In an ongoing series of blogs about what it's like to launch and run a new business (it's been a while since the last one though!) Neill, head of Dive in Style, looks back at 2010 and ahead to what 2011 might have in store.
It's now been just under 10 months since we launched Dive in Style. Built on the success of the best-selling book Dive in Style and being part of award-winning Original Travel, I had a bit of a head-start on most people launching and running a new business and I think this leg up (thanks Tim and OT!) has been a great help in establishing a business all involved can be proud of.
Looking back at 2010, I am surprised by what we have been able to achieve; a level of sales that surpasses what I expected (I must admit I had visions of myself sitting at my desk willing the phone to ring!), the successful launch of exciting new products and a sense that we are building relationships with clients that will continue to grow, are just some of the highlights.
There have been failures too; we have not yet launched in America as we had hoped, and I think we still have some way to go to perfect our product and the information we provide to clients ('perfect' is probably an unattainable ambition) but overall I think we have moved quickly in the right direction.
We have lots of exciting plans for this year: a new website that allows us to better showcase our product (definitely coming), an app for the iPhone and iPad that could be really special (hopefully coming, needs funding!) and the development of some really unique and exciting new trips for clients as we find the time to get out there and explore new areas of interest. This final point is really important as we must keep the service and products we offer our clients innovative and interesting.
I am really excited about what 2011 has in store. There are certainly challenges, not least of which is the need to balance dealing with sales and enquiries and doing enough marketing to make sure that enquiries keep coming in once you have dealt with the ones on your plate right now (a challenge for all small businesses)! But I'm confident that with a bit more hard work we have a successful and exciting year in store.