and be equally as well prepared for the job in hand. When it is, you can rely on it, relax in it and concentrate on the business reason for your travel.
These might sound like small fry within the greater scheme of your business but this attention to detail will undoubtedly contribute to the overall success your hard work richly deserves and potentially single you out ahead of others.
This blog has been written by Steph Savill who runs FOXY Lady Drivers Club, the UK’s only motoring club for women including preferential car insurance, VIP car buying & garage deals, shared feedback plus anxiety support at times of stress. Steph is a member of the Worthing Mumpreneurs Group and a MNC Brand Ambassador.