Defining your core offerings
When first starting in business it’s often a good idea to drill down your niche. Decide upon a core offering that your customers will pay for and do it well. The trouble with this approach (particularly in the travel industry!) is that if you’ve done a good job of delivering what you’ve said you’re going to deliver, your clients will hopefully want to come back for more.
A lovely problem to have
This is a lovely problem to have but it will mean that you’re constantly trying to find the next thing to offer which can take a lot of time and effort.
In a perfect world you could sell a product or service to a client and then they would pay for another on a subscription based service. Recurring income for returning customers. This may work in some industries and for some products and services (replacement razors, washing up tablets, gym memberships, car servicing for example), but for many it won’t.
Spreading yourself too thin
I have made some huge changes in the way I run my business over the years. In the first instance we were running all sorts of wonderful trips, from kayaking around the Isle of Wight, to trekking Kilimanjaro, to running Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions and cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats. What we soon realised was that we cannot simply offer them all unless we employed a huge team of specialist employees to manage all of the spinning plates involved.
We were young, inexperienced and were willing to do pretty much anything to get the business off the ground. To get people to pay for whatever it was we were offering.
As you would expect, the cracks began to show and we ended up delivering a substandard service on all counts. Average trips, recurring logistical issues and disgruntled customers who definitely did not want to return for round two.
So what was the solution?
We drilled down into a small number of core offerings which we called our ‘feeder’ products. They were our flagship trips that we knew we could sell, do an excellent job, and would virtually guarantee returning clients.
Our London to Paris ride is one of these trips and it combines several key elements:
- It’s got a famous name
- Therefore it’s easier to market
- It appeals to a broad market because it’s an achievable goal
- It can be done within a short timeframe with minimal days off work for riders
- It’s a great route!
These combining factors means that as a product, the London to Paris ride will always appeal. I knew that if we did a good job of delivering these trips, we would earn return customers, testimonials and all the amazing things that come delivering amazing experiences.
To this day it is still our flagship trip and each year we get many clients return on the back of this one experience. It means that I still have to come up with new and exciting trips to run, but with a steady trickle of new customers and old, the marketing side of things is virtually taken care of so I can concentrate on doing what I love most, riding my bike.