Recently we sat down with Jack Young from Bike About.
Please provide some background details about your business
Bike About and Eco Adventure Group are a joint venture that provides tourism-based cycle tours for interstate, international & Local tourist and School Education programs predominantly based around cycling, but also covering a multitude of activities. Established in 1999, Bike About has become a trusted name and a profitable company employing up to 10 staff in cycle touring and outdoor education in South Australia. Eco Adventure Group was established in 2014, as a sub-brand within Bike About to focus on outdoor education allowing Bike About to recently launch its Velo de Vines product.
Bike About/ Eco Adventure Group is based in Woodside in the heart of the Mt Lofty Ranges and provides Outdoor Education and Cycle Tourism for the community and over 30 schools per year (metropolitan, regional, and interstate). Bike About has been a Commercial Tour operator for 15+ years & is Advanced Eco Accredited in recognition for raising awareness about environmental and community issues and ensuring ecologically sustainable tourism. Our service includes mountain biking and cycle touring camps, environmental sustainability & minimal impact camping, camps with a focus on geography, bush walking, cycling education (on & off road), bike maintenance, bike equipment and hire, adventure tourism and physical fitness.
What is your greatest business learning?
Can't underestimate the value of investing in Marketing through social media
Thinking I can do everything myself!!
To recognise the value of networking at a tourism level with conference attendance
What is your greatest business success?
We have had a few significant achievements. We have been successful for 20 years in this industry and we are still growing. We have expanded from school-based programs and bike to hire to luxury bike escapes (Velo de Vines) to support the growing tourism industry and we are now listed for the second year as finalists for two categories in the SA Tourism Awards. Hoping to take a medal this year.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I would have invested in Marketing a lot earlier
I would have set up on-line booking systems earlier
Asking for help, especially with our industry partners to help grow the business
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest business information and trends?
I have alliances with Adelaide Universities for training of students interested in tourism and outdoor education which keeps me in touch with industry expectations and I have membership and attend meetings with many organisations to keep informed about funding opportunities to further expand the business and I subscribe to relevant local and international magazines to keep abreast of cycling trends and community needs
Where have you sought business advice?
Initially I completed a Diploma in Business Management and I sought advice from other local successful outdoor industry partners. I have consulted with the SA Tourism Commission who have recently assisted with recommendations regarding on line booking systems and linked me in with international contacts in the tourism industry to analyse international travellers' requirements. Attending relevant business seminars has opened many doors by linking me in with new contacts and collaborations with government agencies.
What financial factors should be considered when wanting to grow a business?
Up to date business plan including needs analysis and business forecasting
Government funding opportunities
Having to balance the budget when customers do not pay on time
Concerns about bring the work in constantly and payment of staff
Do I want to commit to taking the business to the next level and expand it even further
What value do you place in business plans?
I developed my first business plan during my Diploma in Business Management and I have regularly updated it when I have applied for any government funding opportunities and to meet ongoing accreditation requirements. Business Plans are a living document and I review it almost on an annual basis to ensure you are keeping on track and focussed to obtain business outcomes.
What three things should someone consider before starting a business?
Is there a place in the market for your business idea? Make sure you do a market analysis.
You need to have financial backing
Being committed, passionate, confident in the product, be able to communicate effectively and be savvy in business management. At the end of the day you must balance the books and make money.
Be open to collaboration