Publisher’s viewpoint

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    Mark Buckshon

    I’ll be on the road (and in the air) a fair bit more than usual in the next month. There are trips to the West Coast (for an annual Google summit and to visit family in Vancouver) and to Toronto for the Buildings Show Nov. 28 to 30. Between these two travel experiences, my wife and I are heading to New York and then to Singapore, experiencing the longest flight in the world – an 18.5 to 19 hour non-stop taking us almost literally half-way around the world. (With the 12-hour time difference and the fact that New York is a bit more north of the Equator from Singapore, the shortest route is over the North Pole.)

    Besides travel endurance bragging rights and some useful (and exotic) experiences, can we learn anything about effective construction business management and marketing?

    To answer the question, consider the communications issue. Or more accurately, the non-issue. With an exception of a few hours over the polar regions, the extremely long Singapore Airlines flight provides Wi-Fi interconnect connectivity. It isn’t super cheap or fast, but email will get through. There’s no problem at Google headquarters in California, of course – we’re expected to have our laptops on and tuned in even as we conduct our business.

    The Buildings Show is a different experience. When I’m on the show exhibit floor, I’ll be without any Internet connectivity, because the Metro Toronto Convention Centre uses its monopoly to charge extremely high internet access fees. This isn’t a total problem, because all you need to do is to take the escalator one floor up and you are back in touch with the world.

    The second point relates to business management and delegation. Our business isn’t very large and I do many jobs that can be delegated. And fortunately, I have the ability to enhance/increase the delegation level so that most of the routine workload will be taken off my plate during the travels.

    The final point relates to cost. These trips aren’t free but they aren’t budget breakers. Google pays my costs to fly to California and Vancouver in economy class, and I’m staying with family in Vancouver. An $80 points ticket allows me to fly home in business class – and I splurged on a paid upgrade for the California flight; after all the trip is almost free otherwise.

    With Singapore Airlines, premium economy seats are less than $1,200 return, and we’ve found highly-rated hotels at truly reasonable rates. We’ll stay at AirB&B places in Toronto, keeping our costs down there, as well. I think the main costs for this travel will be time and location stress. However, the travel will likely induce some profitable and creative ideas.

    You can reach Mark Buckshon by email at
    buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com. He publishes a
    regular blog at www.constructionmarketingideas.com.

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