In a series of regular blogs, the Dive in Style team will discuss what it's like to be part of a new business; the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial world as well as general goings on at Dive in Style HQ. To kick us off, Neill Ghosh, Head of Dive in Style, looks back over the first few weeks of the company's existence.
It's been an eventful first few weeks for Dive in Style. I joined the company in early April with the remit of building on the success of the best-selling Dive in Style book by launching a diving-focused tour operator, as a part of award-winning Original Travel with the aim of helping people turn the hotels and diving featured in the book into a holiday reality.
For a long while I had wanted to do something entrepreneurial in an area of work I am passionate about, and after several years in the corporate world, I decided that now is the time. By pure coincidence, Original Travel and Tim Simond, the author of Dive in Style, were at the very same time looking for someone to set up and run Dive in Style. A chance meeting led to interviews and business plans and here I am. I'm not a great believer in fate, but things seem to have slotted nicely into place.
Across the coming weeks and months, I plan to share my personal experiences of setting up and running a new business, as well as discussing the key milestones along the Dive in Style journey, in the hope that it might be of interest to others going through similar things, and indeed to learn from the experience of others who might read this blog.
So, what have we achieved in the first few weeks? Let me start by stating our aim, which is to position Dive in Style as the premier website and travel service for people wanting to dive, snorkel or just relax at the world's best spots at the same time as staying in the most luxurious accommodation, and, if wanted, to be able to do so as a family whether divers or not. An ambitious goal, but if you lack ambition, then what would be the point?
Achieving this goal is going to take time, and a lot of work, and the first few weeks have been about laying the foundations of success and making sure that the fundamentals are in place. Key achievements have included launching two websites, Dive in Style for the UK market and La Plongee Chic for the French, Belgian and Swiss markets; developing our supplier relationships; building the database of contacts; sending out our first ever newsletter; and finalising the medium-term marketing plan. It's been a busy time!
All in all, I'm pleased with the way the first seven weeks have gone. There have been ups (unexpected volume of bookings and enquiries very early on and a research trip to the Maldives!) and downs (planned launch party in the London Aquarium and first potential press trip both falling through at the last minute) but I guess that's what it's all about; frustration and jubilation.
So what's next? Putting the marketing plan into action is the major priority over the coming weeks, along with developing a compelling responsible travel strategy.
Check back in from time to time if you want to see how we're getting on and please do to comment on this blog if you have any ideas or thoughts about anything contained in this series of blogs.