Vacation Side Travel – struggling to grow my business | TravelResearchOnline

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Vacation Side Travel – struggling to grow my business

I hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend that you’re well rested and as excited about growing your business. I certainly am! This week, I want to start my entry with a question – the same one in fact that’s been playing over and over in in my mind lately. I hope you’ll take a moment or two to share your own thoughts and ideas in the comments section below. What goals do you have for your business? If everything played out according to plan, what does your business look like in 5 years? What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

You see, I was watching a “Sales & Marketing 101 Webinar” a few weeks ago and had an epiphany. It was so profound that I wanted to make sure I really “got it,” so I listened to the same 4-5 minute section several times. The idea was simple and made perfect sense to me.  In a nutshell, the host of the webinar said that a recent survey found that follow-up, not sales skills, will ensure that, of everyone you come into contact with:

  • 19% will purchase within six months
  • 29% will purchase within a year
  • 43% will purchase within 18 months
  • 57% will purchase within 24 months

The webinar also claimed that if you are trying to figure out where to spend the majority of your time, spend it marketing, spend it building your pipeline because, by definition, the more people you put into your funnel at the top, the more people will push through the bottom in the form of a sale; and all those clients go right back into the top of the funnel again after every sale. In other words, the act of marketing alone will result in sales and wouldn’t it be better to have so many sales calls coming in that you have to hire people to handle them?

This idea really got me thinking about the bigger picture – about the future of my business and what I envision by business to be in  5 years. Do I want to be in a tactical role, answering every phone call, booking every deal and mailing out every thank you card myself? I don’t think so! After all, I am only 1 person and can only sell so much. I want my agency to grow by leaps and bounds, I want to be able to hire a team of people, I want to be forced to rent office space and hire a call center director!

As I continued watching and listening to the webinar about how marketing is the key, several other things resonated with me. I realized that I currently spend at least 80% of my time dealing with the day-to-day activities of my regular clients and maybe 20% on everything else. I can’t lose sight of why I started this business in the first place; or the fact that goals and strategic planning are important! And what really struck home for me was that I still haven’t taken the time to write out a business plan; and the longer I wait the more difficult finding the time to do it will become.

How do I completely shift priorities so that I’m spending 80% of my time marketing and 20% on everything else? Let’s say I manage to make that change, how do I ensure my clients are still getting the proper attention? How do I effectively market while continuing to build relationships which result in clients for life?

At what point did you start working “on” your business instead of “in” it? What was the process like that enabled you to delegate the tactical but critical activities in your business?

Steven Talbott is the founder of Vacation Side Travel, a gay owned-and-operated agency located near Nashville, Tennessee specializing in gay & lesbian (LGBT) tours, cruises, vacations and travel. Through their division Gay Travel Experts, clients are offered an expert travel concierge, unbiased personal assistants who help research and plan travel. Connect with Steven!

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