So here we are, now proud owners of our own dive business, all ready to start counting the money and living the “high life”!.
Well it wasn't quite like that, as we needed to get a web site sorted, try to figure out how best to move the business forward, find decent premises and so on and so forth. The first part was easy, just get some nice photos, write some blurb about us and the diving etc and pay the bill!. As with all new web sites this took a little time and with me not being “tech savvy” I left all this to Kathrin and she did a great job and after just 4 months we could finally see Kathrins creation. It paid dividens as we very quickly started to see on line bookings increase and for us, this was important as we were paying a silly amount in commission to 2 major tour operators for almost all our bookings. Moving the business forward was a longer job as we had “inherited” a system that was based on the “numbers game” rather than a quality product. Over a period of another 6 months or so we slowly changed the thinking and mindset of the staff we had inherited from “that's the way we have always done it” to one of “ this is how we do it now”. It wasn't fully accepted by all and so we did “part company” with one member of staff. Our business model was based on “quality, not quantity” and to reenforce this we ditched all of the equipment we had inherited over the first 2 years. It was a huge expense and a real drain on the operation, but finally we were proud of the equipment we were giving out to our divers!. (not something we could say for those first years!).
The business itself was located in what could only be described as a small and not highly thought of hotel in the area. The facilities were poor, (putting it politely), small, (I've seen bigger bathrooms), and worst of all SUPER expensive!. This had to change, but like everything we needed to ensure we found the right location first and this took almost 2 years. Now we have a large, clean, bright shop literally 100 yards from the lobby of a “well thought of resort” and we benefit from a large “walk in” business as well.
There were times, especially in the first couple of years, where we sat down and wondered if we had made the right choices, and even discussed selling up and going home, but we persevered and battled our way through the hard times and now we can sit here and, on occasions, count the money!
It's been a struggle at times, but we wouldn't have changed it for the world. We have a great operation, great staff and a great life and I have a great partner, in Kathrin, who has been the “voice of reason” on more than one occasion over the years. I could not have done it without her by my side. So that's how we got to “live the dream”!. And soon you can read Kathrins story here.
Safe diving and watch out for the Safari blog post from our 2019 2 week Maldives trip on MV Eco Blue.