Tara Cappel is the founder of For the Love of Travel, a startup boutique travel company that offers unique, curated group trips for young adults and young professionals.

We asked Tara to share five lessons she’s learned over the past few months about what it takes to get a successful business up and running.

If you’re interested in starting a travel company, read through Tara’s lessons and then be sure to check out our tips on boosting your revenue for your travel business, and our list of resources for your travel company.

These lessons were originally shared on our Bplans Instagram profile. If you’d like to see more of our inspirational tips, quick business facts, and behind-the-scenes photos, be sure to follow us on Instagram today.

1. Do your research

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“Before starting FTLO Travel, I did 100+ hours of research. I studied every aspect of the travel/tourism industry and spent countless hours analyzing millennial travel trends.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to research the market, competition, legal issues, economic trends, consumer patterns, demand elasticity, and a million other aspects. If you learn as much as you can about the industry you want to enter before you actually enter it, it will save a lot of time and heartache. I still spend 10+ hours a week researching and learning about different aspects of the business.”

2. Don’t be afraid to pivot

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“After year one, your business will probably not look like what you laid out in your business plan. And that’s okay. You learn so much along the way and sometimes your ideas need tweaking.

Regardless of how noble your cause, you must go where the money is if you want an actual business, so you must be adaptable in how you achieve your mission. I never planned on offering weekend trips within the U.S., but it’s been hugely popular and a great way to help people make friends from their city as well as show them how fun group travel is.”

3. Use your network

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“I once watched a life-changing TED Talk about social movements. The first person to start doing something isn’t as important as the second person that validates the first person’s idea.

Tapping into your network is crucial. Ask friends and family to follow your social media. Send them emails that can share with their friends about your product/company. Give them flyers to bring to their offices. Encourage them to write reviews.

Do whatever you can to share your passion and get them so excited about your company that they talk to other people about it, because that third party endorsement is invaluable.”

4: Show your gratitude

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“I think it’s so important to let people know how much you appreciate their business/support/feedback, etc., especially when you’re starting a business. Your early supporters are your biggest asset—make sure they know how thankful you are to have them.

Respond to reviews. Follow up with people who offer you their business card. Write thank you notes. Bring your employees treats. I once sent a bouquet of flowers to an office manager who went above and beyond to help me. You would be surprised how many people aren’t doing this and how much it can set you apart and make people feel emotionally connected to your brand. Plus, it feels great when you do it!”

5: Hang in there (it’s going to take longer than you think)

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“Start early and try not to get discouraged when things aren’t moving as quickly as you thought they would.

Some days it feels like you’re on top of the world and everything is perfect, and then the next day it can feel like there are roadblocks everywhere you look and you question everything (and I mean everything) about the business and yourself. You’ll beat yourself up time and again and you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

The great thing about bad days is that they end. Tomorrow is a new day. And if you work your ass off and refuse to give up, eventually, you’ll get where you want to be.”

I hope you enjoyed these great tips from a successful travel company founder! If you’re thinking about starting your own travel company, check out our guide on how to start a travel business.

Do you have a question for Tara? Follow her on Instagram and connect with her there. Be sure to tell her you read her lessons on Bplans!

AvatarJonathan Michael

Jonathan is the Engagement Marketing Manager for Palo Alto Software, and has spent the last 9 years developing and implementing digital marketing strategies. During that time, he has learned that empathy and authenticity are strengths by which companies can effectively engage with individuals at every point throughout the customer journey.