As a business owner, I can guarantee that at some point (or points) you will make bad decisions. You need to realize that we are not perfect, and these imperfections only exist to make us stronger business people.
As you forge your way through establishing and growing your travel business—be it home based, online, or brick and mortar—there really are only two hard and fast rules that you must follow..
- Learn from your mistakes
- Learn from the mistakes other people have made
They are only 12 little words-none more than two syllables long. But as a business owner, it is very easy to fall into the “I’ll do it my way” attitude. You need to get beyond that and you need to remember those 12 words. Once you are comfortable with those words, there are five business decisions that likely will rear their heads at some point and you need to think very carefully about them before making any decision. The wrong one could be fatal to your business as was demonstrated this week.
- Neglecting Your Business And Marketing Plans
You may have a great idea of how to generate business. It is natural to want to begin right away and dive on into the deep end. I made this mistake once and it took a good two years to recover. Neglecting the business and marketing plans (and they should be in writing) is a huge mistake you need to steer clear of, as it is easy to understand why a structure built on a shaky foundation will not last.
- Not Having The Right Priorities
There are a million and one things to do to effectively run your business. But that does not mean that each and every one deserves all of your attention—not by a long shot. There are only 24 hours in a day so you must be selective with your tasks. Have your priorities in a line (write them down) and act on them accordingly. The alternative is to focus on some less than worthy time consuming tasks that are not worth it—and you will suffer down the road.
- Not Having an Open Mind
Many times it is easy to fall into a “if it ain’t broke” mentality when something is working well. Maybe you are advertising with a particular periodical, or sending a newsletter by email once a month. Do not be lulled into the trap of not looking at other options. Eventually it will indeed break and the reality check you will have when it does might be devastating.
- Not Delegating
You can’t do it all. You really can’t. And if you do, at one point, things will pile up tot he point where you will not be able to handle anything. Learn to delegate effectively. It does not need to be your travel work, maybe it is your housework, your copying (Fedex Kinkos is my lifeline), your brochure reorders, etc. If you stay on top of everything and delegate properly, your business will reap the benefits.
- Not Tracking Results
Look at any of your marketing efforts. Realistically, they are all hit or miss and the secret is to find the ones that work for you. Knowing that what works for someone else may (or may not) work for you. If you do not track the results (ask how they found you, insert a code, etc.) you will never know what works and what doesn’t. Running a business on trial and error never works. When tracking results, remember the word “investment”. It may be an investment of time, money or resources, but in order to see if it is paying off, you need to track it!
As we work our way through our own businesses, we must keep these five business mistakes at the forefront of our minds. You’d be surprised at how many businesses struggle or fail because the owners failed to keep them in mind. Are you about to let that happen or did you learn from their mistakes?