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Six steps to getting started in your activity business

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#021 Great to be back after some time out due skiing accident and today I answer a question that I am asked regularly – how do I get started in my business, especially an outdoor activity-based business?  
In this podcast, I introduce six steps I always use when starting a business and I help and coach new and experienced business owners to start or grow their businesses. 

Helping to encourage and give more people opportunities to be active outdoors is my goal and helping businesses grow and serve more people is the way to help more people. 

The six steps which I see as essential in starting a business and I summarise in the podcast are:

1. Identifying your vision for your company, who is the audience and what is your dream to build and create as your business.  Using vision boards, identify the problem you are solving for people. 

2. Viability check is key to ensure your market is practical and not too big or small to enable you to get started. Create your domain to get some momentum and progression. 

3. Establish your platform to enable people to see and hear what you are doing. Creating a simple web presence and very importantly start collecting email addresses and connecting with your potential audience. 

4. Collect stage is creating a reason for potential clients to leave email addresses so creating a lead magnet which is a useful download for them. This builds confidence and encourages them to leave their email for you. 

5. Monetization of your business as early as possible is essential and putting your knowledge online is the way I recommend getting early income to help you build your outdoor business. 

6. Promote to your market using your email list and the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system which enable you to connect and with your social media create a strategy to extend the reach.  

Connect with me at InspiredandActive on Instagram and the GlobalDigitalAdventure.com website. 

Six steps to getting started in your activity business

Podcast Transcript

John Campbell 0:04 Welcome to the Inspired and Active podcast where it can help you grow your business, using digital methods to inspire you to be more business active with a real focus on outdoor and activity based businesses. I’m John Campbell, I’ve started multiple businesses. I’m a digital change coach, outdoor enthusiast, and I’ve got a real passion to see more people enjoying and being active outdoors. It’s been a few weeks since I last spoke to and I’m recording this now in March, unfortunately, I had a bit of a skiing accident, which result of me resulted in me getting some extended time and hospital and some recuperation but the I am back, I’m really keen to get going again. And really today, people have been asking me how to get started before friends, colleagues, colleagues or colleagues, how’d you get started in business specialist outdoor business? How do we get going? 

So I thought I would do a podcast today on really what I see is the six steps to starting your business, it could be any business, but we’re going to focus on really outdoor and outdoor business. Now I’ve started 10 businesses. Over the many years I’ve been doing this work, and I do use these steps. Whenever I start a new business, I have never, I’d never been ending the podcast that I haven’t tried tested myself. And in my coaching, we really help you and your business. Just step into this and understand what you need to do or understand how to grow your business. So the first step for anyone starting the business is really to have a clear vision of what they want to do. A lot of people go into it without really understanding what it is. And by the doing it, that has to be a reason you’re doing something, there has to be a problem that you’re addressing, or an opportunity to help people just be more active, but there has to be a reason that they would they would come to you. So you have to be quite clear on your vision, you have to have a plan, it doesn’t have to be detailed plan, it can be on a piece of paper, a big piece of paper, I would suggest having a vision map a vision board. And there’s lots of software tools out there. And the one I would recommend is a product called Miro M I R O allows you to create your your vision and post it up and keep changing it. It doesn’t cost anything as a starter in terms of putting that software together, but just allows you to start creating your vision map. But spend time just looking at what is the problem you’re addressing? What what are the users going to do, and what are they going to get at the end of end of enjoying the service or the activity that you’re offering. That is that’s the step one, and it is really important, you get this down, not a big business plan, not a big, big piece of work, in terms of financials and anything, just the vision of what you’re trying to do and why you’re doing it. It would be great to do this as a brainstorm with anyone else who’s coming into the business with you or to somebody you can trust it’s it’s really good to bounce ideas off each other. So just get get a blank wall, get a blank sheet of paper and just brainstorm ideas, and try and pick the one that you think is correct. And don’t worry, a lot of people say, Well, I can’t find an idea, I can’t find what I want to do because it’s done before other people are doing it better. Ignore that just just go with what you can provide. The the world is is a huge place. And if you get this, right, you get your service addressing a problem people have and you do it well, you will be able to build a business. And we can show you and I can help you get to that stage. 

And these steps are the starting point of that, though, step two is all about niching down and checking the viability it’s often I often see that yet people who start in your business go to wide they join address to bigger market. And and you really cannot do that initially when you’re starting a business. So we’d really recommend you you check the viability. One way to do this. And it’s a method that’s been promoted by one of the key business mentors there Ryan Lavesque. And his Ask method is really to use use Google Trends to have a look at how your idea sets because what Google Google Trends does for you. It leads allows you to look at the interest level over time. So you’d put what you were doing, whether it was rafting, or hillwalking into Google Trends and it would give you how much activity interest over time with people searching in Google, which is a great indication of how many people are interested in your topic. So what you do you go into Google Trends, and you put your activity and then you can compare it with other activities and they will tell you whether maybe you are to widen the base. And it might sound a bit strange to this. But if you compare your idea against a couple of activities like improving your memory, beekeeping, two good ones on the other one, Ryan Laveque uses his orchid, orchids, orchid care. So basically, these are he knows. And through time years, he is proven that you can’t go too wide. And these are quite nice products. So if your activity was showing a Google Trends as being much less than those are much more than nodes, we could rethink your idea. So I if you did this, and you looked at rafting, rafting would be quite a good sport. But again, you might need to down slightly because it’s above those examples I gave you. If you use biking, it’s way above the interest level for making is too too high to hit the whole biking market. So that’s when you niche down into a particular baking, sport or, or activity, whether it’s mountain biking, gravel, biking, whatever, and niche down into one don’t go for the whole biking market, because you just will not be able to serve that market. So you need to use Google Trends or a similar method to look at the interest there is in the area that you’re wanting to build your business around. So to too much interest or too little interest is important indicators used for you to really consider your your niche and how you’re going to deliver that out and you might create your niche and then look at your vision board again and revise it. But just capturing that niche is a key thing. And after that, I’m always keen for people to get get active and in terms of creating the business at that point. So you want to check availability of names, naming a company is really hard. And you do need to try and capture the the website URL as early as you can the domain name as it’s called. And that’s easy to do, again online, there’s a good website, which just allows you to search for domain names I use all the time, which is domain it or domain it. And that allows you to pop in the idea of your domain name, it will tell you whether it’s available or not in the region. So co.uk.com. Org are all the URLs you’d like to try and capture and never tell it was available. But equally, it will tell you other ones that are like it and you might see something that would be of interest to you. So have a look at domain it. And just try and pick a name that is available for you to create your website around you then you then need to register that domain name. And it is important once you pick a domain name that you do register it fairly quickly, because it’s not unknown for people, other people to pick the domain name just before you actually go and register it. So registration, there is a cost there it can cost anything during kind of six pounds kind of to 15 pounds. So you’re talking about a few dollars up to kind of $20 that that would register it for a year. And there’s lots of domain registration companies out there suggest to use somebody that’s reasonably reputable Could you do need to connect with them to set up different things. So just register it and then that means you own it, nobody else can take it after that. And it’s yours and it makes you makes you start feeling as if your business is has got something going for it. So that was the second stage of looking at the identity and the viability and and moving that forward that the next stage I would call the established stage, really keen to start creating a digital mark for your business, even if it’s an outdoor business, you need something. So if you’re speaking to somebody they can, you can direct them to your website, or you can direct them to your your information. Because it is important for you to start talking about it. It’s important for you to begin to tell people what you’re doing, because that’s the way you’ll get feedback. And unless the feedback from people which are really important, you’ve thought that there was a problem that you’re addressing, and you’ll have built that knowledge up from experience. But it’s always good just to check in with people and just ask them well, I’ve created this, this is the name, go and look at this website. Now the website that you would create at this stage does not have to be a masterpiece. You could create a very straightforward website in a very small amount of time, I would say you could do within a week, if not less if you really wanted to. And then just put a few pages up which begins to bring your idea to life begins to bring your vision that you created in step one to life so I would go ahead and create a website. And again it’s not a high cost To do that, and there’s many ways that you can go about that, again, we can point you in a direction for for that, but I would go with a website as the next stage. Along with the website, there’s one other piece of, of capability, you really need to which is kind of sending emails, you need to be able to communicate with any potential customer, even if it’s an outdoor activity business, they will still connect with you online. And you need to have the capability to receive the emails and action as emails under something called a CRM system, which is a customer relationship management system, which allows you to store the emails. Now, we’re not going to get complex in this discussion. But we really would advise or I’d advise you to think about creating the ability to collect email addresses, and to send emails, and nor have they been opened as early as you can, in this process. So there’s lots of ways to do that. And again, it’s not complex, there’s a step two step process to enable you to do that. But that is important, because if you could use social media, which we advise you to do, but you don’t own that you own the email address in your list, but a Facebook, or Instagram or Tiktok, change their rules, you can lose all your customers. So as well as working with social media, you do need from the start to collect email addresses, that is a key piece of advice, I give an a really, for anyone coaching, I really do encourage them to do there are several email packages, you get all all start with a free service for several 100 or even 1000 subscribers or email subscribers, then then they will charge monthly from there so you can get started relatively cheaply. And and really start building it up. So there’s nothing to stop you doing this email collection, and targeting your email this from the start. So the first the first point was we’re talking about the niching down and understanding your vision. The second was looking at the viability of of your customer base and what you’re offering. And the third was establishing your platform. 

The fourth is now looking to use that platform, how do you then connect with your different customers. And the Collect stage, which is the fourth, we really want to start looking at a launch strategy, you have a product, you have a service, you want to then tell as many people and as formula that is well tried and tested, that allows you to create what we call a lead magnet or an an offer, which then encourages people to leave you their email address. And there’s a mechanism for that it’s a process for that. But the most important thing in this stage is to start giving your potential customers a reason to leave their email address. Because if you build up this email address, and you build up this list, it allows you then at the right time to start offering the service, you wouldn’t immediately go out and save it as a service. And this is how much it costs and you could you buy a please, you’ve got to build up the trust, you’ve got to build up the confidence and in the customer in you as a person. So you might start giving away free project products. A good lead magnet to get a few 100 email addresses would allow you then to kind of start slowly beginning to encourage them to take your services. Now these these services may be online services, or they might be coming to an actual location that you’re setting up for your outdoor activity. But what what I focus on is really using this approach using this ability to collect email addresses and creating an offer is to really bring your your knowledge online as well. So you might be offering mountain biking trips, you might be offering canoeing, but you will also have some skills that you could put online. Because if you can imagine an online course on on canoeing or whatever could have a big global reach when people coming to your location is going to be restricted to where you’re living and how busy it is. So we’ve got to look at balance of both. You will have knowledge you can put online and we can we can show many ways of how we can make that available and how you can bring in revenue and money to to enable your business to get going because that’s the important part. You’ve got to start generating business and generating revenue to allow you to do what you want and to serve the people you want to serve. So you shouldn’t be afraid to start charging At the right time, but there’s work we can do in the startup phase to allow that to happen quickly. And that’s really the fifth stage is the monetization, how do you actually begin to bring in money from from the service you’re running or the knowledge you’re offering, you could run events and charge for events. But it’s this online knowledge that could give you that foothold to really quickly to start bringing in revenue while you build up your service. And, and basically, that would be the key. So there’s a whole launch strategy and whole mechanism to allow you to do that. And again, that’s something we’ll discuss in future podcasts. Or you can certainly drop in and connect with me. And we can share some of that information. Now, the sixth and final stage is to really start bringing that together, it’s using as we call the Promote stage, you really got to start telling your market what you’re doing, you’ve got to reach out, you got to use social, you got to loo use your email list, every opportunity again to tell people what you’re doing and how, how to connect with you. And that’s where this CRM system, I talked about this customer relationship management system that we talked about. And step three really comes in because that list, you can start having something called Email funnels, which allows you to start directly messaging and emailing your customers, and on on the back of what they reply, and what they click on, you can send them additional information, you can offer them additional service. So it allows you to start promoting your activity and your service. So it’s really important, you put a strategy together for promotion, which includes your email, your social, and your face to face. So that promote stage is the sixth stage, that if you were to do all these six stages across your business, as you start, none of them are complex. 

They’re all needing an approach, a simple step approach, nothing too. Nothing too complex. And, and really, if you follow these six steps, the first step being niching down, creating your vision and planning that high level plan, the next step being checking the viability and niching rate down checking if if there’s enough interest, looking at the URL, making sure your your URL can be purchased. The third step is establishing your environment, your operational platform, your email, your website, going on to the fourth stage was all about collecting email addresses about the lead magnet and making sure people know what you’re offering and encouraging them to leave an email addressed. Moving on to the fifth stage, which is monetization. How did you begin to bring in revenue, if you don’t bring money into your business is not a business. Basically, if you’re not earning revenue, it’s more of a lifestyle, lifestyle project. You need to start and be happy with asking for money, it’s quite difficult thing when you start to ask for money for your service. But it’s something you must get over. And that monetization phase is the start of that, allowing you to begin to bring in that revenue through through the launch work we’re talking about. And the final stage, the six stages about promoting and really using the CRM system and your social media to start connecting and promoting what you’re doing. If you follow these six steps, your business, can you get off the ground really quickly, and give you success, which is what we’re all looking for in business. Now it didn’t cover any of the legal sides of setting up your business, depending on which country you’re in, you’ve got different legal requirements and tax etc. But there’s nothing stopping you actually getting going and getting, getting your activity out there and trying and testing and seeing what works. So yes, the legal side is essential, obviously, and we can cover that. But you can still get things moving without having to do too much legality work. So I hope that was useful. There’s lots more podcasts coming, and just connect into the website, global digital adventure.com. And there’ll be information about courses and different ways to to connect with me. Always happy to speak to anyone and help them My passion is to try and encourage more people to get outdoors and be active and working with businesses, getting them going beheading them to be able to bring more people into their into their product is really what I’m wanting to do. So look forward to hear from you. And just go out there and try it. I’ve got a mantra that really kind of says, You’ve got to make it happen. You’ve got to keep moving forward. And everything’s an experiment so don’t be afraid to try If and if nothing is going to cost you too much money to start, there will be a small cost Yes. But that will allow you to learn and expand and go on from there. So, good luck in your business. Please connect in I’d love to hear from you. Thanks a lot. You’ve been listening to the inspired an actor in the digital world podcast. We try and come to you every week or every two weeks. Please join us on Instagram and DM me there at inspired an actor and look at our website at global digital adventure.com Lots of information there and I look forward to hearing from you and speaking to you next time.