Success in Business – How I Set Up My Travel Company
This article comes from Lee John, a successful travel company founder who wants to share his experience of setting up www.traveleze.co.uk.
There are many ways to succeed in business, no matter where you start from and no matter how many obstacles are thrown in your way. My experiences show the truth of the old adage – if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. With a bit of savvy and ingenuity, anyone can establish a successful business in an area that enthuses them, like my business Traveleze, that expands and improves year on year – moving from strength to strength within a busy online marketplace. That is what I have done and I want to share my story with you in hopes that it will encourage you, too, to find your own alternative route to success.
At school, my skill set was not highly valued. I, like many young people, found that I was not particularly well cut out for academic success. Like many people, I found myself alienated by a system that values a small range of abilities and areas of knowledge and underplays others that are highly valuable when you actually get into the ‘real world’. I left school with just one C grade, having performed very poorly in other subjects.
I may not have had much to fall back on but what I did have was a determination and a drive to succeed on my own terms. Things did not always seem to be going my way. I studied business and made it to degree level – but that route was not for me. The stresses and strains of working to other people’s deadlines and jumping through their hoops meant that I did not complete a business degree. Business however, I realised was for me. I enjoyed and understood the demands of running a company and I felt sure that I would have my own successful business one day.
I did not give up. With ideas beginning to germinate within my mind, I began a new course of studies – this time I completed an A level in Travel and Tourism. This also helped to focus my mind on an industry in which I already had a great amount of interest. Bolstered by my small success, it was time to begin to make my own way in the world.
For a time, I tried to make money by selling items in eBay, but the scheme was not a success and, like many start-up businesses, I failed to turn a profit. I made mistakes, miscalculated the market and was demoralised by the let-down. But I knew that I could succeed if I worked hard and used the skills that I was beginning to hone. I was down, but I was not out. I was determined not to let the disappointment in this first venture dissuade me from trying again.
Travel expanded my horizons – there was a whole world out there just waiting for me to find my place in it. I set out to explore the world a little – on a very limited budget. I felt that travel should be a right and not a privilege and became very interested in affordable travel. Meeting fellow travellers opened my eyes to the needs and desires of holidaymakers. I love to explore the world and was excited by the world of opportunities that opened up before me. Travel became one of the things I love most in the world – alongside business. I got to know not only foreign countries but also the travel industry itself in great depth. The travel niche is well-populated but I began to feel that this was the direction I should be taking.
I felt confident that I would make a success of myself, even if my route was not yet obvious. It was then that the knowledge gleaned from my studies in Travel and Tourism and my experiences in the real world came together and I formed the idea for my travel company.
No man is an island and it is only with the co-operation of others that anyone can truly succeed. I knew that I would need capital to make my idea a reality and I had little by way of finances myself. In my case, I am lucky enough to have parents who believed in me enough to invest £100,000 in me and my new start up. First I had to show them my scheme and business plan and pitch my ideas to them persuasively. They saw my determination and that I had found something that I truly believed in and at which I knew I could excel. Fortunately, they also saw that I has lighted upon a business scheme that could work well. I know that not everyone will be so fortunate as to find so willing and generous an investor, but if you show passion, determination and most of all have a well-thought-out plan which shows practicality and an understanding of the market, then you too will find people who believe in you enough to put their hard earned money into the venture. The success of many new businesses in getting investments large and small through sites such as Kickstarter shows that if an idea is good enough, financial help will not be withheld. Money is no impediment – unless you let it be.
My company’s success has and will continue to be all about forging links with people. Act local but think global. The Internet is enabling global sharing, communication and co-operation in a way that was unthinkable when my parents were starting out in their working lives. Most of the business for the travel business comes from social media – through Facebook and Twitter. Google AdWords works well and Google Display Ads has driven or brand forward as a business. But without social media and the co-operation of a world-wide community, we would not be able to do as well as we are. Social media can be the engine that drives a business forward.
I realised that SEO was the key to expanding the brand and the business. Along with social networking this is one of the key strategies I implement to fuel the company’s success. My strategy is to work on SEO that not only bolsters web rankings and drives people to the website but also makes them customers. There is no point having a high level of traffic to the site if the levels of sales do not match. In order to make sure that every visitor to the site is a potential customer of Traveleze, it is essential to deliver high quality web content. To this end I ensure that the SEO content I buy is from writers who write well and who write for real people rather than for web-bots.
I make sure that I always have one eye on expansion. An online company is one that should and indeed must continue to grow and develop if is to keep up in this crowded and fast-evolving marketplace. Every year, the company continues to grow and continues to provide not only a high quality of service to clients but also high quality content whose SEO purposes come after their usefulness and interest to visitors.
End to end, customers dealings with my company should be a delight. That is why I spend around £30,000 a month on high quality, well-written, helpful and informative articles which not only draw people to my site but also enhance user experience. Quality is key when it comes to successful SEO for an online business, just as it is key for the running of the whole business.
It is sound business sense to work on co-operation and quality – co-operation in the sense of sharing and expansion through social media and quality in the sense that everything you show as the outward face of your company is of high quality and most of all, of use and interest to those who look at your site.
Business sense also dictates that we keep an eye firmly on developments in our field and on the web so we are never left behind. I must know my customer base extremely well if I am to continue to provide a service that they like and value.
I am pleased by what we have achieved so far and www.traveleze.co.uk continues to go from strength to strength. Every month we expand our web presence and increase our customer base. From inauspicious beginnings, I have built a business from the ground up which provides a useful service for people doing what I love to do – travel. I am excited and now see a future in which the business continues to grow and I am sure that others will learn from my experiences that the path to success rarely does run smooth. You are likely to encounter a few bumps in the road but with an eye on developments in your niche, co-operation and quality, you too can succeed in business and forge your own path to success.