December 19, 2023

The Impact of Travel on Small Business Success: A Personal Journey - Part 1

Running two small businesses in the scuba industry keeps me constantly on the move. Channel Islands Dive Adventures (CIDA), my side hustle based in Oxnard, CA, offers local dive trips and scuba vacations in diverse locations. Juggling this with my full-time venture, Ultralight Camera Solutions (ULCS), which manufactures camera accessories for underwater cinematography, adds a layer of complexity. ULCS requires attendance at trade shows, visits to current dealers, and meetings with potential ones. Despite the demanding schedule, I find ways to manage both businesses, seeking continuous improvement and personal growth.

The key to navigating this dual business ownership lies in the desire to excel and evolve. While financial success is rewarding, it's not my sole motivation. Instead, I prioritize experiences and learning from others, valuing the insights gained from different lifestyles. This broader perspective enriches my ability to lead my businesses and be a better employer.

Many small business owners struggle to step away due to various reasons, such as a lack of reliable employees, a desire for personal control, or financial constraints. However, refusing oneself time off can lead to burnout, stress, and other issues affecting both personal and professional life. This is why I believe that traveling is not just a luxury but a strategic tool for enhancing small business efficiency and profitability. Below, I share the secrets that have proven effective for me and others in my network.

Secret 1: Invest in Your Business by Investing in People

Recognizing the distinction between $20.00 per hour jobs and $100.00 per hour jobs is crucial. Although it may seem daunting to hire employees when operating a small business, the reality is that you can't afford not to. Investing in reliable help pays off, as good employees bring a significant return on investment. This creates a win-win situation and allows for a much-needed break, knowing that the business is in capable hands.

Secret 2: Treat Employees with Respect and Trust

Creating a positive work environment involves treating employees with the same respect and trust one would expect for oneself. Providing fair compensation, flexible hours, and a safe work environment provides a healthy employer-employee relationship. Striking a balance and understanding priorities contribute to a work environment everyone likes.

Secret 3: Reprogram Your Perspective

Sometimes, a shift in mindset is necessary. Drawing inspiration from a past colleague named Jim, who transformed his outlook on employee training, can be enlightening.

I spent 31 years working for Ventura County as a mobile heavy equipment mechanic. In one of the departments I worked in, there was a crew supervisor named Jim. Whenever I encountered Jim, I noticed that he seemed a bit down at times. It turned out that Jim was facing a challenge – he was training his crew extensively in water work maintenance, but they would often leave for higher-paying jobs in a nearby city once they acquired the skills.

One day, I found Jim in a surprisingly good mood, so I asked him about it. He shared a valuable insight with me – he had shifted his perspective. Instead of viewing his role as training people to stay in the Waterworks department, he realized that his job was to equip them with skills that would enable them to pursue better opportunities elsewhere. From that day on, Jim's mood consistently improved.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson and one I always will remember. Sometimes, we need to step back, take a deep breath, and reassess our mindset. Jim's decision to change his perspective not only made him a happier supervisor but also reduced stress in the long run. It's a reminder that adjusting our thinking can lead to being a better leader and experiencing less stress overall.

In conclusion, traveling has played a big role in both my personal and professional growth. By constantly being aware of these secrets they have aided me in being a more effective business owner.

By sharing my secrets I hope that they will serve as valuable tools to others to become a better business owner and better individuals in their personal and family life.

See Part 2 "Unveiling the Remaining Secrets: Leveraging Travel for Small Business Success" for the other four secrets I will share.

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