“If I did not have help from the [Marin] SBDC, I would not be here where I am. I’m growing and growing, and have referred at least 40 people to the SBDC based on my experience.”
In 2011, Teri Goldstein launched her concierge tour company with a focus on customized specialty tours to India and other Asian countries. Teri’s target audience is the seasoned traveler, looking for an in-depth cultural travel experience with the means to pay for an individualized experience or customized small group tour with special granted requests. Fulfilling her mission of offering “Journeys for the Curious Traveler”, tours are offered throughout the world and satisfy the desire for photographic, historical, cultural, philanthropic, culinary, spiritual, and other adventures not offered by the mainstream tour companies.
Travels with Teri is a bootstrapped business built on Teri’s determination to build her business through hard work and creativity. With limited budget for web design, graphic design or marketing, Teri has learned to update and manage her web site and create her print materials herself as well as designing her own products. She has survived the economic downturn that resulted in a decrease in discretionary travel spending and was able to use that time to build her business systems, launch marketing tactics and develop strategic partnerships.
Of primary importance was the development of the Travels with Teri web site. Teri had no prior experience in web development, but working with her SBDC advisor she was able to learn the ins and outs of WordPress. She routinely updates the site, creating pages, advertising new tours, adding images, etc. Together Janet and Teri worked on developing the “Teri’s Picks” aspect of the site: tours that have been designed by Teri and include itineraries and features not available anywhere else. These tours are based on Teri’s extensive experience living in Nepal and India and needed to be promoted for the unique value they offer. Teri continues to participate in ongoing travel industry webinars to remain up to date with travel knowledge, trends and the latest about new destinations.
This year estimated gross sales have tripled since last year and commission return percentage doubled, making Travels with Teri’s third year of business a livable income. In 2014 the company will become a S-CORP along with hiring an employee to assist with administration work. The goal in year 4 is to double last year’s gross sales and increase commission percent even more.