July Door Opener

Are you a Travel Agent or a Tour Guide?
By Jean MacDonald, DTM

It's that time of year and the thought of getting away is on our minds.  For some it could be day trips or packing everyone up and going to the beach or the mountains.  For others it could be an adventure across the country or around the world.  These longer trips take a lot of planning.
Did you use a travel agent to help you plan this trip? Everyone walks into a travel agency with a clear idea of where they’d like to go on holiday, so one of your main roles as a travel agent is to give well-informed, appropriate advice to clients about where and when to travel based on their needs. So if they hate hot weather, don't send them to Australia in the summer...

Other duties will include:

  • Arranging flights, insurance and accommodation
  • Using a booking system to secure holidays
  • Collecting and processing payments
  • Advising clients on travel arrangements, e.g. visas and passports
  • Sending out tickets to clients
  • Keeping clients up to date with any changes
  • Dealing with complaints or refunds (not one of the perks, but someone's got to do it)

Tour Guides are responsible for helping people to visit unfamiliar areas. They usually make special trips with groups of tourists in order to show them important places of cities. Their work is very useful for visitors who are for the first time in some areas, because these professionals are very knowledgeable and provide valuable information to people. They may work in travel agencies or museums.

  • Being flexible and proactive.
  • Having good presentation skills.
  • Being enthusiastic and friendly.
  • Having good verbal communication skills.
  • Being able to interact with people from different backgrounds.
  • Having multiple language skills.
  • Being able to work with a team.
  • Having time management skills.
  • Being able to retain historical facts.
  • Having excellent knowledge about points of interest of specific cities.

So let me ask you are you at travel agent or a tour guide?  Do you sell a product and send them on their way or are you the tour guide, helping people with clear communication, good presentation skills and excellent knowledge?  Do people buy once and never return?  Or are you doing the follow up, making them feel important to come back again and again.
FOOD for THOUGHT!  Have a great trip!

Take this July 4th Quiz

Which three presidents died on the Fourth of July?
John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams, the second president, and Jefferson, the third president, both died on the same day in 1826.

What other presidents were near misses?
On July 4, 1850, President Zachary Taylor attended ceremonies for the Washington Memorial and returned to the White House for a bowl of cherries and milk. He became sick to his stomach that night and died five days later. On July 2, 1881, President James Garfield was shot. He died several months later.

Which president was born on the 4th of July?
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president, in 1872.

How many people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th?

When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
July 8, 1776. Actually, the Liberty Bell rang out from Independence Hall to summon the crowd.

On what date did most of the signers actually sign the doc?
August 2, 1776

Who was the oldest signatory?
Ben Franklin. He was 70.

Who was the youngest?
Edward Rutledge. 26 years old. He owned 50 slaves. Later became governor of South Carolina.

Which state had the most delegates sign?
Pennsylvania. There were nine.

Do what you do best and delegate the rest!
By Pam Colovos

Salesman, bookkeeper, order processor, inventory control, administrative assistant, marketing manager, human resource manager and payroll clerk, the list is endless.
Starting a small business requires the ability to juggle many roles. When you make the decision to start a small business it’s necessary to identify and manage those roles as you develop your business plan and implement the processes and operational functions necessary to run your business. All of this in addition to why you started your business – doing what you love to do.

However, the most challenging aspect of small business growth is determining how best to delegate all that needs to be done so that you have the time to promote and sell your products and services.

Ask yourself…. What deserves my time, and when? Who else can handle this?
As a business owner, the most significant factors in growing your business are sales and marketing. While most who start their own business don’t think of themselves as salespeople, that is clearly one of your most important responsibilities. You know your products or services, how they can be delivered and in what time frame. If you are not selling or promoting your products or services, how will your business grow? If sales is not something you’re comfortable with, then hiring an experienced salesperson may be part of the solution.

Marketing and promoting your business can be equally challenging. When you prepared your business plan you would have also included a marketing plan. How you manage your marketing efforts definitely drives your business growth. Once again, if this is not your forte, hiring a professional will benefit your business tremendously.

Operational issues are another area that require significant time and effort. Whether it be business communications to your clients, bookkeeping and tracking inventory or email maintenance, these responsibilities all take time away from your sales and marketing efforts.
Fortunately many of these operational tasks can be handled on an as-needed basis so that full-time staff is not necessary until the business has reached that level. Since most small businesses don’t require a full-time bookkeeper or office manager, BusinessEase offers Operational and Administrative support for small businesses on an hourly basis. In short, an Office Manager on call, who can be scheduled once or twice a month to handle customer billing and reconcile bank statements. Our staff can create electronic templates for business communications and customer follow-up as well as maintain customer databases using Excel or Outlook. Additionally many of these functions can be handled remotely by logging in to your office computers thereby elimination the need for additional space and equipment.

With the current technology, there are many resources and solutions for small business that allow delegation that is not only more efficient but cost effective as well. Consider some of these options rather than wearing all of those hats at once. Your business will definitely benefit.

Pam Colovos
BusinessEase, Inc.