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Published by Joshua Oakes | Aug 22, 2018 | | 4 MIN READ

3 simple practices for an established tour or activity business to take the next big step

This is a guest post written by Joshua Oakes, founder of The Sunshine Tribe. We'll be hosting a webinar with him on the 4th of October. Join our mailing list to stay updated.

A few years ago you took the plunge, took that first terrifying but exhilarating step towards turning your dream into reality.

You started your own tour company.

Since then, you’ve tasted a little bit of success and you’ve experienced some growth in bookings year on year. You’ve received plenty of positive reviews from happy travellers, you have some basic systems in place and you have found a few decent booking agents to sell your tours. You employ a few tour guides other than yourself, and you possibly have some administration assistance.

But you're still pretty much a one or two person show. You are working round the clock and doing everything. If you’re not around, your business isn’t running.

You’re not making anywhere near the kind of money you hoped you would. You’re unsure of how you might get your business to a point where your revenue goals are met to allow you to lead the kind of life you dream of.

With the way your business is structured, your potential is maxxed out and you find it hard to - or you feel you can’t afford to - grow your team. Too much that goes on in your business relies on you. You realise its not sustainable and something has to change if you ever want to scale your business and turn your venture into something successful.

Here are three simple but massively important practices that you need to prioritise if you want to get on that fast track to success.


Notebook - project management

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash 


1. Get clear on what you want your business - and your life - to look like.

Here’s the most important question you need to ask yourself: Why are you doing this instead of something else? Is it for the freedom you dream of? The flexibility that you hope to have so you can spend more time with the family? Is it to pursue a passion - to get up everyday and do something you absolutely love and get paid to do it? Is it to be the master of your earning capacity? Did you always want to call the shots? Do you just love the business of being in business?

It is an amazingly powerful exercise to get crystal clear on why exactly it is that you’ve chosen this path.Why? Because you can then make sure that your ‘Why?’ is at the front and center of every decision you make in your business. 

When making decisions, ask yourself over and over: Is this decision in line with my ‘why?’

After that it’s time to really drill down and:

  • Assess where exactly is your business at right now
  • Build a vision for your dream business a number of years from now
  • Create a clear vision for your business (I love to use 1 year and 3 year visions)


2. Create stretch goals for your business

When creating 1 and 3 years goals for your business, think about the following in detail:

  • Revenue and sources of revenue
  • Profit
  • Staff and roles you’ve created
  • Guides you have working with you
  • Tours or products you offer
  • Markets you service
  • Outsourced solutions
  • Your ideal role in your business

Write all this down and keep it close to hand. Compare your current situation to your 1 and 3 year goals regularly. Put your ‘dream business goals’ someplace you can see it every day.

Next, if you haven’t already, you really need to start setting a business budget and creating ambitious but achievable financial targets. The importance of ‘knowing your numbers’ and revisiting them regularly is something I can’t emphasise strongly enough.

Once you've set your targets, have regular check-ins with your entire team so that everyone is involved and have a goal to run towards - even if it’s just three of you. This is the thing that’s going to get your business heading north before you know it. 

Read more: How to track your monthly sales and marketing performance [with free templates]


For a young business:

Setting financial targets can be really hard and overwhelming when you don’t know what the future holds and you haven’t got any history to reference and make projections. The best thing you can do for your business is to be realistic, but ambitious at the same time.

In a new tour business, the owner (the one doing all the work) is usually the last one to get paid. But in my experience, your business is going to be far better off long term if, from today, you pay yourself properly and pay yourself first.

Work out your personal budget (exactly what the magic number is that you need to live on) and build it in to your business budget and financial targets.

Read more: How to create a business plan for your tour or activity business  


Working tablePhoto by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash


3. Regularly revisit your goals with your team

It’s so important when you are forecasting a budget and setting sales targets to get your entire team involved. It gives everyone a sense of ownership, that they're really part of something. Get some incentives in place. Get people motivated to push that little bit harder.

Revisit your targets on a monthly basis and celebrate the wins - make this whole process fun! Review the losses closely and aim to work together and find solutions that will get you back on track.


If you enjoyed Josh’s blog post, please take a moment to download his ’15 Steps to Building a 7-Figure Tour Company' ebook. It's a look 'behind the curtain' at the step by step process he took to turn a passion into a multi 7-figure tour business.


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Joshua Oakes
Published by Joshua Oakes
In 2007, with no experience or cash my wife and I started a day tour company in Melbourne, Australia. After 2 years of 60 hour weeks, we were taking home $30,000 a year and had nearly thrown in the towel more times than we could count. Fast forward 7 years and we had grown that business to $2 million plus in revenue annually, before selling in 2017 for 7 figures. We recently launched The Sunshine Tribe to help tour and activity operators, travel professionals and small tourism businesses across the globe build amazing businesses AND create awesome lives for themselves.

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