Episode 80:

Business Lifecycle - What to Prioritise and When

You can listen directly here. 


In this captivating episode, Roslyn Ranse is joined by the brilliant business strategist, Owen Cope, to embark on a deep dive into the intricate world of building a thriving service-based business. This captivating conversation revolves around the challenges and hurdles that business owners commonly face, and offers practical strategies and insights on how to overcome them with finesse. Owen kicks off the discussion by emphasising the utmost importance of understanding the underlying purpose and intention behind starting a business. He encourages entrepreneurs to allow their business to evolve over time while staying aligned with their core goals, ensuring a clear sense of direction.

Roslyn and Owen explore the essential components of effective prioritisation and focus. They shed light on the art of allocating time and resources wisely, enabling business owners to streamline their efforts and maximize productivity. Roslyn shares her valuable insights on the critical role of systems and processes in hiring and building a reliable team. She highlights the significance of finding individuals who can provide essential administrative support, thereby empowering business owners to concentrate on their areas of expertise and unlock their true potential.

In addition to addressing common mistakes made by service-based businesses, such as shouldering all responsibilities alone, Roslyn and Owen offer practical advice on how to overcome these challenges and build a sustainable and successful business. They delve into the concept of productising services, creating a consistent set of steps or offerings that not only streamline operations but also enhance efficiency and profitability. By adopting this approach, business owners can elevate their service delivery while reducing the need for reinvention with each new client engagement.

This episode serves as a treasure trove of knowledge, providing valuable insights for entrepreneurs in the service-based industry. Whether you're a seasoned business owner or just starting out, the wisdom shared by Roslyn and Owen is sure to inspire and guide you on your journey to building a service-based business that thrives. Tune in, take notes, and get ready to unlock the secrets of success in the dynamic world of service entrepreneurship.

Make sure you stay up to date with the podcast by subscribing and downloading our free resources and checklists to help you with your travel business. https://travelagentachievers.com/

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Links Mentioned in the Episode

LinkedIn - Owen Cope

Achievers Retreat Fiji 2023

Quotes from this Episode 

 "And often it's the person who is persistent and consistent, that will succeed where those with maybe natural given talent or natural, you know, sort of particular opportunities don't." - Owen Cope

“Because we're humans, and we like to achieve and we'd like to, you know, get things and we think that we should know. And the reality is, there is so much to know. And I would say to any business owner is be gentle on yourself. You know, that doesn't mean be lazy. And that doesn't mean good work. And that doesn't mean you know that you can just cruise through it, it means that you are human, and are remembering that everyone out there also your clients, your suppliers, your contractors, they're all human too. And we are not infallible. We are not robots. And I think that's a great thing.”  - Owen Cope

“We are humans, and we make mistakes, and we learn (and we're) and that's what makes us human. And I think you really want to be as yourself realising that you are working really hard and you are learning and the fact that you're connected to something like Travel Agent Achievers means you are in the top percentile of businesses because you're realising that you do have some things to learn and you are reaching out and you are making those connections and those learnings and it's just about implementing along the way and learning through every step. - Owen Cope

“For me, I really took it as a failure. Like, ah, I've let this person down. And as you say, it's okay to let people go and allow them to flourish in another role, you cannot carry that, you cannot carry that cost, you cannot carry that burden, it's just gonna stress you out even more. But to give it a good crack, and make sure that you are making that right decision.” - Roslyn Ranse

"Your business evolves very quickly over the first 6,12,18,24 months. And so, and enabling you to be flexible and allow the business to kind of, you know, use, you've got a vision of what you want it to be, but also allow the market to kind of guide that..."- Owen Cope

"And if you've got that lived experience, or you've done it with 30, or 40 clients, or 100 clients or 1000 clients, you're in a position to say, I know this is going to be a great experience for them." - Owen Cope



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"Business Life Cycle - What to Prioritise and When"


Roslyn Ranse: Hi, everybody, it's Ros here. Welcome back to another episode of Travel Agent, Achievers, the podcast. All things related to you and your travel business, helping you build the business that you absolutely deserve, you desire you dreamed of, and you are now making it happen. 

Today I have a very special guest. Somebody who means the absolute world to me, is also the partner of one of our previous guests. So you can imagine pretty incredible, right? Because I only have the greatest here on the podcast, I would love to welcome my dear friend but also incredible business strategist, Owen Cope. Owen, let me give you a bit of background: he mentors and guides, individuals and businesses to develop a scalable solution for business success and growth. He believes that businesses should be rewarding and fulfilling, and a place for people to work but also bring their best selves to play each day. I love that idea of play. Own helps business owners and leaders see their challenges clearly. Yep, he'll call you out on it. But he then partners with them to creatively and strategically designed solutions that does deliver sustainable and replicable business results. He is the master at driving accountability at all levels for individual and business outcomes. And I can't say anything more than that because it says it all. Owen, welcome to the Travel Agent Achievers podcast. I am so glad that you are finally here my friend.

Owen Cope: Hi Ros. Hi, everyone. I am very glad to be here too. Very excited. It's great.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah. Now this for you I know is out of your comfort zone because you are very much somebody who plays behind the scenes and is almost like I don't please don't take this the wrong way because you know that I love you. It's almost like the Jiminy Cricket that sits on what's his name's shoulder. You know, Pinocchio’s friend. I didn't do “Geronimo”? No, yeah, yeah,

Owen Cope: I know where you're going with that.

Roslyn Ranse: Do you know where I'm going? Because you are, like, championing business owners, but you are also behind the scenes, giving them the strategy and the tools and the resources and really helping helping business owners have those aha moments. And I have seen you at work working with many, many business owners over the years. And I have to say, you do incredible work for so many people. And I think if I was to call out a few names, which I'm not going to, I think those listeners here, you wouldn't even have any idea that is actually Owen behind the scenes, giving people the strategy and the know how and the NASS and the accountability to take things to the next level. So I am absolutely honoured that you have joined me today. Because I know that this is a little bit out of your comfort zone. It's not something you would normally do, right?

Owen Cope: No, no, it's not. It's not it is definitely something and I talk about with my teams and my clients is you should always stretch yourself. And so, you know, when the opportunity presented itself, I said, yeah, absolutely loves to help them over stretch myself. So.

Roslyn Ranse: Well, that's it. I mean, you are somebody who loves to help everybody else. So if we can do anything for you, please let us know. Because I know that you give and give and give incredible value to so many people. Now I'm just gonna dive straight into it today because I love how our community is able to ask questions and then get the results that they need by taking action. It's something that I really believe in. We need to learn. But we also need to implement. And if we don't have that implementation or action, progress isn't then made and we can often get caught up in our head. So you've worked with hundreds if not 1000s of business owners over the year, over the years. And this even goes back into your previous career of working was it with KPMG or?

Owen Cope: Accenture.

Roslyn Ranse: Accenture. And so what was your role in that it was it like strategy?

Owen Cope: Yeah, so actually was involved in all the things that Accenture does so you know, tech strategy, implementation, big sys implementations for team management. So I was able very fortunate to get an exposure across a wide range of businesses very early on in my career and dealing with C-level executives really quickly and having to get in and understand businesses very, very quickly, because you sort of dropped in as an expert, and like, you gotta get things running. So that was a really fantastic grounding. And then I moved to realestate.com, where I was the senior exec there involved with a lot of the business acquisitions, a lot of people don't know that REA group actually has a lot of stuff all over the world. And so we've got was able to see a lot of things from a perspective of how our businesses acquire other businesses, and how do you integrate them. And then I was to OIC, to the to the CTO, where we implemented a lot of the work across the globe with with all the tech, so it was a great, great experience, then into my business.

Roslyn Ranse: Then into your own business where you've helped 1000s of business owners. Now, small business owners like just hearing you say that I'm like, C-suite, CTO, like, acronyms, which work in big business. And so our audience here with Travel Agent Achievers is small business owners, which is I know the space that you love to play in now and help business owners because it is an area that can be perceived as having quite a lot of failure, as well. Do you know what the details are around that for small business owners?

Owen Cope: Yeah, but the statistics are changing all the time. But it's generally 80 to roughly to 80% of businesses that start small businesses that don't make it through one to two years. It's in the small one percentage that make it to a million dollars in revenue, and even smaller that make it $10 million of revenue. And so we're talking sort of 1% 2% kind of businesses that exist at that level, or indeed make it to 10 years in existence. And a lot of it, a lot of it comes down to not being connected to people who you know, that understand how to work, thinking that they've come perhaps from a criminal corporate environment, and not realising that all the other associated activities that occur, like getting things paid, and getting people hired and writing the processes and doing all those kinds of things, they all need to happen. And now as you as a single business owner, or as a small team, you have to do all those things. And so the transition sometimes can be a little bit challenging. And it's important, like the the members that are in your group are connected with a community that can help them navigate those kinds of challenges.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah, and this is one of the reasons why I started Travel Agent Achievers and the coaching programs or the mentoring programs and the online courses and those sorts of things is because of those statistics. But also just seeing the amount of people who were struggling, leaving either a retail office or coming into the travel industry and not having those business fundamentals or understanding all of the things that need to happen. So you've seen that time and time again, I'd love to ask you, where do you see business owners get stuck, even in those first couple of years? Because for me, my first thing is surround yourself with people who either do it better or know more than you do so that you can learn and implement. But what do you see some of the areas that business owners in general get stuck?

Owen Cope: Yeah, it's, there's a wide range of them, obviously. But business owners get stuck for a number of reasons. One being, they're not clear on why they're actually doing what they're doing. A lot of them to jump out and go, I'm going to start a business because it sounds like a good idea. Or it's, you know, and it is and it's a great idea. However, there it is really important to go, why? Why am I actually doing this and what's the intention, and people talk about vision and mission and things and they are all vitally important. But I would encourage anyone who sort of in the first few years of their businesses to have at least a think about what it is and why you're in business. You don't need to really fine tune it all into the nitty gritty, because that will evolve over time. So being understanding why you're in business, and what you're actually trying to achieve helps you get clear on where you should be focusing. And so that's a really important important part. And don't be afraid to allow that to evolve. Another thing that I see people get stuck in is there's so much coming at them all at one time. There's the bills need to get paid, and then I need to deliver to the clients and I need to sell more I need to find new clients and then I need to work out my team and that kind of stuff. If you're not used to it can be very overwhelming. And that's a case of really just dipping down and saying I need to prioritise. And then how do you prioritise? Well, that's about understanding, again, coming back to what are you trying to achieve? And also having the support around you to understand what you need to be focusing on what time. 

What I see often is businesses trying to solve problems that are not their current problems. And by that, I mean, they're thinking too far down the track, we're thinking six months, 12 months, two years, five years. And for example, they're saying, oh, I need to focus on getting on my I've heard processes are important. And they are, I don't want to let people know that they're not important, they are important. But if you are a single preneur, running a business, you don't need to develop processes for $100 million business and 1000 staff, that's just not you know, so if you find yourself putting in the early stages, too much time into one particular area, for example, processes, at the at the risk, or at the area of diminishing the activity around sales or delivery, or those kinds of things, you know, you're a little bit out of whack. So it's important to right size. And by that I mean, do enough to keep you moving forward, but not too much that dissuade you from the core path. A lot of people might say to me, and they go up, but I'm really busy, I'm really busy doing this. And I'm really busy doing that I'm just like, great, but are those things actually moving you towards your end goal. And often they're not, because they're focusing on things that they either feel comfortable with, or that they can feel that they can keep busy with. But they're actually avoiding the key things that actually need to be done.

Roslyn Ranse: So just, I love that, bringing it back to, yes, the busyness but also the processes and systems because it is something that I talk about a lot and say, Yes, you need to have systems and processes in your business. But the time that it becomes absolute paramount is when you are looking to hire staff. And when you are looking to get people to come in to support you in your travel business. And there are easy ways to create systems or to get those processes in place so that you can teach and train somebody else to do them exactly the way that you do them that don't take up hours. Because I think for me, what I see is that there are so many people that just get caught up in the, “it needs to be perfect.” But it's also going to take hours and hours of time to record the video to do this to do that, like the whole process. And I'm like, it doesn't have to be that way. But when we're talking about in the busyness, so can you just give me a quick snapshot of what, you know, a business growth journey looks like? And then let's talk about where the travel professionals currently are and how we can support them.

Owen Cope: Yeah, absolutely. There is a concept called the business life cycle, which has multiple different kinds of iteration, as in, everyone's got their own take on it. But it basically takes businesses at different phases of growth from the right at the beginning, which is right the startup through to the really, really big organisations, you know, like Amazon, or Microsoft, or, you know, the banks, they're all at the other end of the lifecycle. And each of those phases help us understand what we should be focusing on at that time. And so, you know, you might say, Okay, we've got startup, and sometimes they referred, we were referred to it when we work is we call it seed, but others call it our birth, you know, their business birth, and then it moves through to, you know, growing into a little toddler, and then into a into a teenager where as we say it's seed and evolution and growth, it doesn't really matter in terms of the names. But what it does mean what is, it is important is that you understand that there are different things that need to be focused on at each stage of the business.

And from my understanding of talking to you previously and being around Travel Agent Achievers, most of your businesses that are in our in the group would be at the first or second maybe the third level of growth. And this comes back to what I was talking about before when they're focusing on things that are in phase four, or five or six, they're spending time on problems that just aren't in their world, whereas they should be focusing back down on the first and second things like Have we got a regular flow of sales? Yeah. Is that, Is that coming in? Like, do we have the sales coming in? Yes. Okay, we do. Right? Are we able to repeat delivery on those sales? How are we optimising those sales? So as we move into, have we got something that people are buying? And have we got something that we're happy to sell? Yep. And that's working on a consistent basis, we now then need to move to the next level, which is how do we consistently deliver on that? What people do we need around us? And that's the time that we would start thinking about team, who do we hire for team and one of the key questions that comes up for me all the time is who do I hire? And when do I hire and how do I hire? 

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah. I get that all the time.

Owen Cope: I know Ros, you're going to go through a lot of that information in detail, but at a high level, people need to understand that they you're the brilliance in your business initially as an individual and so what we want to do is into moving into the next phase is to say who do I need around to me to help me do it do my brilliance. And often that is someone who can support you to do the day to day, take some of the often administrative burden off or can free up your time to what I refer to and a lot of people refer to as your sphere of genius, the thing that you're really good at, that's the thing you should focus on. And so should we should be looking at team members, or part time contractors or whatever, like a bookkeeper or an accountant or something like that, that can take some of those administrative tasks off. So that allows you to focus on what you need to do. Your then position when you're delivering, you can understand, okay, this is what's optimal. And I can look for areas that I can supplement additional team and businesses as you're growing, to make that easier and faster for you.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah, okay. So looking at the growth phase, so that's right at the beginning. One of the things you'll get the seed or the concept like the initial phases, really being able to focus on sales, because I always say you need sales in order to have a business like without sales, you've got nothing. But that is the primary focus to get bookings through the door, the marketing and the sales generation behind that. Once you've got that, it's then in looking at how do you repeat, rinse and repeat, get more of those that come through to optimise that, as you said before, to have that flow of sales, but to optimise it, and say, how can we do this to the best of our abilities, which then brings in your some systems or organisational structure.

So we have our 67 steps to processing a booking so that every single client gets exactly the same service delivery and opportunity to work with us. But we know how it all works. So we're not missing a booking deadline, or we're not missing a deposit or a final balance or ticketing, time limit or something like that, specifically to the travel world. And then from that continuing in that delivery, and making sure that we get the people to support us, that can help in areas outside of our zone of genius. So if as a travel professional, your zone of genius, which I would probably say for everybody that has their own travel business, or their mobile consultant, their zone of genius is in talking to the clients and getting those sales, they are the face of the business. But getting support behind the scenes doing things that either you don't enjoy doing, you don't like doing or where it takes you a lot longer to move forward. Would you say that that'd be so the right sort of process?

Owen Cope: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That's what that's exactly. Well, well said. Ros. Yep.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah. So in that first, that first phase, and hiring somebody, we have, again, for everybody, and we'll link to it in the show notes as well. “50 things that you can outsource to get support in your travel business.” And you can go through and say these are the things that I like doing and I want to keep doing these are the things that I don't like doing. I want to get help from so you can break that into groups. But for you and your experience, oh, and what do you suggest is the first sort of person or the first contractor? Or where should we focus initially, to get support?

Owen Cope: Yeah, so you really want to make sure that you are hiring someone who is administratively supportive. So you know, it's that kind of an, you can phrase it however you like. But it's an executive assistant, a personal assistant, that kind of thing that can take some of those administrative things off your desk, that's kind of the first, the first to free up your time. Because you should be spending, as you said before, as you should be spending your time out there working with the clients, you know, those kind of things. And so you can have someone who comes on board and takes care of that administrative load for you, not all of it, but a fair chunk of it, which frees you up to then be thinking about what's next for the business, that's going to be a really big hire for you. And in that case, you don't need to be, you know, running with a $300,000, HR Headhunter recruiter, you know, a, that's not that's all we need to do is just find someone who thinks sort of roughly similar to you, you feel you can work with that, that can follow instructions that can be organised. Those are the kinds of things you're looking for. And don't be afraid to give it a try. Like, you're not going to make the perfect hire every time and you want to treat everybody as beautiful humans that they are and if the person comes in and it works in the business great. And if it doesn't, then that's cool, too. But so many people sit on the edge and going oh, I'm not sure who I should hire and what if I hired the wrong person and oh, my goodness is that none of that really matters that the skill is in getting out and doing it and bringing them on. You will learn so much from the pro assess.

And, you know, often people say to me, Oh, I get really worried if I have to let someone go. And I say to him, that's a good thing, that's a good really good thing because it says that you're a human, and that you respect the other person, then you understand that they've got commitments and things like that. However, if they're not a right fit for your business, then that's okay. And we want to move through that experience. And yes, you can learn from Travel Agent Achievers, and you can learn from other people about some tips and hints and tips about who to hire and what the credit characteristics is, but I really want people to go, I'm just gonna jump in, have a go have a go with it, and see how it goes. You'll know very quickly, whether someone's feet or not. And I often say to people, which is a phrase acRos HR, or the worldwide is, you know, hire slow fire fast, which is, you know, spend a bit of time thinking about it. But if but the point is, is if they're not a right fit, treat them with respect, treat them with all humanity, but move them out through out of your business to let them flourish in another environment.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah, it's funny that you mentioned that because it's immediately bought two things to mind for me. One is that I'm not immune to this, I don't hire perfectly every time as well. And I've had team members that have come into my business that are just gone, I thought that they were the right hire. I may have gone with my gut, I may have gone with the resume, I may have gone with the interview, but it hasn't worked out. And I think that that's okay. For me, I really took it as a failure. like, ah, I've let this person down. And as you say, it's okay to let people go and allow them to flourish in another role, you cannot carry that, you cannot carry that cost, you cannot carry that burden, it's just gonna stress you out even more. But to give it a good crack, and make sure that you are making that right decision. So hiring slow knowing exactly the role that you are hiring for. There's so many other bits and pieces. But it also reminds me, I was having a chat with a friend the other day, and she said, I've just hired this person, they had to let them go after three weeks. And I was like, wow, that's that's quite a quick turnaround. And she said, "yeah, I hired them. But they were exactly like me. And I needed somebody who was organised. And that one did have structure. And this person was like me. And so we just were getting all up in the air. And it just all turned to chaos." And she said, "and I just had to let it go because it wasn't the right fit." And I said, well, good on you for making that decision really quickly and seeing that you were both similar, and therefore that wasn't going to help you, you in your business, because that's where you have to stay. But also to know that that wasn't the right fit with that other person to allow them to go into something else. So thank you for bringing that up. Because I think that that's really important and timely to have that conversation as well with ourselves and allow it to just, “it’s okay”.

Owen Cope: It's okay. It's okay. And most of the successful business owners that you know and see around the world have, and I know this is a funny comment to say have failed their way to success. You know, they've made mistakes, and they've learned they've made mistakes and learn and, and the thing is, they get back up again and go again. And that's where, you know, you'll see many phrases and quotes, which is, you know, persistence, being persistent, and being consistent, pays off hugely amongst, you know, the businesses and every endeavour. And often it's the person who is persistent and consistent, that will succeed where those with maybe natural given talent or natural, you know, sort of particular opportunities don't. Because it's that consistency and just continue to learn. I learn step forward and learn step forward, learn step forward, it's really important.

Roslyn Ranse: Do you see that a lot of business owners beat themselves up along the way?

Owen Cope: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And we're not, no one's immune to that, because we're humans, and we like to achieve and we'd like to, you know, get things and we think that we should know. And the reality is, there is so much to know. And I would say to any business owner is be gentle on yourself. You know, that doesn't mean be lazy. And that doesn't mean good work. And that doesn't mean you know that you can just cruise through it, it means that you are human, and are remembering that everyone out there also your clients, your suppliers, your contractors, they're all human too. And we are not infallible. We are not robots. And I think that's a great thing. You know, like, I don't want to get off on a tangent, but you're talking about AI and all those kinds of things there is that kind of, you know, this perfection sort of desire. And it's like, no, this is not we are humans, and we make mistakes, and we learn and we're and that's what makes us human. And I think you really want to be as yourself realising that you are working really hard and you are learning and the fact that you're connected to something like Travel Agent Achievers means you are in the top percentile of businesses because you're realising that you do have some things to learn and you are reaching out and you are making those connections and those learnings and it's just about implementing along the way and learning through every step.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah, I hear you with that. And one thing for me so with Travel Agent Achievers, I'd like you I just want to give them everything. I want to give all of our listeners everything I want to give all of our men is everything. I want to help them every step of the way. But I also know that that is physically impossible. So for you with all of the, you know, people that you work with, and the business owners, and you know, they come to you, and you have the strategy and the accountability, and you know which way to go next, and moving forward in the different ways there, but they cannot come to you to have all of their answers. resolved, right. So for me, I say, if you are specifically needing help in graphic design, or Canva, then see that expert, because I can't teach you in all of those things, I can work with you in this framework, would you agree that it's also an opportunity for us as business owners to get the help you need in the specific area, make sure that you've got people that you can go to, but to if you need to hone in on one specific thing, you go and see the specialist in that one specific thing?

 Owen Cope: Yeah, absolutely. There, there probably wasn't ever a time maybe hundreds of years ago where someone could be, and I'm talking about business, science, anything, you could be an expert, and know everything in that topic area, because there wasn't sort of that much to know. Now, that your specialisations like even if we go back, so 10,15 years SEO was a concept. And you could be a sort of general Digital Marketer person and know everything about SEM, know everything about, know everything about you know, every other bit of digital marketing..

Roslyn Ranse:  And now, sorry, let me just jump in there. SEO is search engine optimization. Sorry.

Owen Cope: Yeah, apologies, yes, search engine optimization. So making sure that your web site is structured in a way that can get traffic to the site organically. SEM is referred to as and look, I'm not an expert in this idea, either. So I may be sort of saying the language. But SEM is Search Engine Marketing, which is generally the ads that you set, you see, so the ones that you pay for. So I was trying to make a delineation between organic search, which is the content on your website and traffic coming there, because they find you in the search results, versus SEM, which is where you pay to put ads against the search results, which is more a paid ad. And we haven't even talked about sort of Facebook, marketing, all that kind of stuff. But my point being is now each of those verticals, us dig specialists in themselves. And so the answer to your question arises, yes, absolutely. You definitely want to seek out there the specialist information for your business at the right time, you also want to right size, that specialisation because there are. And let's take search for an example. There are specialists who work with large corporates, with million dollar budgets. And there are specialists who work with small businesses with $1,000 budgets. And the strategies they employ and the way they go about it. And the way they think about it are different. So it's important not only to find the specialist, but also to go for specialist that is right size for you. Otherwise, you can find yourself spending far too much on a strategy again, that is ahead of where you need to be.

Roslyn Ranse: Ah, absolutely. I'm so glad that you said that. Because there are specialists that do a range of different things, but at different levels. I was just talking to another girl over the weekend. And her zone of genius is in helping small service based businesses become known in their local area. And I love that as a niche and an area of opportunity just to help service based businesses become that go to person. Now for you and I we work quite on a broad range of subjects and subject matter. And we know a lot about a lot of different things. But having those people in our corner as well that can also help support our particular clients. I love that we have those connections and just continue to learn who's doing what and how they can help our communities as well and the people in our orbit. I love it. I absolutely love it. 

Now, can I just touch on being service based businesses, which is, you know, those that are part of our community and our listeners with Travel Agent Achievers. If somebody was to ask me, if I wanted to build another million dollar service based business, in in sales are probably saying no. You know whether you're a travel professional and your business is selling a million dollars, I also caught up with a girl last week and she's like, Ros, I'm so glad that I went to any of your events last GA because I turned over $6 million. Now she's by herself. And I was like, That is amazing. Like, let's just celebrate that and how awesome you did. But if somebody was to ask me if I wanted to recreate what I have done in the service based world, I'd probably be like No, thank you because there is so much work that goes into it. And there are so many things to do. But I think that I've certainly made it a lot easier over the years, the starting out phases where it was It's really heavy and a lot of things to do. And I felt like I had to do everything for everyone all the time. So what are some of the key things or mistakes that you see service-based businesses make?

Owen Cope: Yeah, so this is a really great question. Service businesses are generally really good at delivering service that's and it startup, it's because of the individual themselves. They're motivated, they're passionate, they're really good at what they do. They're really good at connecting with clients, and they're really good at delivering a great service. What that often creates, is that mentality, that mindset of I have to do it all myself, because I'm so good at it or, or I can just do it and and people can't do it quite as good as me or, and all those kinds of things that are untruths that we tell ourselves. And so one of the things that I would certainly encourage any startup service business is to understand what is the piece that makes the difference in the business? What, what is the component that is actually driving the business forward. And often it is that personal connection during the sales component, or during the initial understanding of the client's needs and requirements. 

They actually don't mind this is the clients, they don't mind if a lot of the back end stuff is done by somebody else, as long as they are feeling taken care of. And they're and the service that they're looking for is there. So the the challenge is for the business owner is to say, Well, what parts? Do I absolutely have to do myself? And what parts can I do? Or can I outsource slash bring a team member in for and as we talked about earlier in the in the show, that's an areas of administration of other bits and pieces that aren't as visible to the client, that can certainly be done very quickly by someone else. And that's, that's gives us a place to start services business, often also have this concept of I've got to exchange time for money, like, you know, it's like, I've got to spend so many hours doing this. And whilst that's true in the right in the beginning, very quickly, we want to look about how do we? And I know that sounds funny, because we're talking about service businesses, and how do we productize our service delivery? And people like what does that mean? Oh, and it's like, well, how do I build a consistent set of services or steps, right, that turns into a little offering like, this is my again, please forgive me, because I'm not in the travel space. But this is perhaps my Hawaii package approach. This is my travel adventure approach. This is my eco tourism approach. And then they can be particular packages, that you know what you do so so yes, you are creating a wonderful service for your client. But you're not recreating the wheel every time, you know, you've got a set of steps that you're working on. And they either can be publicly, you marketed packages and products, or they're kind of internal products that you that you have. And this saves you time. It, it increases the efficiency of the business, and ultimately the profitability of the business because you're not spending so much time. And you're not making as many errors because you've done this process and steps before. So they're kind of like internal products is what I mean by when we think about productising our business.

Roslyn Ranse: Yeah, so is that I mean, for me, when I'm talking about the nature of specialisation for travel professionals, I say it over three different things. So one, you're either talking to a type of consumer. So as a person, a type of consumer, too, I am focusing on an experience. So like you just mentioned, like the adventurer, the ecotourism. So I'm focused on the experience, so I can specialise in that. And then I can productise or I can find exactly what my approach is to it, or the third one is a destination. So I am then all in and I can make that as best as I possibly can and promote in either of those three ways because what I'm hearing and what I understand from a travel business owner as well is, but I just want to help everybody explore this incredible planet that we live on. And I'm so excited about it. But that then becomes really heavy and time consuming. Because you do want to do everything for everyone. And even in my own experience, like I love helping my clients. But the moment I get an email saying “Ros, I love you can you just help me book an FIT for my honeymoon and here's the itinerary that I want to do and I want to go to these different places.” If I haven't been there and experienced it myself, I immediately and this is like in a split second go. Oh my goodness, this is gonna take so much time. And that becomes then a wait for me. So as a service business owner, I love that you've just said bye. Behind that, you know, niche or that area of opportunity and productise it, whether it is internal, or whether it is external.

Owen Cope: Yeah, it changes the mindset. And I know you do talk a lot about mindset. And you've had other mindset people talking, it changes the mindset of way, the way you approach your business. And it gives you also the permission to respectfully say no, to potential clients that aren't the right fit. Now, do I suggest doing this in the first three weeks of your business? No. Three weeks, or even the first three months.

Roslyn Ranse: First three months? It could be even the first three years? Yeah, maybe not. 

Owen Cope: Yeah, then you do want to explore and it because part of it, why what I've seen over the many years, and many hundreds and probably even 1000s of business is that your business evolves very quickly over the first 6,12,18,24 months. And so, and enabling you to be flexible and allow the business to kind of you know, use, you've got a vision of what you want it to be, but also allow the market to kind of guide that if you happen to be getting. And again, please forgive me if I don't use the correct language in the travel agency. But if I had in high school, all of a sudden open up my doors and say, I'm out in the travel agent business, and you just consistently get a hold of people that love to do adventure travel, like, that's kind of what you do. And that's where you come to work, or maybe that's a sign, you know, and we're not necessarily into science or whatever, but then there's an indication from the market that your approach and what they need is a really good fit. And so that can help guide you towards sort of making that that kind of specialisation, so you've got to allow the business to evolve into what the market wants as well. And that enables you to get better and more specialised at what you do. And you everyone's heard the analogy before, you know, you know, who gets paid more than the, you know, the generalist or a specialist? Yep, nothing is wrong with either approach. And, you know, it's a case of, but the specialist becomes an expert in in that particular area, and therefore, they can get really good in that space. And often, and again, I might be speaking at a turn, but in the travel space, you guys want to be looking for where can I add value? Where can I you know, because we are competing in some respects against, you know, the the online booking starts and all the rest of it. But you know, what you guys are far as I understand one of the things, one of the many things is that specialised information, it's like, don't do that, do this, or have you considered doing this, or if you do it in this sequence, it's going to be a much better experience. And if you've got that lived experience, or you've done it with 30, or 40 clients, or 100 clients or 1000 clients, you're in a position to say, I know this is going to be a great experience for them. And that's a win for the client, and it's a win for you.

Roslyn Ranse: Absolutely. Wow. Okay. Oh, and I think that this has been absolute gold, there is so much not only information, but nuggets of things that we can really use and implement in our own travel businesses. 

Now, this isn't just a one podcast. And you know, thank you very much for being here. Oh, and I love that you are so willing of your time, your information, your knowledge and your expertise. So for anybody that is listening, and has loved this session so far with Owen, and I just want to let you know that Owen we'll be joining us in Fiji at our Travel Agent Achievers retreat in November, where Owen and I are going to sit together and we're going to be running some hot seat sessions, you'll get the opportunity to work one on one with Owen, and he's going to help you build that plan, potentially challenge you on some of the things that you're doing currently in your travel business, but giving you the opportunity to bounce ideas and see what might be the next step for you throughout your business, business growth and the stages that you're at as well. So I am absolutely thrilled that you said yes to join us as one of our guest speakers, but also to be there for the whole experience as well for Travel Agent Achievers in November, I am thrilled that you're coming.

Owen Cope: Oh, very pleased Ros, very, very excited to be there looking forward to having an amazing time helping lots of business owners in a wonderful location. And yeah, just getting in there and actually make, makes make some changes. Let's make it, make some things happen. And I'm really looking forward to meeting all of the members that are going to be there. I know it's going to be a fun time and also a really, you know, business expanding time as well. So really looking forward to it was

Roslyn Ranse: Awesome. So if anybody wants to know more about that, you can check out the website travel agent achievers.com/fiji and you'll grab all the details. All the information is also there on our website now and I don't want to, you know, put you on the spot. However, if people do want to connect with you or ask you questions, is there a good place for people to find you?

Owen Cope: Probably the best place is just on LinkedIn at the moment. LinkedIn profile just Owen Cope. You'll find me you'll find a picture. And yeah, you can definitely connect there and send me a message. And we can we can go from there.

Roslyn Ranse: Love it. Well, if if anybody does want that information, which I encourage you to connect with, oh, and see all the things that he is up to, as well, and to join us inside our achievers, mentoring program and mastermind where Owen, and I will be joining us for some different sessions throughout the next 12 months as well. 

Thank you Owen for being here today. I really appreciate you. Everybody will be able to check out all the details on our show notes as well. And thank you for sharing your insight, your knowledge, your expertise and experience with our community. I absolutely adore everything that you do. And I'm so grateful for you in my life and that of everybody within Travel Agent Achievers. Thank you.

Owen Cope: You're most welcome, Ros. It's been an absolute joy. And I trust it's been helpful for you and because and I definitely look forward to as appropriate doing more of these into the future and connecting people in in Fiji. Yeah, really, really, really good. Good, fun.

Roslyn Ranse: Awesome. All right, everybody. How I know, I know for me, I have taken away so much from that episode myself. I just wanted to say to you, if you are listening right now that you can get through the hard times. There is a business lifecycle. So if you feel as though you're in a different phase at the moment, or you're not sure what the next steps are, then please reach out. I am here and always willing to help you. And I know that Owen is also there. So if you've got questions, please ask us. We are absolutely open to having that conversation and seeing where you might need to go next in your business. Connect with us through LinkedIn, through our social media channels. Thank you for being here. If you've loved this episode, please rate us, review, send us something on social media or also in the platform that you are listening to this episode. Now. All of that feedback really helps me in designing the best podcast for you and your travel business. Thanks so much for being here. Have an awesome day. And I look forward to catching up with you very, very soon. Bye for now.