Top 10 Tips for Success in Starting a Small Travel Business
So, you’ve finally decided to turn your passion for travel into a lucrative business. Excellent choice. With hundreds of thousands of job losses worldwide, there’s been a significant uptick in the number of people taking matters into their own hands and starting their own business. With the power of the internet and the ability to work almost anywhere, entrepreneurs are thriving, and the digital economy has never been stronger. Here is some handy advice to consider when planning your new livelihood.
1. Pick your niche.
In a wildly broad and popular industry like travel, the competition can be stiff, and a lot of companies already have a significant share of the market. It’s in your best interest to think about your strengths and then niche down to try to target a more specific audience and help you stand out from the crowd. It just comes down to what you are passionate about. If you have a love for diving, consider focusing on diving retreats. Or maybe you want to have an off-roading business and sell defender roof rack and accessories? The possibilities are endless.
2. Educate yourself.
Having a passion for travel is great and can take you a long way with your business. But you might want to think of upgrading some of your business skills if you need to. Running a business is going to require some marketing skills, accounting ability, etc. Consider looking at a local community college and taking a night course. Or enroll online and chip away learning a new skill in your spare time. The investment will be small but will pay off big in the end.
3. Create a business plan.
Many new entrepreneurs skip this step, but they shouldn’t. A business plan acts as your guiding light and roadmap. It helps you stay on track and holds you accountable for the goals that you’ve made. And if you need funding, you’re going to have to have a sound business plan in place when approaching investors. A business plan doesn’t have to be a colossal undertaking. There are many templates you can find online to help you get started.
4. Secure your funding.
Unless you have significant savings, chances are you’re going to need a little help in getting your business off the ground. If you’re starting an online business, start-up costs will be significantly lower than that of a brick-and-mortar operation. Perhaps you have parents or relatives that will be eager to invest in you. If not, you can look into bank loans, angel investors, or venture capitalists.
5. Develop your brand.
To separate yourself from the competition, you’re going to want to have a strong brand that customers can identify with. Think about your core values and how you want to be perceived by the public. Once you’ve done some brand-building exercises and developed your style, make sure you stay consistent with it. People want to know what to expect from you every single time. This comes down to everything from tone, to colors, to customer service.
6. Build your website.
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s essential to have a website. The first thing potential prospects are going to do is check out your website to see what you’re all about. Not only that, but your website will also be a way to attract clients through organic traffic. Make sure your website is professional. If you don’t have that skill set, there are many freelancing sites where you can get a website built for a reasonable price. Try sites like Fiverr and Upwork.
7. Apply for your business license.
You want your business to be legit, so make sure to apply for a business license. Look into local agencies in your state to find out what kind of license you need. There could be different rules for travel-related or home-based businesses. Make sure to do your homework.
8. Purchase liability insurance
You want to cover all your bases and protect your livelihood in the unexpected turn of events that something happens to a client and they end up suing you. Protect yourself and your assets by having the right insurance plan in place. Contact a local agency to see what the best options are for your type of business.
9. Create a marketing plan.
You want people to find you, so you need to promote yourself. You can bootstrap this or spend as much money as you want. Having a consistent blog is a great way to attract traffic and leads to your website. You can also think about paid ads in magazines or online.
Get out there and mingle. Join any travel association you can to build trust and authority in the industry and among your clients. Book a booth at as many trade and travel shows as possible to showcase your company. Networking is the number one thing you can do to promote your brand, so get out there and hustle.
There’s nothing more exciting than when you decide to take that giant leap and change your life. Opportunity is everywhere in the business world, and it’s up to you to go out there and grab your piece of the pie. With solid research, a sound business plan, and an unwavering desire to succeed, there’s not much that can stop you from achieving your dream.