A travel business idea came to my mind after a conversation with a colleague.
Tony, not his real name works in the same office as me.
Recently he applied for voluntary redundancy because my organisation is downsizing.
Naturally I asked what he was thinking of doing, if he was successful and got the opportunity to leave.
He said he wasn’t sure, but he still had children in university so had to consider that.
It would probably be another corporate job.
I suggested starting up something of his own in tourism.
He was quite surprised about this, because he was an engineer by trade and spend his day inspecting stuff that needed fixing.
Stuff such as walls that had collapsed, damp patches in buildings and leaking roofs.
He couldn’t see the connection at all, but I could because it was staring me clearly in the face.
He talked a lot about his family, he had 3 sons, all now at University and his wife who worked for the NHS.
They had spent a lot of time over the years, travelling a few times a year, school holidays to Spain and lots of camping around the North of England, all the way up to the Scottish Borders.
He told me about lots of places on the coast, little fishing spots, the best restaurants to go to, campsites that were great, hotels with brilliant views.
He knew the little streets of places like the back of his hand and told me where not to bother with.
He was like our office in-house trip advisor and spoke with enthusiasm of a happy man family and about these places and about life in general.
If I ever needed a pick-me up he was the person to go to.
Always in a good mood and with an uplifting story to tell.
The perfect tour guide I thought.
Anyway, we used to joke about this and he laughed, unable to see why I kept mentioning it until one day he went home to his wife and told her and she said, “absolutely, what a great idea, why hadn’t we thought about this one?”
At weekends, they usually went somewhere on a trip even if it was only on Sundays. They figured if they like to go various places, other people would too.
The liked to use their camera/video on iPhone, such a great tool to transfer content to a blog. They were competent people, they could start a blog with a bit of instruction.
They often picked up brochures on the way and they had a cupboard full of resources to draw on to get going with. Content waiting to be exploited
They were in a 2-university city, lots of foreign students.
They could create local trips for students/parents and then expand out to other areas around the city and beyond North Yorkshire, the North East, The Lake District and the Peak District, all within reach.
It wasn’t going to cost much to get going.
The start-up cost was the blog and the marketing and their time to build a tour.
If they didn’t like it, they hadn’t wasted much money.
In the end, he wasn’t accepted for the redundancy which was disappointing for him, but he did say it had been fun thinking about something else, completely off the wall in his eyes, and it had given him food for thought.
With his engineering brain, he only used the left side, the one that invokes the logical side of you.
For this exercise, he had pulled on the right side, the creative thinking part so a whole other set of answers came up.
The trouble is you do them so easily and frequently, you don’t necessarily notice them but other people will, so ask them.