I am excited about the new “TRO Tips” column, because we have seen lots of great articles about software, hardware, and all sorts of 21st century stuff that’s all a bit overwhelming to me. I’m happy to have someone else explain those things to me, because technology is really not something that excites me personally.
So what tool or tip am I qualified to write about? Books!
I’m a voracious reader, and my nightstand usually includes a good mix of travel magazines, trade publications, and novels — but I also like to include business books. They don’t have to be specific to our industry (in fact, most of them aren’t), but I find that they all contain at least some small kernel of wisdom that I can apply to running my business.
As a home based agent, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture. I think that reading business books is a great way to broaden our perspective and focus on things like sales, marketing, and time management. I know that it’s helpful for me to look at what other successful businesses are doing, and to think about how to apply those strategies to the travel industry. I find that they all contain at least some small kernel of wisdom that I can apply to running my home based agency.
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The specific books that I rely on have changed over time. When I was first starting out, I read very targeted nuts-and-bolts books like Tom and Joanie Ogg’s How to Start a Home Based Travel Agency and Kelly Monaghan’s Home Based Travel Agent.
As the business took off, and I contemplated making the scary leap from my full time corporate job (with travel on the side) to a full-time travel consultant, I found myself re-reading classics like Who Moved My Cheese and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to remind myself about how to cope with (and thrive on) change.
Once the business entered a full-scale growth mode, my reading list became more marketing-focused. Two of the best books I read on that topic were Guerilla Marketing for the Home-Based Business by Jay Levinson and Seth Godin, and Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith. They’re not new, but they are filled with really relevant advice for someone selling an intangible product on a shoestring marketing budget!
So what am I reading now? I have to admit that, given how insanely busy I’ve been in the last six months or so, my business reading has slacked off a bit, but I do know what is next on my list.? Based on recommendations from a couple of friends, I’ll be reading The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber. I’m told it does a great job of explaining the life cycle of small businesses, why they succeed or fail, and what an owner/entrepreneur should be doing to ensure future success.
What about you? What books have inspired or educated you? What’s on your reading list for this year?
Ann Petronio is a travel consultant and the owner of Annie’s Escapes, Inc. in Cranston, Rhode Island. She creates custom-tailored vacations for busy couples, families and groups. www.AnniesEscapes.com