Lecture Tour Company
Patty had some college courses but did not graduate. She drove a lecture tour bus for fifteen years, starting when she was twenty-two years old. She loved it, but quit to raise a family at thirty-seven. She had a few other jobs, including more time in the offices of a tour company. At fifty-three she found herself unemployed with no money. Her husband’s salary covered the bills but there was not much extra.
An Idea Coming to Fruition
She told her husband she thought she could put a tour together, like she did when she was younger. She could get help from a friend in a tour company, which allowed her to avoid upfront costs to rent the bus. Her husband, supportive as ever, urged her to go for it. She started by putting together one tour on one bus and sold it out. She was very surprised how fast it sold out. Her clientele was mostly retired people and the word got out about her great tour. After she paid for the bus, and a lunch for her tour participants, she had a little profit left. She decided to try it again. Somewhere in this time she went to an all-day SCORE Beginners Seminar. She loved it. She said the seminar told her a great deal of things she did not know, as well as what she needed to do. 2011 was her first year in business. She grossed about $12,000 and netted roughly $1,500. Her second year, she grossed upward of $92,000 and netted $11,500.
Growing the Business
She grew her business out of the profits. The money she made off of one tour went into funding the next two. She borrowed no money. Her skills are in the actual tours and customer relations. Everyone loves her. The finance, or operational, side of the business is where she was weakest. So, now in her third year, she has hired someone to take care of those aspects.
Hiring someone reduced her percentage net, but in her third year she grossed north of $250,000 and netted roughly $50,000. Her touring company expects to do $500,000 in gross sales next year. In their fifth year, they should surpass the $1,000,000 in gross sales mark. You cannot give a clear guess on when she will have $1,000,000 in the bank, but if she continues to see the same rate of growth it would likely be before her tenth year in business.
This gives no credit to the value of her company if she chose to sell. On her current course it should be worth at least $2,000,000 or more in ten years.
I give high accolades and credit to Patty for her accomplishments. However, if she had a little more of an aggressive business plan and had raised the money to execute it early in the company, she could be at least two years ahead of her current progress. She probably would be on track to have her first $1,000,000 in the bank in five to seven years from her start date.
Credit to SCORE
In her own words from the SCORE website, “When I walked into the doors of SCORE, all I had was a dream and the passion to start my own company. I have never been a business owner, had no start-up money, and absolutely no knowledge of where to begin… I highly recommend SCORE to anyone and everyone that is looking for guidance in their new or existing business. I hope one day I will be able to contribute back to such a wonderful organization that has made our business successful.”
Unemployed to a $1,000,000 Tour Company in five years is not bad at all. Patty’s company can be found at www.pattystours.com.
What’s Your Idea?
You should start looking for an idea for your new business in your own history. What have you done before, what skills do you have to build or to start your new company? Patty reached back and pulled an old skill and interest forward, then built on that. This worked for many people. If you not have something in your background to build on, do not despair, just dig in, learn a new skill, research all the possibilities for you to start a tried and true business and make your first $1,000,000.