Four Scary Things That’ll Close Your Business Doors Tomorrow
What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right? Wrong! Something that seems so benign or simple, can come back to haunt you — or worse, have you shut your business doors forever. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! Here’s four scary no-no’s you should avoid if you want to keep your business open for a long time.
Growing too fast
Too much of anything can be bad for you, even growth! Think about it; there’s only so much you can do in a day and when you’re a solopreneur, it can feel like you’re wasting time just by taking a breath. So, taking more on than you can handle is a recipe for disaster, for both you and the clients.
“I have been in the industry now for 15 years [and I] built my business on referrals. I had to be careful that I did not take on too much too soon because poor service leads to poor reviews,” said Valerie Gossett, owner of Premier Resources Travel. “This can affect your business in a negative way faster than you think.”
If you’re feeling pressured, rushed, or stressed to get to every inquiry, you won’t be giving your clients that Rockstar-level of service. In turn, this could create a negative experience for you clients. Remember, you only get one first impression. Gossett’s advice? “Build slow, perfect your processes and then you’ll be ready to grow!”
Not Understanding the Laws
Unfortunately, the laws aren’t written so that just anyone can understand. However, that’s no excuse for not following them. Understanding how the laws apply to you as a small business owner is extremely important. Have an Errors and Omission policy? Great! That’s a start but you’re not completely scot-free. For example, Peter Lobasso, ASTA General Counsel, informed us that in an advertisement, you must state the full and final price to be paid by the consumer. Otherwise, the Department of Transportation may impose a penalty. Also, when selling travel to countries where airplanes are treated with insecticides, travel agents must let the client know and refer them to the DOT’s respective site prior to purchasing. If not, that’s another D.O.T violation. We’ll be honest with you, we didn’t know either. Luckily, ASTA is here for the travel advisor! They even offer courses like U.S. Travel Agency Regulatory Compliance course to make sure advisors don’t fall prey to confusing legal regulations and policy.
Credit Card Fraud
Who knew that a little square piece of plastic could cause a lot of damage? Nowadays, credit card fraud is rampant. Our advice? Collect a Credit Card Authorization form from every client you’re working with. While it may seem like extra work, this physical form serves as proof of consent (and no, verbal consent isn’t enough). Most commonly, in case of a chargeback, where a bank contacts you to return the money collected, a Credit Card Authorization form is the only way of protecting yourself. Not sure how to create one? Look online for some examples. If anything, your host agency may offer templates you can use.
Oh, and that guy from Hungary calling you for last minute first-class tickets for a family of five? That’s fraud too.
Being Too Vocal
Over a month ago, we asked if you’d tell your clients what you believe in. Haven’t checked it out yet? Essentially, we listed the pros and cons of vocalizing your beliefs in today’s polarizing world. A survey conducted by Sprout Social found that 52% of consumers showing greater brand loyalty when they agree on an issue. However, don’t take this as a guarantee as it can backfire; case in point, Cut It Up Grill in Tucson, Arizona closed its doors after sharing their beliefs on Facebook.
While there’s no right or wrong answer to this, we recommend treading lightly and doing what you think is best for your business. If you do decide to share, be honest and transparent about why you’ve made this decision and, of course, be prepared for any backlash. It’s everywhere.
Honestly, there’s more than these four things that can ruin a business. However, when you partner with a great host agency, you’re taking the crucial first step into creating a solid foundation and securing your business’ future. To find out why more than 4,150+ travel agency owners have partnered with us, click here.