ISJ Exclusive: Business resilience as an international entrepreneur

Business resilience as an international entrepreneur

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ISJ – April Edition Exclusive

International Security Journal hears from Suzanna Alsayed, MDEM, Founder, Evolutz Inc.

Entrepreneurs who travel internationally for work often need to expand their outreach by meeting clients, creating content and visiting teams in different countries. However, international travel can be challenging, especially regarding safety and financial security.

According to a survey by International SOS, a leading medical and security risk services company, 75% of business travellers have concerns about their safety when travelling overseas. Additionally, a study by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives found that 47% of business travellers have experienced a travel-related emergency, such as a health issue, natural disaster or political unrest.

To manage potential risks associated with international travel, entrepreneurs need to plan ahead and be prepared. This includes researching their destination’s safety and security situation, obtaining necessary travel documentation and purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellation, and lost or stolen belongings.

Apart from managing risks related to work, entrepreneurs should also be mindful of managing risks in unfamiliar leisure environments. This includes taking precautions to prevent theft, practicing safe behaviour when using public transportation and being aware of potential health risks in different climates.

As someone who travelled solo to 15 countries last year, including Turkey, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Dubai, I understand the difficulties of being away from home for extended periods. This article provides best practices for travel, tips for ensuring business resilience and continuity and strategies for managing risks in unfamiliar environments, which can help entrepreneurs travel safely and confidently while expanding their business internationally.

Travel best practices

Being well informed can help you avoid potential issues, navigate challenges and make a positive impression on your hosts. When travelling for work, it’s crucial to research your destination beforehand to ensure safety and wellbeing. Check government travel advice and consult with your company’s travel department/travel agency to gather information on potential risks, safety concerns, cultural norms, legal requirements and regulations. Here are ten best practices for travel:

  1. Conducting thorough research helps avoid potential risks and challenges such as travelling during extreme weather warnings, political unrest and encountering unacquainted legal issues
  2. Keeping photocopies of your passport and IDs separately and using strong passwords on electronic devices reduces the risk of theft and identity fraud
  3. Carrying local currency and USD cash can be helpful if your card gets lost or stolen and you encounter cash-only establishments
  4. Packing a basic first aid kit with essential medications and a small sewing kit prepares you for minor health and wardrobe issues
  5. Bringing a nail kit and tweezers can save you from the frustration of opening cuisine and package labels
  6. Staying vigilant of your surroundings and keeping valuables close at all times
  7. Purchasing travel insurance provides financial protection against unexpected emergencies
  8. Learning a few basic phrases in the local language can help you communicate and make a positive impression
  9. Keeping important contact information easily accessible can be crucial in unexpected situations
  10. Researching local customs and traditions can help you avoid offending locals and shows that you respect culture

Business resilience and business continuity

In addition to travel best practices, it’s essential to consider business resilience and continuity while travelling internationally for work. It helps minimise disruptions’ impact, maintain customer confidence and protect reputations. Here are some business resiliency and continuity tips to keep in mind:

  • Share your itinerary with trusted colleagues, your company’s travel agency and family members so they can reach you in an emergency
  • Research and know the location of your nearest embassy or consulate in case of an urgent situation. Also, be aware of local laws and regulations that may affect your business operations
  • Consider using a VPN to protect your online activities and sensitive information. You should also use secure payment methods like credit cards or online payment services
  • Keep in touch with your team and colleagues through reliable communication channels such as email, phone or messaging apps. Make sure you have a backup plan in case of unexpected disruptions
  • Use cloud-based technology for file sharing and storage to ensure access to essential documents and data; save vital information in multiple locations
  • When travelling to different time zones, it’s essential to keep track of your schedule and the schedules of your colleagues or clients – use apps or tools to help you keep track of time differences and avoid scheduling conflicts
  • Have a contingency plan in case of unexpected events, such as flight cancellations, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or illnesses. This includes having backup accommodation options, knowing how to contact your company’s emergency response team and having access to funds to cover unexpected expenses

By implementing these business resilience and continuity tips, you can ensure that your business operations continue smoothly while travelling internationally for work. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case of emergencies. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that your travel insurance covers any medical or travel-related emergencies that may occur while abroad.

Managing risk in unfamiliar leisure environments

When travelling for leisure, staying aware of your surroundings and managing risks in unfamiliar environments is fundamental. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Alcohol and drug consumption can impair judgment and make you more vulnerable to theft or other dangers, so staying in control is important
  • Carrying all your money at once can make you a target for theft, so it’s best to keep your cash and valuables secure and avoid drawing attention to them
  • Staying aware of your surroundings can help you avoid potential dangers, such as pickpocketing or scams and enable you to react quickly if needed
  • Familiarising yourself with local customs and laws can help avoid unintentional offences, such as disrespectful behaviour or inappropriate clothing and prevent legal issues
  • Using reliable transportation services, such as taxis or ride-sharing apps, can help you avoid unsafe situations and arrive at your destination safely
  • Keeping important contact information and emergency contacts on hand can help you quickly contact the necessary people in unexpected situations, such as lost passports or medical emergencies

Following these tips can help ensure your safety and manage risks while enjoying leisure activities during your travels. It’s imperative to stress the importance of being aware of cultural norms and customs in the destination country. Being respectful of local customs can go a long way in ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip. Additionally, it’s important to research any potential scams or tourist traps in the area to avoid falling victim to them.

As an entrepreneur who frequently travels for business and leisure, managing risks and ensuring safety is critical to the success of your trip. By following the travel best practices in this article, such as researching, carrying important documents separately and having a first aid kit and other essentials, you can be better prepared for unexpected situations.

Additionally, having a plan for business resilience and continuity can help ensure the continuity of your work even while away from home. By taking these steps and being mindful of potential risks, you can make the most of your travels and continue to expand your business and personal horizons.

About the Author

Suzanna Alsayed is the Founder of Evolutz Inc., an independent global branding, marketing, copywriting and website development agency. Evolutz’s mission is to help businesses and professionals within various industries, with a particular specialisation and focus vis-à-vis tech and security sectors.

This article was originally published in the April edition of ISJ. To read your free digital edition, click here.

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