Can you believe it’s October! Back to routines, falling leaves and Christmas ads…yikes! It seems like January was just yesterday and we were planning for a big year ahead. It’s also been roughly five years since the global economic collapse, and many travel advisors are finally recovering and thriving in their travel businesses. I have met, personally spoken to, and had the privilege of coaching many travel entrepreneurs and successful businesses that did not participate in the so-called global recession over the last little while, and actually enjoyed many profitable years! Whether you struggled in your business, or achieved your objectives and were successful, there is no doubt that the economy has picked up, and is showing signs of prosperity for many of you. However, even with signs of economic recovery you need to remember to ‘Keep Your Foot on the Gas’ and continue to plan for ongoing success and growth!
Now that the flurry of 2008-2013 is behind you and business is relatively steady, it’s your choice to sit back and coast (assuming your business has recovered and thriving with the economy) or continue forward with the work ethic you have developed and continue to attack your business and marketing plans throughout Q4 and into 2015. As you know, your business plan and a separate marketing plan are key tools to success in good times and bad. It is safe to say that the most successful travel advisors have a plan and have developed a system to achieve their objectives.
So what is your system to success? Hard work, aggressive determination, persistence and patience are all entry-level travel entrepreneurial traits (plus many others) to compete and win in business today. Seriously… what is your system? Do you have one? Or do you run your business by the seat of the pants? If you need to keep your foot on the gas to ensure you hit and maybe even exceed those sales goals, then what are the keys to turning you and your business on and driving your business?
Here are some ideas (keys) to start driving your business, and being able to keep your foot on the gas:
- Write down your goals each day! For years, I have been writing my goals down on an annual basis, and reviewing them often like most people do who actually take the time to write them down. I learned a new technique five years ago that has been a game changer for me – both personally and professionally. What I learned was the power of writing and rewriting your goals every single day. Brian Tracy taught me this technique and I love it! Get a goal notepad or even recipe cards (something to carry with you as much as you can). Each day write down 10-15 of your most important goals. Without referring to the previous day, re-write out your 10-15 goals every day, day in day out! As you do this, amazing things will start to happen! The only rule that Brian Tracy mentions is to apply the 3 P Formula: Your goals must be written and described in the positive, present and personal tenses. A perfect example is “I will earn 10 new customers every month.” The daily physical writing habit triggers your subconscious mind that goes to work on bringing that goal into your reality.
- Adopt a marketing mindset! A simple formula I use looks like this: Marketing = Sales = Profits. Marketing is an investment in your future business. No matter how successful you are, how experienced, and how many clients you currently have, you always have to be marketing. Slow sales are marketing problems. Losing market share is a marketing problem. If you really want to take advantage of the upturn in the economy, then adopt a marketing mindset. Using a tip from my first tip above is to write out your marketing plan, and or goals, and then execute all of the time! You don’t necessarily have to increase your marketing budget 50%, to get a 50% increase in sales either.
Find a niche… (Health and Wellness, Medical Tourism, Wine Therapy in Italy)
- Specialize… (Destination, Demographic, Product, and or a combination of two to three!)
- Get creative and diversify your marketing strategies by networking in a different segment of the market.
- Maybe you can combine some marketing drivers together (online and offline drivers need to always work in tandem. I believe your marketing is so much more effective when you combine them together!)
- How about a cross-promotion? Cross promotions are a way to market using another business model that compliments yours. It should be a win-win business deal. First of all, they help you stand out in a crowded market place. Secondly, all kinds and sizes of businesses are joining forces to reach their mutual market of “customers” more efficiently. Their cross-promotions include “bundled” offerings, co-branding, co-op marketing, and shared space. Lastly, cross-promotions expand your business by using another businesses customer base.
- R3. Recharge – Relax – Reward yourself, your family, your team, your business! We all work so hard for everyone else, and rarely take enough time for ourselves! 2014 was a very fast year, and with your momentum into the months ahead, you need to plan some down time into your to recharge – relax – and reward your hard work. I find that your best ideas come when you least expect them! You’re most creative thoughts, ideas, and visions don’t appear when you are running 100 miles a minute from meeting to meeting, soccer field to music studio with your children. Creativity comes when you are having fun and relaxing in the moment. Take the time to have some fun – it’s good for business and it’s good for you! Make sure you have that smart phone ready to digitally record your thoughts!
So… keep your momentum working for you, moving forward and in a direction that promotes personal and professional growth. If you do, then 2015 should be another banner year. The danger in sitting back and taking your foot off the gas (or even worse a back seat!) shows up in everything you do. Don’t give your competition any more ammunition than they already have! Onward!
Cory is a passionate travel entrepreneur and highly specialized business coach to independent agents, HOST agencies, Travel Associations, respected travel suppliers, and the TRO community. Learn more here.