As the (UK) Shine Awards night approaches on 16th September– in which women from across the hospitality, travel and tourism industry will be crowned as outstanding professionals, managers and business owners – I was reflecting on the qualities necessary to make it to the top…be it top of the career ladder, top of an award list, top of your profession. When it comes to female entrepreneurship, tons of pages are being written about successful entrepreneurs, how they got to where they are and what drove them to launch a business. According to one author (Vicky Saunders of ‘Thinking as a ShEO’) women are scared to do it alone and often feel that they do not have (good enough) ideas. Is it the same in travel, I wondered? So I decided to ask my very own WTM panel of women about what it takes to be a successful trav-preneur… all you start-ups and wannabees out there, read and take note!
Pearl #1 – Julia Feuell, Founder and MD of Online Travel Training and New Frontiers
‘Any entrepreneur, male or female, needs to be confident and determined on top of having a strong commercial acumen for business and a great idea or differentiating way of doing business.[…] Find a mentor. Network with as many business professionals as possible so you can tap into an ‘expert’ network when you need help. Failure to plan means you’ll plan to fail, so consider every detail about your business idea to ensure it has the best chance of success. Then muster loads of confidence and determination and go for it!’
Pearl #2 – Mandy Nickerson, Founder and MD Hexagon Travel
‘Determination – it’s a battle sometimes and determination holds a strong place in carrying on during tough times. It is also important to be conversant in finance.’
Pearl#3 – Sarah Johnson, Founder and MD, Lotus UK
‘I would say energy and enthusiasm are key! Of course market analysis, points of differentiation, sound financial planning, clear marketing strategy (eughh the list can be endless) are all important, but anyone with charisma, commitment, energy and enthusiasm – the world is their oyster no matter what the plan says! If you love your idea, other people will.’
And if I may add a further pearl from my personal experience, surround yourself with individuals that complement your strengths and offset your weaknesses so as to get the most out of your combined knowledge, expertise and skills.
So when are you launching?