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Is it time to take your business on a “date night”?

Hand on heart, how long has it been since you really looked at your business?

DFK articleRunning a business can become repetitive, comfortable and habitual – potential roadblocks for enhancing your bottom line profit.

Ask yourself the following questions

When was the last time you:-

  • Critically reviewed each of your service or product contracts?
  • Allocated an hour in your diary to update or assess your strategic plan?
  • Allocate half an hour in your diary to mentor a key staff member, review their performance or help them achieve their career goals?
  • Allocated two hours in your diary to brainstorm ideas to access a new market within your business or how to expand into an existing customer base?

Was it last week? Last month? Never? You were probably too busy organising a travel itinerary for a customer or talking to your web designer about some issues with the website or talking to the bank manager about trouble with internet banking. Yes these are bushfires that you as a business owner must put out everyday. Equally as critical as sorting out the internet banking so you can pay your staff, you must be spending time on your business not just in your business.

I know many couples who regularly have a “date night”, to break from the monotony of everyday life and to keep the marriage interesting. No kids, no phone calls, no hassles about who is picking up the dry cleaning, just a simple dinner out together like before life became so full of everyday chores. The same applies for your business. I am not suggesting that you need to sit down with your strategic plan on a Friday night, but you should schedule regular times in your diary away from the everyday business “chores” to work on strategic objectives.

Here are five ideas for a business “date night”
  1. Summarise all of the marketing you do and the associated costs. Write this up in a schedule and then record each customer you received from each marketing source. Each month assess how much business you generated from each marketing source. What was the return on this marketing investment cost? What worked and what didn’t? What should you change? What marketing should you stop doing?

  2. Review your expenses? How much does it cost you to open your doors each day? How many holiday packages do you need to sell to cover these costs and make a profit or to retire in 5 years?

  3. Review your systems. How efficient are they? Where can improvements be made? Is there paperwork you are handling more than once? Are your systems/processes documented?

  4. Are your staff performing effectively and productively? How can you improve their performance? Do they have KPI’s? If so are they achieving them?

  5. Read the book the E-Myth by Michael E Gerber. This is by far one of the best books I have read about business. It gives an insight as to how you as the best travel agent can become an entrepreneur and have the best travel business.

Set the time in your diary now. That’s the easy part. The next step is being true to yourself and honouring your appointment! This appointment is equally as important as the appointment you have with your next customer. It is too easy to ignore or shift these appointments to continue with daily business life but by being disciplined and allocating set times to work on the business each week your business will prosper and you will have more time (you will!) and you will have a healthier bottom line profit.

Kirsty PorteousDFK firms provide plain English advice, profit improvement plans, in-depth business coaching, board advice and much more to grow your travel business.

Kirsty Porteous is a Partner at DFK Crosbie in Newcastle. Her specialist interests are in external auditing and consulting services as well as financial reporting and strategic planning.

Contact today for a business consultation.


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