Are you someone who loves to travel? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? If so, you may find that starting a travel business from home is a perfect career choice.
Building a business from scratch isn’t an easy choice. However, watching your dream come true with the hard work you put into it can be gratifying. Here are eight steps to starting your travel company.
1. Choose Your Business Name and Structure
One of the most fun aspects of starting a business is deciding on your company name. It is an excellent idea to do some research so that you don’t pick a name already used by someone else.
Have some fun brainstorming. Ask people what they think of your choices. Do any of them ring accurately as a good name for a travel company? Your title should stand out from the competition while making it easy for customers to know you have a travel business.
It would help if you also chose which business structure you will use. Most of the time, an LLC or sole proprietorship works well for new business owners. With the proper business structure, you can protect your personal assets and make tax time easier on yourself.
2. Invest In Your Tools
You are ahead of the game if you already have a home office. If not, you should find a dedicated spot in your house where you can have a desk, computer, printer and other tools.
You will need to research software choices, too. Project management, calendar, sales operations and time tracking tools can help you grow your business while keeping you organized.
3. Find Your Niche
When starting your travel business, it may seem like a good idea to specialize in anything and everything. You may find better success developing a niche, though. You can become an expert in a particular type or location, and your customers can recommend you for your knowledge. Think of your strengths and interests as you narrow your product focus.
4. Write Your Business Plan
A business plan is the road map for your company. It outlines the structure, financing and operations of your business. A business plan doesn’t have to be long and complicated, although you can make it as detailed as you like. It can be a page or two that goes over aspects such as:
- Executive summary
- Business structure
- Marketing strategies
- Services and products
- Financial plans
- Funding sources
5. Set Up Bank Accounts
One of the most critical steps you can take as you begin your company is to separate your personal and business assets. Your business structure can protect your personal property if you face financial issues. Tax time can also be much easier if you separate your business accounts.
6. Find Training
Whether you attend college classes in person or take advantage of online training, you can learn more about your chosen industry. You may choose to pursue a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in tourism, or you may obtain certification from a travel institute. These classes will teach essential business skills such as customer service, accounting, marketing and business management.
Your ongoing education should include keeping up on world events and weather patterns. Your customers need current and relevant information on their chosen destinations.
7. Study Your Competition
Are there other local travel agencies near you? It’s a good idea to size up the competition. Find out what other companies are doing and what is working for them. If you find an untapped market with growth potential, you can think about focusing your efforts there.
8. Choose To Be an Independent Agent, Franchise or Host Agency
You have options in the travel industry. You can work independently as an agency of your own, charging clients a fee and earning commissions from airlines and hotels. You can work as an hourly or salaried employee of a host agency or purchase a franchise. Each business method has its benefits.
Your travel business can be an exciting and rewarding career step. Plan carefully so that you can reap the benefits quickly.