Yesterday, I hosted a panel made up of four of GTN’s Top 10 Advisors (based on sales) who shared their insights and wisdom with the audience. It was a great opportunity for participants to learn from people who have built successful businesses in this industry and ask any questions they have. While I can’t capture everything shared during the session here, I will share some of their top tips with you below:
One thing that was mentioned over and over again as a critical contributor to success was community. Each of these entrepreneurs felt strongly that they would have never achieved the success that they have now without their community. It is important to them, not only for the practical advice and wisdom they glean from the group but for the support and cheerleading. Most travel entrepreneurs are solopreneurs working from home. It can be incredibly lonely, and you need to have people you can reach out to for advice, wisdom, or just to hear another voice from someone who “gets” what you do. It was also mentioned that not just any community will do. You need a group of people who will challenge, inspire, and even push you. And while we all need to vent from time to time, it is very important that the community be positive and inspiring, and not just a place for people to complain.
Investing IN Your Business
Investing in the business was also cited as a key contributor to their success. Many people think this is a business you can start on a shoestring, and while some people have certainly done that and achieved success, it means a longer path to profitability and more frustration along the way. here are multiple things you have to invest in depending on your stage of business. Early on you need an effective entrepreneurial training program (like Travel MBA), branding and marketing help, and other expenses related to setting up any business (licenses, computer, etc.). As the business grows those expenses often relate to client attraction which often takes the form of digital marketing (social media ads, SEO, etc.).
Hiring to Help Facilitate Growth
And for several of the panelists, it also meant hiring help to facilitate growth. Hiring always needs to happen ahead of growth. If you wait until you can “afford” to hire, you never will. Delaying that investment stalls the growth of the business and often leads to an overworked entrepreneur.
Having a Clear and Concise Business Plan
Finally, everyone agreed that early on in your business you have to be clear about what you want the business to look like. Do you want to be a one-person show? That is a different model than if you would like to have a business with assistants, agents, and others. Knowing what you want your business to be like is critical because it affects so many other decisions. Having the opportunity to learn from someone who has already traveled the journey you are embarking on – and have done it successfully – is a huge advantage for any new entrepreneur. We are fortunate at Gifted Travel Network that our top producers (and really all our advisors) are generous with their time, wisdom, and expertise. It truly makes a difference to have a community that sees one another as colleagues, not competitors.