Another home business idea for a writer is a tour guide. You can run the business from your home, in your town or city. Research the history and locations and write up the guide which you will use to tell people about the area as you give the tour.
Tourism and travel are things we think about outside of our local area. We think about going somewhere and seeing the sites, the tourist traps, finding a great place to stay, to eat and to shop. How seldom we think about the tourism and tourists in our own area, right under our noses.
In fact, you could be setting up your own small business just showing people around your town. If you have been living there awhile you already know a lot of great places. If not, you can ask other locals where they have found great places for breakfast, best place to see a movie, best place to have a great view of the town and assorted other things a tourist would be happy to know about.
So, why not turn what you know into a business, a service you can offer?
Ideas for a Tourism Business
There are more tourism businesses than the bed and breakfast, lodging or restaurants. The sort of tourism you could do on your own are guided tours of your area. You might work with a specific genre like the haunted walk tours, garden tours, historical tours, eco-tourism and you can plan an event to attract tourists to your town. Or, you might work with a gimmick such as offering a tour from a hot air balloon, a pink limousine, something a little unusual and attention getting. Once you get an idea, the next step is to see how you can make it work – research the market, your available options and skills.
When you have your idea make local contacts like the historical society (and other local groups and societies with relevance to your niche), the Chamber of Commerce and a small business support group are good places to begin looking for people who can help you, inspire you and bring business your way once you are actually in business.
When you’re Ready…
Once you have an idea which interests you enough to drive your passion to make it work, you need to get on the practical side. Start with market research. Is the service you want to provide in demand/ needed in your area, or is there an already existing business which you would have to compete with or has someone else done it and failed?
Of course, market research is part of a business plan. So that is your next step. As you work on a business plan you look at the resources you need, the resources you have and the resources you can get. It’s a good way to iron out the details and find out if your idea can stand up and work in a practical, real way.
If you still feel good about your idea at this point your next step is to check with the city you live in and find out about any bylaws, regulations, permits, city codes, licensing, fire safety and any other laws to be considered for a tourism business. You will also need find out about what insurance coverage you will need for a business which deals with the public and how/ when you will be responsible for the people using your service.
Work out the details of the type of service you will offer, packages, tours, group discounts, how do you handle reservations, what types of payment will you accept and so one. Work with family and friends to have a trial run of your service a few times over. This way you will see what steps you may have missed while you were planning from the inside.
How will you find business, what advertising, promotion and marketing will you do? Can you afford all the marketing ideas you dream up or do you need to get thrifty and rely on people who know you to get you word of mouth business?
While working on your business plan you would have worked out some idea for the finances and the start up costs. Before you actually offer services you need to firm up all the financial details. If you have offers of financial aid, a partner in the business or anything else you need to get started make sure it is on paper, a sure thing you can completely count on. It’s a really good idea to have more money behind you than you think you will need. The unexpected will always crop up.
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