Mother knows best—hey what a great name for a television program! Mother’s Day was yesterday and my Facebook timeline filled up with remembrances of moms—some still with us, and some not. Moms are such an influence in our lives (often unbeknownst to them and us) and I wondered how much their collective wisdom guided each of us to where we are today. So I asked.
I reached out to my friends and asked them for the best piece of advice their mother had given them… and then tried applied it to our industry. I think this may surprise you—or maybe not!
- Regret nothing. It is amazing how much time we spend agonizing over past mistakes. Mistakes make you stronger. Dwelling on regrets does nothing—move onward, and upward!
- Honesty is the best policy. Yes, EVERY mother has told us that—and it’s true. How many times has something gone awry with a client’s reservation and we tried to finagle a solution? How many times did that work out?
- Put people first. This one is all about karma. If you put the needs of others first in your life, you will reap the rewards. Listen to your clients and do what is right for them—not your bottom line.
- Listening is not hearing. This is a favorite from my mom. Often when I was younger and in trouble for something, she’d say “You’re not listening to me.” And she was usually right. I heard the yelling and the admonishment, but missed the lessons. Do not hear your clients—listen to them; they will tell you a fantastic story and it will build a true relationship.
- Prepare for the unexpected. OK, this could be the mantra of our industry. While you can never prepare for specifics, you can certainly be prepared for how to handle a crisis. Have a line of credit available… have a trusted colleague at the ready to help you out if you become ill… know a good attorney and accountant.
- The only chances you miss are the ones you never take. I love this one. Take chances in your travel business. Don’t be reckless—pack your parachute, but take the chances and watch the growth. How many times in your life have you said “I wish I had thought of that?” Don’t do it again.
- Do your best. In today’s politically correct world, it sounds more of a mantra on a little league field than in business but it is true. Never do a half-assed job. You will regret it. Your client will regret it. And it will hurt you in the long run. Do it right—or just don’t do it. I specialize in single parent group travel. Occasionally I will have a client looking for a single FIT to a destination I do know know well. Can I do the job? Sure! Will it be the experience the client expects from me? Probably not. I usually pass these off to a local “competitor” because I know they also do their best.
So there you go—out of the mouths of moms. All in all, I think this is a pretty decent list and not a bad way to run a travel business—or any business for that matter. And to all the moms out there—thank you; not just on Mother’s Day, but everyday. Your gift is truly priceless.