Each year I plan my goals and objectives for work and for life. If you were interested in reading my personal goals then feel free to have a nose over here. You may wonder why I would want to tell the world that one of my personal goals is to make sure I clean my teeth at night, but for me, the act of making my goals public gives me the motivation to complete my goals. The one year that I didn't make my goals public was the year that I failed miserably, which also included elements of 2019 goals.
At the beginning of 2019, I was not able to publically announce all the ambitions that I had for Adventure Geek as this felt very disloyal to Green Umbrella (my marketing agency that I then sold in April). My focus was on selling the marketing agency, rather than setting goals for a new business which meant I didn't have much of a direction with Adventure Geek. I didn't know where AG was heading and with exception to increasing numbers for membership, subscribers and followers I was drifting from month to month without a compass. I made so many mistakes in the first 12 months as I experimented with loyalty systems, software, CRM's, fees, event systems etc. The worse mistake was to let other people cloud my judgement as to where Adventure Geek was going rather than having confidence in my own abilities.
2020 will be a different story as I have now found my feet (see what I did there?). My cash flow forecast has been updated, I have a proper budget, I am on top of credit control and I know exactly what I need to do to achieve the goals that I have set. Below are just some of the goals and objectives that I have set for the business for 2020, and I appreciate that it will be a lot of hard work and commitment, but hey, I thrive on a challenge!
Specific Adventure Geek Commitments in 2020
Anyway, without further ado, here are my goals for 2020, along with the actions I need to do to make sure that I achieve those goals.
The key areas of the business are defined as:-
- Club walks and the membership - 20% of our turnover for 2020.
- Adventure Walks - 20% of our turnover for 2020.
- Merchandise sales - 10% of our turnover
- Books and map downloads - 8% of our turnover
- Self Guided Walk Adventures - 5% of our turnover
- Mentoring and coaching service - 25% of our turnover
- Commercial work (team building events, speaking gigs, workshops) - 12% of our turnover
#1 - TO INCREASE MEMBERSHIP NUMBERS
Adventure Geek will increase its membership from 82 (current) to 150 by December 2020. (Target of 5.5 members a month). For the time being, I have no intentions of growing the AG brand to other areas of the UK. I have built companies in the past and I know, for me, the joy goes out of the business when you start employing others. If I grew AG as a franchise model then I would end up managing the business, rather than doing what I enjoy, which is walking. Club membership will equate to only 20% of the overall revenue of the business.
How will I increase membership?
- To ensure that the walks are attractive to a newcomer. I will achieve this by continuing with the videos and photos, add the happy customer posts on the newsletter, ensure that a good percentage of my walks are "quirky and different", introducing more tearoom and pub walks. I will find weird and strange things to see on a walk that people will talk about. Word of mouth is my best source of marketing, so getting people to share the love should be top of my list.
- I will continue to introduce two brand new local walks a month so my walkers (and me) do not get bored doing the same walks.
- I will increase the weekend walks to twice a month as a minimum. (unless I have plans for a longer adventure).
- I will conduct at least one live stream on Instagram/Facebook stories to get the vibe of each walk, even if it is raining!
#2 - TO ENSURE THAT WE RETAIN CURRENT MEMBERS
I was astounded when the AG Christmas Party was booked out within a matter of days of me launching the event. I honestly thought that people would not be that interested in getting together unless it involved going for a walk. Blimey, was I wrong! This made me realise that people like the sociable side of the club. With this in mind, I will commit to the following.
- Adventure Geek will introduce more “social” events for its club members for 2020. Socials that are not always walking themed such as doing the zip wire in Wales, or Go Ape at Woburn, but it also may be something simple like learning to do African Drumming! Whatever it will be, it will be fun.
- Each new member will now receive an AG badge for their hat, jacket or rucksack.
- AP photo challenge - The photo challenge is getting bigger and bigger every month. It creates such a positive vibe when someone posts a photo and I love the fact that everyone comments and says how fab the photo is (even if it is not the best). That is the sort of community that we are creating. I will continue with these challenges during 2020.
- Each week I will send a personalised postcard to at least one AG member as a nice surprise.
- I will train new walk leaders - I find that my strength lies in chatting to people on a walk, therefore my intention is to grow our certified walk leaders to 15 people by the end of the year. Everyone benefits from this plan as we have local people who know the areas much better than I do, and with that comes interesting stories and history - funny tales always emerge. The leaders are enjoying the process and the responsibility and the members get a new perspective (I also get holiday cover which is great!).
- Loyalty Points - For each walk attended we issue loyalty points. The loyal zoo works well, but I do need to revise the points system / redemption system.
- The costs of membership will increase from 1st January, but all existing members will have grandfather rights, so their fees will remain the same as 2019.
#3 - TO LAUNCH A NEW WEBSITE BY 31ST JANUARY 2020
I have been very frustrated with the AG website over the last three months as the eCommerce side of things just didn't work well. The mobile experience was not good when purchasing products and the overall navigation of the site was questionable. The initial website was set up as a blogging site, with a shop attached as a bolt-on at a later stage. Adventure Geek will have a newly revitalised website that is focused on the e-commerce side of the business by the end of January. This new website will have a much better user experience and will make the process of purchasing items so much slicker.
#4 - LAUNCH THE MENTORING & TRAINING SERVICE:
The soft launch of the mentoring & coaching side of the business has gone very well, and plans are in place to extend this area of the business:-
- January 2020 - LinkedIn & Twitter will be reactivated with a social media strategy that is focused on the business world.
- My intention is to give as much advice as I can for free as I am keen to help young fledgeling businesses get off the ground and not make the mistakes that I did.
- If the business owner would like additional support then I will offer my walk n talk coaching and training sessions, giving actionable advice and become an accountability partner.
- I will implement an online booking system to automate the process a little bit better than I am at the moment.
- I will also ensure that each client is given a full action plan at the end of every walk. Walk n Talk sessions will be approximately 3 miles / 1hr.
#5 - WALK LEADER WORKSHOPS
When I was looking to set up a walking club I was unable to source anywhere that would offer a walk leader course. I didn’t know about insurance, qualifications, risk assessments, exit plans, hazards, first aid or even how to navigate properly with a map and compass. With exception to the Mountain Leaders Course for Lowland Leaders, there really is nothing out there. So, 2020 will see the launch of the walk leaders and walking club owners workshops. Learn how to set up a walking club in your area, how to plan routes, leading techniques, what technology to use and how to market your events to ensure that you attract the right people.
- March 2020 - Will see the official launch of the commercial team-building side of the business. I will have three products to launch, which will be focused on the recruitment, sales and property industries. The products are already prepared, but I need to create the structure for the walking club to support itself otherwise I will simply dilute what I have spent the last year creating.
#6 - BUILDING A COMMUNITY:
I will become more involved with the local community which will spread the word about the business. Methods include:-
- BNI - To take a more active role within BNI and build a strategy to secure referral work.
- Local publications - To continue with the free walking guides in the Village Emporium and Towcester Town Crier.
- Women’s Institute - I have currently secured six speaking gigs at the WI for 2020, and it would be great to get a few more in the bank.
- parkrun - I will volunteer at parkrun at least two Saturday’s a month.
- Speaking gigs - I am keen to speak at various clubs, perhaps gardening clubs, rotary clubs, charity events, conferences, and exhibitions etc. I will have a page written on the website with a list of speaking titles and blurb.
- Other networking - during 2019 I have rather lapsed on the networking front. I know that this is a great way of getting my brand out there to the local community, so I am not sure why I have resisted going? I will spend more time at other networking events in 2020. I need to get back in the networking saddle!
- Fitbit Group - I launched the Fitbit leaderboard in March 2014. It has had its ups and down’s but 2020 will see an injection of life into the group. Not only will I post on the Facebook Group, but will also post at least once a week on Fitbit message board.
- #Walk1000Miles - I will be more active in the walk1000miles Facebook group. I have a plan for content.
- Strava - I am unsure whether to develop an active community on here or the newer Komoot app. Komoot is more focus on hiking and walking, but Strava is more established. I will make a decision by the 1st of January! (Any advice on this will be appreciated)
- Birthdays - Every day, as part of my morning ritual, I will send a happy birthday message to those I am connected to on Facebook, and also send cards in the post to AG members.
#7 - ADVENTURE WALKS
The Adventure Walks such as the Camino, Hadrian’s Wall etc are a good source of income for me, and I love doing them. I get a thrill seeing someone accomplish a trail that they never thought was possible. Rather than adding to an already tight schedule for 2020, I will concentrate my efforts into filling the slots for the walks I have already set!
#8 - RESIDUAL INCOME
As a businesswoman, I am well aware that I can not sustain the growth of the business if it needs me to make the wheels go round. If I break a leg or become ill, then I do not have a business, simple as that. I need to build the residual income side of the business which does not need me to be as present. This also means that if I vanish for a few weeks on a trail that I really want to walk then the business will continue to generate and income for me. Elements of residual include:-
- BOOKS - I learned a lot during the process of self-publishing my first book. As I type, the initial draft for Once Upon The Camino De Santiago has been written and I have a deadline of 10th February for the publication date. My intention is to write books for longer trails that I will be walking. So this year I expect to write one for The Jurassic Way (July), Hadrian’s Wall (Sept) and the Lycian Trail in Turkey (November)
- MERCHANDISE - I don’t make much money from clothing and branding, but it is great to see someone else wearing a branded cap, hoody or jacket. A steady stream of march being sold would help towards the residual income. I will build up the merchandise offering.
- SELF GUIDED WALKS - the downloadable walks have been very popular. My intention is to produce a minimum of two downloads a month to add to the pot. My initial goal of producing a downloadable walk once a week is simply not viable and too reliant on others to proofread etc.
- SELF GUIDED ADVENTURES - Working closely with a travel agent, I will produce self-guided adventures, which will include transport and accommodation, guide books, support, kit lists, training plan etc.
- PRODUCTS - I have now set up an Amazon affiliate scheme where I have a small kickback if someone purchases a product via my personal link. In addition, I now know which products are popular (such as boot bags, no-tie shoelaces etc). I will continue to purchase these items for the Adventure Geek shop.
In a nutshell:
I have set some financial targets along with a content strategy for 2020 which I know will help me achieve these goals. 2020 is going to be a year of hard work, dedication and I know that my fellow members will be right along with me for the ride. Let's do this!