Posted by: Jonathan on
Innovation is implementing change that creates a new level of performance. To innovate is to grow, evolve, and maximize potential. If you are not innovating, you’re essentially becoming obsolete. If your business isn’t innovating, it’s dying – slowly perhaps, but dying nonetheless.
The adventure tourism industry is often said to be less innovative than other industries. Studies have shown that many small tourism businesses are run by lifestyle entrepreneurs who are driven by self-employment as a way of life, not by economic motives and that they are happy to run operations in the same way as competitors do. You can review this study in details but the gist of it is that small tourism businesses are run by ok-to-be-mediocre-and-don’t-care-to-make-money-cause-that’s-the-lifestyle-I’ve-chosen entrepreneurs. Well, it doesn’t have to be like that! If this what you want, stop reading right now and leave. Click the back button and carry on “surfing”. For those of you serious about growing your business, maximizing your potential, innovating and kicking your competition’s ass, read on!
Let me tell you something; growth and success rarely happen by accident. You need a deliberate and intentional plan of action to grow and become more successful! This is so obvious, yet I feel it is essential to mention it because so many adventure businesses get so focused on operating the business that they neglect to develop it to its full potential – i.e. making it bigger, better, greater, and more profitable!
The concept of innovation often intimidates people. They assume it’s an activity reserved for inventors, the manufacturing industry, or R&D departments. To quote Steve Jobs: “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have... It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it”. Rural tourism marketing expert Joanne Steele believes that “real innovation is more about mindset than money”. If you think innovation is something for privileged large corporations, think again. It’s for everyone!
Not every innovation needs to be radical or life-changing. The goal is to implement changes that create a new level of performance for your business. By innovating, you become better, offer superior products, sell more trips & packages, cut costs, become more efficient, make your guests happier, become more sustainable, and ultimately make more money. Now, does that sound like something worth pursuing? Take a look at GAP Adventures, for example, who implemented a relatively small change that became critical to their business model.
You have to develop a culture of innovation in your organization. When your entire team immerses itself into a culture of innovation, great things start to happen. Everybody starts to contribute to growing the business – not just you. Consider this: The average company saves over $7,000 for each employee suggestion that is enacted! Are you listening to your team? Some companies even get their clients involved in making the company better. Starbucks and Dell, for example, have gone to great lengths to listen to their customers.
Where should I start innovating? Products, processes, marketing, sales, sustainable practices….. whatever. It doesn’t matter! Start where you can have the greatest impact. Or, start where you can see the results the quickest. This will give you momentum to continue, inspire your team to contribute, and give you the confidence to implement bigger changes that will take your business to a new level of performance. Maybe it’s time to engage with your guests using social media platforms, create media rich content to inspire your guests to book their next trip, or maybe it’s time to develop a new package, implement a new reservation system that allows you to better track your bookings and clients. Whatever it is you feel you should be doing, do it! Don’t wait. Don’t find excuses, just start doing it right now – however small that first step may be. If you’re not sure how, get the help you need! You’ve got to innovate. It’s not hard. And you better get started now because your competition is already on it.
I’m leading an innovation revolution in the adventure industry and I want you to be part of it. I want to change the way people think about their adventure business. I believe that lifestyle entrepreneurs can be profitable while maintaining the lifestyle they have chosen. I’m going to be throwing a lot of stuff at you to inspire you, motivate you, and enable you to take your adventure business to a whole new level and develop it to its full potential. I’ll share knowledge, insights, resources, tools, tips, videos, stories and whatever else to help you become more successful - so bookmark this page, subscribe to the RSS feed, and come back often.
In the mean time, I want you to tell me what you are doing to innovate. What are you doing that is creating a new level of performance for your adventure business? If you are not currently innovating, what’s holding you back?
Hit me in the comments!
written by Peter Syme, September 03, 2011