HERE WE SHARE SOME OF OUR BEST INSIDER TIPS FOR PLANNING SLICKER BUSINESS PURSUITS IN NORTH AMERICA.

From planning smart business travel, networking 101 to finding the best co-working spaces. We’re all about giving you the advanced-play before you hit the ground running.

GETTING STARTED

MUST-HAVE APPS
Get these apps and register your credit card (i.e for Uber) before you leave NZ.

  • UBER in almost every city
  • LYFT handy back-up to Uber
  • WAZE to navigate traffic
  • UBER EATS brings takeaway to your doorstep!
  • EVENTBRITE awesome event forum
  • MEETUPS people/groups with shared interests
  • YELP for dining spots and more

AIR TRAVEL

  • No NAM airline is much better than another (Virgin or Alaskan at a push!), so airports and flight schedules typically dictate who you choose. With United you can collect Star Alliance points.
  • ALWAYS check prices for Business. Often you can snag seats for not much more than economy.
  • Unless you have membership privileges budget approx. USD$25 per checked bag – per flight.
  • Traffic and security can cause havoc at airports. Always take more time than you need to get to the airport.
  • Always eat well before you fly. Don’t get caught hungry on a long LAX-NYC with terrible (or non-existent) airline food!
  • US airline lounges are basic – don’t pay for access. Take it from us and scope out the best restaurant or bar with free wifi.
  • Budget to pay for wifi on flights. If you’re doing lots of flights on the same airline check out their monthly wifi passes.

RAIL TRAVEL
Winter comes to the Northeast with a vengeance affecting flights with cancellations and delays. Rail is an AMAZING alternative to help delay-proof your winter travel.

  • AMTRAK connects D.C, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston with onboard wifi.
  • VIA RAIL connects Canadian cities on the Eastern Seaboard – Toronto, Quebec and Montreal.

ACCOMMODATION

  • AIRBNB is everywhere but beware of some with restrictions to minimum stays.
  • For rentals or sub-lets for longer stays reach out to local expat groups in each city such as KIWIS IN LABRITS IN LA and AUSSIES IN LA.

NZTE’S TRAVEL MAFIA

Meet NZTE’s travel gurus. These six  U.S. based Virtuoso Travel Advisers can help take the stress off your shoulders by planning your seamless travel around North America. They’ll also hook you up with amenities such as hotel upgrades and credits – the type of insider access you can’t find online.

NZTE can vouch for these rock-stars contactable below:

ENTERTAINING 101

Know your customer and have a firm idea of what you want to achieve. Marry these two together and great entertaining flows from there!
Approach every state and province as a different country, each with its own nuances and cultural cues. Be sure to ask us at NZTE about these nuances, we’re always happy to share what we know about our mutual clients.

  • Research the interests (music, food, the arts, etc) of your client and never make assumptions. Find out what makes them tick. There’s often a goldmine of info online such as Facebook posts and twitter feeds. If they are into American baseball, research their local team.
  • If in doubt ask the client (or their PA) if they have preferred timings for meetings and events. Chances are they’ll be thrilled to recommend their favorite spot and preferred meeting times – e.g. working around family commitments and traffic.
  • If you’ve researched and understand your client’s lifestyle and scheduling preferences you could think outside the box. Taking a client running, hiking or for golf can help forge amazing relationships. If you can’t achieve your objective by going on a jog (if you’re likely to be out of breath!) keep it more traditional.
  • Time is money. Don’t be afraid to get down to business and be direct after you’re done with pleasantries. Americans especially welcome the direct approach. Breakfast meetings are common (as early as 7am) as are lunch meetings where it’s a safe assumption you’ll need to fit both pleasantries and business chat into a max 60-min window.
  • Unless its coffee ALWAYS make reservations and NEVER assume you’ll find an open table if you haven’t made a booking. If they don’t take reservations don’t go. Standing in crowded line or bar (60-mins can be normal at popular spots) is never fun.
  • Picking wine at dinner can be stressful. If you’re in uncharted territory just ask the servers – and do research on the menu ahead of time. If you host regularly in the same city we love this guide.
  • Always pitch to tip 20% – but check first if gratuity is already included. Always carry cash for tipping with valet parking and bellmen. If the service really sucks don’t tip – but be prepared to explain yourself and/or run fast. Don’t tip your UBER driver as everything is rolled into the fare.
  • If you find yourself ordering drinks in a crowded bar don’t fade into long lines waiting to get served. Look after your bartender and they will look after you. $1-$2 a drink is basic and if you’re looking for preferential when you go up next time – tip more.
  • Every state and province have its own rules. In California bars close at 2am so everyone goes out/eats early – the same goes for cities where driving is commonplace. In New York they typically eat later. North America (generally) doesn’t have the drinking culture of countries like NZ or the UK – i.e don’t order wine at lunch.
  • Take your ID everywhere lest you be denied entry. No, they are really not flattering you!

NETWORKING 101

Nothing conjures up more sweaty palms and anxiety that the prospect of networking. Relax! Networking doesn’t have to be so problematic (or endless evenings filled with unproductive schmoozing).

  • Start by understanding why you need to make new connections or meet a specific person. What’s the outcome you’re setting out to achieve?
  • Do your research before you start networking. If you’re seeking to meet a key investor, read their blogs, listen to their podcasts and go hear them at a meetup before you request an initial introduction.
  • Don’t just take someone else’s word that an event is a “must attend”. If you’re new to a city or entrepreneur ecosystem devote time to attending a variety of events. You’ll see first-hand how the networking works, plus you’ll have a better idea of where you comfortably fit in.
  • Polish your online profile (as yes, those you’re seeking to meet will be Googling
    you as well).
  • Remember that networking is a journey in building relationships, so make it a priority to focus on getting to know people, not simply securing a sale. Follow-up when someone makes a valuable introduction and send a thank you when you get a terrific lead or recommendation.

CO-WORKING 101

CO-WORKING SPACES

  • Co working spaces provide office infrastructure with tiered memberships ranging from hot-desks to private offices. Each space has its own personality – no one is a better fit than another, so shop around and view multiple facilities.
  • Try to align with an office that has a specialty practice area or residents in your sector. You never know who you’ll meet at the water-cooler!
    The Co-Working sections within this website list NZTE’s tips on spaces we love in each city.
  • Take a look at the global CO-WORKING VISA PROGRAM. Members of the network’s 5 OFFICES IN NZ can access over 150 offices in North America for free.

INCUBATORS

  • Incubators are typically by invitation only. They’ll take equity in your company in return for hosting an educational curriculum followed often by a pitch night for local investors. By the time you go through and come out of the end you should be a ‘new and improved’ startup. Ask NZTE for recommendations of incubators.

SF & HOUSTON

  • KIWI LANDING PAD is in the heart of San Francisco’s tech community whilst HOUSTON LAUNCH PAD caters to Kiwi companies across all business sectors. Both are awesome spaces that may provide your first footing in the U.S. market.

EVENT & MEETING SPACES

  • For event and meeting spaces try PEER SPACE. Great for finding unique private spaces for events, product launches and meetings

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

As every seasoned business traveler knows – timing is everything. Major holidays are listed below. These should be avoided as they represent prime vacation opportunity for NAM companies. Also be sure to read up on local holidays unique to cities, states and provinces.
USA

  • Martin Luther King Day – 3rd Mon of Jan
  • Memorial Day – 4th Mon of May
  • Labour Day -1st Mon of Sep
  • US Thanksgiving – 4th Thu of Nov
  • Click HERE for more

CANADA

  • Canada Day – Jul 1st
  • Labour Day -1st Mon of Sep
  • Canadian Thanksgiving – 2nd Mon of Oct
  • Click HERE for more

MÉXICO

  • Constitution Day -1st Mon of Feb
  • Benito Juarez Day -1st Mon of Mar
  • Labour Day – May 1st
  • Independence Day – Sep 16th
  • Revolution Day -1st Mon of Nov
  • Click HERE for more

JEWISH HOLIDAYS

OTHER NEED-TO-KNOWS

  • March in the US is tricky due to Spring Break when families travel. Official Spring Break is March however it can spill over into late February through April too.
  • Easter is always tricky. Whilst many take off a long weekend and perhaps extend a few days in US/Canada, it is common for Mexicans to take 2 full weeks off for family vacation.
  •  July and August is Summer holiday season. It’s a myth everything shuts down completely so if you’re already in the country you may get your meetings.
  • Many companies in the US & Canada finish early on Fridays through Jul-Aug to give employees a long weekend.
  • Christmas and New Year is off limits wherever you go. In the US try to avoid Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday in November) to mid-Jan. Avoid your own travel on Thanksgiving too –airports are carnage!
  • Finally check the dates of big conferences. Shows like SXSW (Mar) and CES (Jan) make it tough to get VC meetings as partners are either attending or prepping portfolio companies who are attending.