This page was created to help New Agents get their business off of the ground successfully. We know how hard it is hard to navigate starting a new business alone, because we been there, so we want to help make your transition from employee to your new life as an Independent Business Owner/Entrepreneur.
Pre-Travel Agent Planning
The one of the most important thing in starting a business is setting up and understanding taxes and business structure, therefore your first step is to file for your FEIN with the IRS.
Travel Agents are a For-Profit Business: Obtaining Federal Tax Employer ID Number for Travel Agents. You will need this in order to open a checking account in your business name. Additionally, you need an active Credit Card that will be maintained online with your host agency.
Determine your business structure ie. Sole Proprietorships, Partnership, S. Corporations, Corporation to Include Limited Liability Company (LLC). It is important to consult an CPA or Accountant to determine the best tax structure for your business. However, it is our recommendation that you visit the IRS Small Business Section linked here: SMALL BUSINESS STRUCTURES. READ THE ENTIRE SECTION!
You can apply for a LLC by using our other strategic partner Legal Zoom:
Establishment of your internal structure and get your local business licenses. Visit your local government office online: City or County. Each government agency has different requirements for home based businesses which is why we do not list the forms here.
Complete or create a business plan and make it a living document. Palo Alto Software has very good software to help you write a great business plan.
Complete or Draft a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) Manual for your business to include your daily operation and management plan. We added this section because your business can grow from home based to a physical location in a short period of time. We grew out of our house in a 3 year period and had to adjust to this fast growth. Therefore, it is very important to plan for your growth.
Start your client list by completing an assessment of who you know that travels at least once a year. Also, note that friends and family will not automatically become your clients don’t become discouraged by this.
Prepare a news release for your company. Contact your Chamber of Commerce and consider joining because they can list your company and help get the word out about your company. If you move into a physical location the Chamber of Commerce will do a “Just Opened” News Release, include your business in their local Monthly Circular, and hold a publicized Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Event as a part of your membership.
Establish an online company presence, FaceBook, Linked In, etc. See the information below.
ADVERTISE, SELL, ADVERTISE, SELL, ADVERTISE, SELL; tell everyone about your business. However, do not loose friends and family over them not utilizing your company as their travel consultant. “Sell what you love and love what you sell” is my motto. This will ensure your success as a travel agent and consultant.
Take Action Everyday. Have a sense of urgency about your business everyday and Stay positive! Surround yourself with positive people daily! Get a mentor for your business. If necessary, we’ve got you covered because our Senior Travel Consultant will become your mentor and we are always here to help you when you need it. Remember, we are just a telephone call or e-mail away. Register your business with all local and government agencies that can help your business get noticed. We suggest that you get a Dan & Bradstreet(DUNS) number if you desire to do business with the federal and state government. DUNS is the credit bureau that reports the credit worthiness of businesses. Please review the Dan & Bradstreet White Paper, DUNS Securing Capital In A Crunch White Paper, for additional knowledge. However, you decide if you would like to use their services. We just want to make sure that you have as much information as possible to run your business. Also, visit the SBA website for Loans & Grants, which is very informative for new business owners.
As a new business owner you are going to need money, Seed Money, to start and grow your business. We have made it more economical for you to start you business as a Home Based Travel Agent by decreasing your start up cost to $300.00 which is discounted down from $500.00. Most other agencies require a start-up fee well into $2,000 to $3,000. We recommend that you do a assessment of your finances before starting your business. Make a list of your needs and cost: Equipment, Software, Personal cost if you are going to hire employees, transportation, a business consultant, etc to assist in the growth of your business and advertisement cost. Please note you can start your business without these steps, but if done at the start it could save you money down the line. Make Financial Management part of your business plan.
When Uncle Sam comes calling for his piece of your home based business – on or before April 15 you want to be ready. Set up a detailed record-keeping system, and keep track of all business related expenses. This is required of every new business owner, whether the venture is set up in the home or in an office space downtown. One of the less expensive approaches is to use a computer software program such as Quicken or any one you are comfortable with using. Additionally, we recommend NEAT Company Scanner to scan your receipts because it is a easy way to manage your receipts and print out reports that the IRS recognize. *Please note that we are only making suggestions about products or services to ease in the management of your business activity. We are not being paid to endorse any products or services.
AFFILIATION & BUSINESS LISTING
Advertisement and Marketing your business goes hand-in-hand in reference to the importance they play in the growth of your business. We suggest you search your community to find conferences, seminars, Wedding Shows, and online wedding listings: Brides.com, The Knot,Wedding Wire, MyWedding.com, and search for wedding shows around the USA.
The Association of Wedding Professionals International is useful to aid in finding a list of wedding shows around the world: Association of Wedding Professional Listing
MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS IS KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS:
Create a monthly Newsletter or Blog about your business. Create a FaceBook company profile and make sure to place a post at least once each week. Ask your friends and family to “like” your post and follow you online. Send out flyers monthly via e-mail and to your local community, but be careful not to abuse e-mail subscription policy. Client Based marketing tools will help you advertise your company, but you must do your part. In the beginning of my business, I personally printed out flyers and handed them out at the mall that grew my internet traffic from 100 to 300,000 hits in two weeks. Think outside the box and be creative in every part of your business.
*WE HAVE THE ANSWERS & SOLUTIONS*
1. We have the ability to help ANY small business owner accomplish 3 things. First, we can help to immediately generate an additional $10,000 in revenue within just 30 to 90 days. Second, we can help them to quickly double their profits. And third, we can teach them a proven and tested process that will enable them to grow their business to $1 million or more in total revenue. This is done via our E-Learning Online Business School for business owners, which is complete with all the tools, resources and live support every business needs to become successful in today’s highly competitive world. Membership is optional but highly suggested. Membership to this innovative program is $499 per month. (We also provide an additional option for weekly Group Coaching for $500 per month). Sign-up today to start growing your business: Building Success Marketing Academy.com
2. Our online Business School for Start-Up Businesses will teach you how to market your business like a Fortune 500 company. It will help you market your business’s products and services to mass markets, online social media and networks in print and online. Our BuildingSuccessfulStartup.com website is part of our Building Success Marketing Academy and is the right tool for start-up businesses or individuals seeking training before starting a business.
We currently offer a weekly Group Coaching call as another optional service for $500 per month…. or $5,000 annually when paid in full up front. Unfortunately, the vast majority of business owners simply can’t afford to take advantage of this type of professional help.
This grant are on a first come and first approved policy until the funding runs out. We want you to be successful in marketing your business, sign up and apply for the Economic Small Business Growth Grant cover the other $300 per month of your enrollment fee. This only leaves you with $199.00 per month to receive access to the online business marketing school and our weekly group business coaching. This grant includes giving you access to our weekly group coaching for FREE; you save $6,000.00 when you join our Home-Based Agent or Independent Booking Program.
We know our Business Coaching & Marketing programs are what every small business owner needs and the one they should always start with to build a successful business.
It is our mission to help small business owners grow their businesses, increase their profitability, generate more leads and network their businesses to a greater success than they dreamed. We will keep you on the cutting-edge with the latest marketing and sales strategies and tactics… as well as provide you with all the tools, resources, and support you need to insure your business growth. Our marketing tools can be used to help your future agents become successful in a short period of time.
Your customers/clients are the most important part of your business, so make sure you build a very good relationship with your clients. Also, remember that if they do not utilize your company today does not mean they won’t select your company tomorrow. Business and customers go hand to hand, so you must listen first, work with your clients and make recommendation according to what your clients are searching for in their vacation or trip. It is important that you do not alienate your clients because we are in business to be Consultants and Teachers, Give Guidance of travel, but the client is the boss; because they pay the bills. Treat Them Well and they will ALWAYS come back! Be prompt and follow up with your clients. This simple act shows that your company is serious about quality customer services. BE ON TIME, Exceed your customer’s expectations, Build Trust and Be Honest are all key factors to growing your business and retaining your current customers. Do not be afraid to make a mistake and learn from that situation by owning it. Below is an actual comment from a customer that purchased a product we sell online:
“I contacted the seller w/ a question–and got a prompt & thoughtful reply. They cleared up the issue–explaining the date stamp was a mfg date not a sell-by date…and sent me several free bars of chocolate for my trouble. I am so impressed with this company! The Pres. of the Co. wrote back to me! I highly recommend doing business with this seller.”
Increase Customers: INCENTIVES FOR CURRENT CUSTOMERS
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Our Travel Consultant Training receives weekly training and Webinars from the top providers of travel. We have “been there and done that”, so we know the importance of ensuring our new agents get the proper training. Therefore, we go the extra mile to bring the training to you at home via the web. You can access the Agent Connex Library for previous training subjects. Once you have joined as an agent, your training begins.
Continuous Education is a must: Seek external training and attend conferences. Get certified with an industry leading training company because this helps your clients have confidence in your ability to book their travel. However, it is not required to become a travel agent at home or in a physical location.
TELECOMMUNICATION – BE & APPEAR PROFESSIONAL
We recommend using a company called Ring Central to position your home-based business as a premier company by having professional telephone services. Contact us so we can help you get signed up for a professional business telephone service for your company.
Ring Central provides an office phone that can be used anywhere in the world with an Internet connection (you will receive a digital fax as well). Your office phone can be set-up to be forwarded to your cell phone so you never have to worry about missing a call from a client. You can be on the beach working and enjoying a beautiful sunset, or not working at all. If you want to use this service let me know, so I can make sure you receive the discount.
GROWING YOUR BUSINESS BY JOINING A NETWORK
There are informal and formal networks in every city around the US. The Chamber of Commerce is a starting point for a new business. However, Building Success Network International is growing and started network chapters also in the USA. Visit the Personal Services section of this website to see if a network chapter is in your city: Click on Building Success Network International. If there are no established chapters in your city, and you would like to start one of your own, feel free to contact us. We are linked to numerous business organizations across the country and we can help you start a local chapter in your city. If you want to grow your business people must know about your business and you must build a positive image in your community.
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
Once we get you making money you need to manage your clients. We have a solution for you! We are always working to ensure our home-based or independent booking agents are linked with companies that give us discounts and save YOU money. We build partnerships with Premier companies to make booking travel a snap, help you promote your business, and help you to make more money.
Once you start increasing your customer list you will need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. If you want to test drive the online program I use, you can visit the attached link amocrm.com or direct link: www.amocrm.com/reg/psillc to get a 30 day trial, so you can manage the loads of clients you are going to get from enrolling in our E-learning Small Business Academy. Our Academy is going to teach you the tactics & strategic know how to get more leads to grow your business.
amoCRM is a B2B / B2C leads and sales management tool. Use it to take your leads from first contact, all the way to a sale. Aside from just organizing your contacts, amoCRM can also filter by current leads, tasks that need to be completed, and more. amoCRM turns leads into customers, and customers into loyal patrons. All travel agents need a lead management tool to grow their business.
AGENT SUPPORT & TRAINING:
The information on this page is just a starter. We will go over more information during your New Agent Interview. Also, we hold our “ASK THE HOST AGENCY MEETING” every Thursday at 6:00pm CST. Meeting invites will be sent to each current Agent or Agency.
Agents, you will need a website domain for your private labeled website, so visit our Affiliate website: www.getonlinewebhosting.com. You can purchase your domain from this website and create an account that will allow you to forward your company domain to your private labeled website. Also, in our experience, you can not beat the great Prices for website hosting and domain purchase.