Extreme blurbage this morning...
I use Plaxo to manage my contacts. It works well with Outlook or at least sometimes.
To start, I had a phone meeting with a new contact last week.
As always, I ended the call by emailing my contact information to them.
The contact then responded with a Plaxo invite which included a form for me to fill out. Why?
I already belong to Plaxo. Why can't a search discover this? My data is current and Plaxo should have known this by my email address.
I don't blame the sender, but the messenger. What up with that?
I will be attending the CTIA Wireless 2007 show in a few weeks. Read about it here.
CTIA will feature a whole segment on wireless social networking which has me jazzed.
I will try and do some mobile blogging while on the floor.
And since we are travelling, my friend, Mr. Frugal, offers up these tips for inexpensive business travel...
Frugal Business Travel -
Most companies pay for the employees to travel. However, most provide for expenses afterwards, not before. Thus, the employee bears the burden of the hotel, flight, meals, etc. until the company pays them back.
Right? Sometimes. Here is my way to get around it.
Flight and hotel -
Look, in most companies, the CEO or President rarely books his own flights or hotel. His assistant does this for him. Most likely, there are probably several assistants at any company who do this same thing for the other officers of the company.
Find out who handles travel arrangements in your department. Make friends with that person. Go to them when you have to arrange a trip. Ask them to find you the best deal on a room or flight. See if they will book it and save the company (not you), some money.
If the assistant books the trip, he/she will most likely use the company credit card to guarantee the reservation. This means that the room will be on the company card. You only need show up and place your card or cash for incidentals.
It is even better with the airfare because the flight is charged before you arrive. No out of pocket for you!
This may not work everywhere, but it is worth trying.
Make sure you get a receipt for your stay and present it for your expense report.
Trade Shows -
So you have a trade show to go to? Is it in a big convention town like Vegas or Orlando? All the better.
How does one get from the airport to the trade show gratis or on the cheap?
Look, most trade shows have a shuttle service to and from the show from the airport. Check the trade show web site and make your reservations to be picked up at the airport.
The cost to you is a two or three dollar tip for the driver. (Tipping is the difference between ethical frugal travellers and cheapskates).
Also, the trade shows usually have a similar service which runs from the show to area hotels. Check that out and save on the taxi rides!
If there is not a shuttle service listed on the trade show website, contact the trade show and ask.
If the trade show does not have a shuttle service, they may offer to provide a car and driver if you sound like a big wig.
It is worth a try.
However, and if you arrive and still do not have a ride, find one or two other travellers who look like they are going to the same show you are. (The best place to look is in front of the airport by the taxi stand). Offer to split the cab fare.
You can stop there and pay your fair share of the fare OR
Engage your co-taxi riders in clever banter and offer contacts and introductions. When you arrive, they may spring for the whole ride! In this case you are trading networking for a ride. No harm done there.
Note - Be fair, however, and offer to meet up later for drinks or coffee - with you paying!
So you need a pass to get in the show?
First, check the exhibitor list and see if there are any companies you know (i.e. you know someone who works there). Contact them and ask for a guest pass.
No luck there?
Contact a company who sells things your company might want to buy. Call them and offer to meet them at the show for a demo. Tell them you do not have a pass. They might offer you one. (Ethics alert! - Really look at the product and consider whether or not your company would really buy what they are selling. Take their literature and pass it over to the party responsible for purchasing with a fair review of the product. Frugal does not mean being dishonest!).
If you have a business partner who is attending the show, all the better. Ask if they would share the badge with you on the days they won't be at the show. It happens all the time and it is worth a shot.
Also ask business partner companies if they have any unused badges or passes. Many do.
Always a tough one, but doable.
First check for any cocktail receptions or parties you can wrangle an invite too. If so, there will be free munchies available; sometimes something more substantial, you never know. Don't feel bad if you do this. This service comes from the marketing budget and you will get the squeeze for being there!
Sometimes a trade show will offer an opening day cocktail and appetizer party. Attend and help yourself. Watch what you eat because sometimes the food is junk. Also, be aware of how much, if any alcoholic bevarages you partake in. (I avoid alcohol mixing with business).
Keep on the lookout for free coffee, snacks and other enticements handed out by vendors at a show. You can really fill up on these things!
Avoid hotel dining rooms (over priced) and above all room service! Fast food at the show is also a punch in the wallet (as well as being unhealthy).
Ask Information at the show or the front desk at your hotel about inexpensive restaurants within walking distance. I always manage to find a good ethnic restaurant nearby - good food and a good tourist story!
Never, ever, ever try to get a free meal out of a nice sales person or contact. That is unethical and the lowest form of "cheapskatedness" in the world.
With money no longer on your mind 24/7, you can concentrate on doing business, making new contacts and checking out new products and services. That is what a business trip is all about!
Great advice from Mr Frugal worth considering. I would also recommend that whatever your plan, drink lots of water when travelling.
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