If you have put the time aside and done the planning, the payoff will be clear.
Written By: Martin Mussey, CTIE, Business Development and Education Manager – Nexion Travel Group
As the holiday season draws near, things often seem to pick up steam in our social lives and slow down a little in our professional lives. This can be one of the best times to turn your attention to business planning for the upcoming year. Before we discuss this topic, let’s be clear about which role in travel we are talking about here. In your role as an agency owner, you have two identities in your business. One of them is what you do every day as a travel advisor, which is all about working IN your business. Business planning, on the other hand, is all about your role as the business owner or strategist where you are working ON your business. This role is critical to your future success.
This might sound a little strange, but business planning is an activity you need to plan for. In other words, you should never just leave it to chance and hope that you’ll get it done when you need to. It’s something you will want to put on your calendar and decide how much time you can devote to it. Do you want to do a two-hour or four-hour strategy session? That decision will be based on your time and personal needs. The point is to schedule it ahead of time and commit to doing it.
Planning for the upcoming year involves two key elements: looking in the “rearview mirror,” and then setting some clear, forward-looking goals for the new year. Examining the rear view is all about last year’s goals. Which goals did you accomplish? Which did you intend to do but didn’t? Is it important anymore? What needs to be carried over into next year?
Once you have answered those questions, use that information to plan for your next year, with the following points as a guide:
Get your calendar in order with any industry events, training, certifications, etc., that you want to achieve in the coming year. Lay it out and take other things in your personal life into account.
Come up with a number you want to achieve in terms of your income for both commissions and fees. Even if it is a simple spreadsheet, have a tracking mechanism to track your progress.
Review your sales process and workflows to determine if you can find more efficient ways to do things. Is there a technological solution that can help? Or is it a matter of restructuring your routine?
Review your business expenses and evaluate what you need to keep and what you might want to stop doing (for example, advertising you pay for but has no returns).
Write out these goals in the form of a metric you can measure, so you know where you stand at any point next year.
If you have put the time aside and done the planning, the payoff will be clear. Your likelihood of achieving your goals increases by up to 42% just because you wrote them down. With that information on hand, you can track your performance against your goals, then review your progress every 90 days. This will allow you to adjust as needed so that you can achieve even better results than you thought possible. In a competitive and dynamic industry like travel, never underestimate the value of business planning.