We all define success differently, as we all have our own personal goals, values, and desires. But no matter what success looks like to you, there are some key steps that are guaranteed to help you grow your business and cultivate your own personal success story.
Over the next couple of months, I will be sharing what I consider the main components of a successful, dynamic business. This month, I’ll begin with the first three: having a vision, a plan, and a focus on personal development.
I always like to remind advisors that while you sell travel, you are entrepreneurs first and foremost. As such, you’ll need to have a vision of what you want your business to look like in the future.
More often than not, it starts with a personal passion that you can develop into a specialization or niche. In this industry, it’s generally better to be a specialist than a generalist. While it may seem counterintuitive, narrowing your focus can help you broaden your business by allowing you to create a network of clients looking for the same things you do when planning a trip (adventure, relaxation, romance, etc.). In many cases, you may be connected to others who share your interests, making them ideal Pied Pipers or future clients.
So, ask yourself: Is my current business centred around something that excites me? If not, take the time to find a specialty idea that can be the foundation of a successful enterprise.
This is the roadmap that will get your business where you want it to be. You’re probably familiar with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely), but it can also be good to take SMART risks. Remember that it’s OK to make mistakes as long as you learn from them rather than repeating them. The road to success is paved with failure, as they say.
Build a tactical marketing plan that will position you to achieve your goals. You have to invest money to make money, so make sure to allocate some funds for marketing.
It’s particularly wise to prioritize your goals so that you aren’t spreading yourself too thin. There are a variety of techniques that can help you here, like breaking large goals into smaller milestones, committing your goals to writing, and prioritizing those higher-risk/higher-reward goals that make you slightly uncomfortable. Deciding which goals should be your highest priority will depend on who you are and where you’re at in your life. The important thing is simply to know what your priorities are.
Whichever way you choose to go about it, the important thing is to keep focused and be patient. Entrepreneurs chase success and stay laser-focused on achieving goals.
A Focus on Personal Development
As a travel professional, it’s always important that you invest in You.
Take targeted training, focused on hard skills and soft skills. Pin down not only what you want to sell and what you need to know to sell it. I always say, know more about less rather than less about more.
Avoid becoming an education junkie chasing shiny objects. Again, you don’t have to know everything about everything to be a skilled Travel Advisor, you just need to know a lot about your specific niche.
With that in mind, devise a personal development action plan or checklist you can follow. Most importantly, never assume you know everything there is to know about your field. Successful advisors never lose their curiosity. They are always excited to learn and grow.
All this is only scratching the surface! Next month, I’ll discuss some other key steps, like looking after your customers and practicing effective selling skills. In the meantime, though, I’ll ask you to reflect on the first three. Do I have a vision for my business, a plan for putting it into practice, and a focus on personal development that will allow me to do so? Even some of the best, most seasoned Travel Advisors can usually stand to sharpen their skills in these areas. And if you’re new to the industry, it will certainly put you ahead of the competition!