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This issue’s cover story, "Virtually Yours," shares specific companies that can help travel advisors outsource tasks to grow their businesses. It’s a timely topic because most agencies are still in the calm before the storm — preparing themselves for when bookings ramp up as travel rebounds. This is an ideal window for evaluating strengths and weaknesses and making a plan for how to overcome any shortcomings.
While most of us would logically agree that this is a necessary part of growing a business, our emotions sometimes keep us from seeing the underlying problems or personal blind spots that can affect our success. Writer Jeff Haden addressed this problem in an article for Inc.com (“4 Ways Outsourcing Can Really Help Your Small Business Grow”): “No one can do everything, and neither should they,” Haden wrote. “As entrepreneurs, however, we’re generally pretty bad at accepting this fact … We naturally want to protect the company we’ve spent months, if not years, nurturing — and letting go of the reins can be terrifying. The truth, though, is that we have to.”
Haden lists the ways that outsourcing can help a business, and the arguments in favor of acquiring outside help are even more important in a time of crisis. If cash flow is an issue, converting fixed expenses to smaller flexible costs helps free up funds. If you have to lay off staff, outsourcing can keep a business productive in the short term. If there are gaps in your marketing expertise, a consultant can give you a much-needed advantage in a competitive environment.
While most of us would logically agree that this is a necessary part of growing a business, our emotions sometimes keep us from seeing the underlying problems or personal blind spots that can affect our success.
As important as outsourcing is to small businesses, it’s also important for owners to continue to build their own knowledge. There are several organizations and associations — including The Travel Institute and American Society of Travel Advisors — that provide opportunities for advisors to develop new skills.
This combination of outside help and increased education is the best way to set yourself up for future success.