What you get out of a business trip usually depends on what you go looking for. If you don't want to missthe big hits, you have to be willing not to be distracted by things that aren't on your agenda.
For Jimmy Calano, cofounder and CEO of CareerTrack, an $80-million, 450-employee seminar company, that means putting a dollar value on his search. "IfI'm going to a seminar or a conference, in my mind I'm looking for a $10,000 idea per day, whether it's in cost savings or revenue generation," he says.He applies the same kind of criteria when making a decision about whether to travel from his corporate office, in Boulder, Colo., to see a potential client. "IfI'm making a sales presentation, the piece of business has to produce $100,000 or more. I know the value of my time--every year I try to calculate that valuebecause it helps me evaluate how I spend it."
To make the most of trips away from the office, Calano also tries to leverage them. He keeps lists by city of people he knows, so that he can quickly check ifthere's someone he wants to fit in while he's visiting the area.