So often our business plans focus on quarterly and annual plans, eventualities so large we forget the small details of which they are made. For example, “Customer Service” is a grand concept, encompassing a great many ideas and strategies. But in reality it is the smiles, the kindnesses, the empathy and the concern for the well-being of the client bringing those ideas to life. It’s easy to lose the details in our devotion to our grand plans, but success really is built out of the myriad small tasks making up our day to day activities. Perhaps we owe some consideration to details.
The big decisions certainly give us direction. But the small choices we make power the arch of our movement. The way we approach a problem, the words we use in a crisis, the responsibilities we choose to accept each and every day bear out the personality in charge of the plan, and your personality is what clients in search of an authentic travel consultant are seeking. In fact, it is only through the small choices we make that we can do anything authentic at all. Our big plans are just that: plans. It is in the individual encounters we have with clients where the reality of our character is truly apparent.
The small choices we make both train us for the big decisions and give us the assurance our courses are correct. We can continually assert our plan to be the best travel consultant in the world all day long and be fairly certain of never being called on our promises. However, giving a client that extra ten minutes of time or doing one more last-ditch bit of research is so much tougher and ultimately, rewarding.
Naturally we can find error in the opposite direction. There is always the temptation for some to become so tied up in detail as to miss the big picture. Sometimes the value of your partnerships is finding those other voices complementing the mirror side of your personality. Every big idea person should surround themselves with people who are good with details and vice-versa.
I often find myself avoiding details – they are so much more “real” and problematic than my grand plans. But it’s with the details we actually build plans. Behind those small choices are your character – informed perhaps by your faith, your sense of morality or your humanity, and hopefully something more joyful than a mere protestant work ethic.
Whatever your motivation, the details are what carry your brand message forward and shine through your business plan. It’s not what you say you are going to do that gives life to your business, it’s the things you actually do, the way you treat clients, your fairness and integrity that gives your business its personality.
Because in the long run, your travel practice will walk and talk exactly as you do.
Richard Earls is the Publisher of Travel Research Online, an online travel industry resource dedicated to enhancing the professional lives of travel agents.