You may have heard the business mantra, “You have to spend money to make money.” It’s easy to think that the more you invest in technology, marketing, or extravagant gifts for your travel clients, the more opportunities your business will have to succeed.
While it is true that starting and building your travel agency is an investment, smart business owners know that throwing money at a problem is rarely the best route to a solution. Setting and sticking to budgets is important, not just for your bank account, but for your business’s growth.
As one of our Core Values, stewardship calls us to “wisely utilize our resources for the benefit of our company, team members, independent agents, and community.” The general definition of stewardship is to take care of something.
We can think of caring for our business as a balance of time and money. Consider what is going to be essential to your growth in the long run. Do you need to splurge on office supplies if you are going to be working primarily with digital documents? For clients who have booked a relatively low commission trip, is it worth spending $25 per person on personalized luggage tags and water bottles?
It may be worth the referrals and visibility but remember this expense will be lost on your clients if it isn’t matched with excellent service. Have you invested time in ensuring that working with you is a memorable experience?
For technology and programs that can help your business be more efficient, have you researched free options? Have you taken the time to see what is available through suppliers and travel industry organizations, or your host agency, if you are part of one? Do you have a friend or peer who can help you master Excel to keep your business more organized? A few hours of time spent learning a new skill or program can save you a lot of money and frustration down the road.
Maybe you struggle with promoting your business. Social media is an obvious (and free) avenue, but there may be others just outside your door. Will your local coffee shop let you post a business card on its bulletin board? Are you a part of any groups or activities that you can share your travel experiences with?
It’s tempting to just pay someone else to handle aspects of our business we aren’t as familiar with or just don’t enjoy. Sometimes that is the right approach, but it’s also important to consider the trade-off. For most of us, our budgets aren’t limitless. Spending in one area means either making up for it in sales or spending less on something else.
Especially in uncertain times, we may not be 100 percent in control of our sales but we can prioritize what we spend. Finding creative ways to save money and use resources wisely are just as important to success as the income you earn.