Tell us about your business…
Travel and Trek Limited is a specialist adventure travel company operating in eight countries around the world. Our core activity is trekking, ranging from the desert to high altitude and glaciers to wildernesses.
We offer anything from individual bespoke itineraries, to family adventures to groups and charity challenges. We only offer trips we have personal experience of, which means we’re able to provide very detailed knowledge of the conditions, which can be extremely challenging.
How did you come to start up?
During my 33-year army career I loved the adventure activities and became a qualified mountain leader and Arctic survival instructor. I led many expeditions so combining those skills with my military organisational ability seemed a natural progression when I left the army in 2006.
How has the business grown since then?
Initially I was a sole trader, then my wife joined me in the business and we became a limited company and acquired an ATOL licence in 2012. We have expanded into more countries and are far more able now having taught ourselves the mechanics of web design and build, accounting and marketing.
Can you run me through a typical day?
We’re either maintaining the business and all that entails with clients, or we’re out in the middle of some desert or up a mountain developing future products. If we can, we take our children – they are good guinea pigs.
What’s been the highlight for your business so far?
Still being here! The travel market is competitive and it makes me proud to see that we can hold our own among the big companies and the corporates.
What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a customer?
To take part in one of our treks in a wheelchair, through the Sahara Desert.
It was a challenge, but we made it work and it made national television.
What one thing couldn’t your business function without?
The internet. We are purely web-based. Given our laptop, portable hard drive, mobile phone and a wi-fi connection, we can operate from anywhere in the world.
And we frequently do!
What’s the best thing about working for yourself?
Flexibility and knowing it’s all our own work.
And the hardest part?
The buck stops here!
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
Everything I know now from marketing to website skills to accounting. But I think that’s called gaining experience and there’s no short-cut to that.
If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
Get an ATOL licence earlier.
How does your FSB membership help?
It’s comforting knowing there’s a wealth of business knowledge available.
Where will the business be in five years’ time?
It is difficult to predict as we are reliant on our products being in demand, and things change. The earthquake in Nepal in 2015 is an example, so too is the global terrorist threat. But travellers are resilient. They still go.
What do you do outside work?
I love to get out cycling – fresh air, fresh brain.