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When Do You Invest In Your Business?

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I’ve talked about investing here before. Whether you’re Warren Buffett, you, or me, all investors seek a degree of certainty before pulling the trigger. Complete certainty is elusive, but when is there enough certainty? When do you know that it is safe to make the investment that your business needs to thrive? 

All businesses require investment, or re-investment in some cases. All of them. Investment can be in the form of cash or time. It can be new cash you put into your business, or re-investment of profits you generate. It can be allocation of your time to build a new capability or expertise. Perhaps it’s time to invest in that new computer to help you be more productive, complete an education course, attend an industry event, or work on your marketing system to produce a higher volume of new client leads. Perhaps it is investing in an employee to help you handle the incoming volume or even hire a virtual assistant service. There is never a shortage of potential investments. 

As I’ve encouraged you before, these investments need to be prioritized based on their return, whether it is the return on the capital invested or the return on your time invested.  

Even with a prioritized list of investments, timing is important. You can do the right thing at the wrong time, and not see the results you want or expect. 

So, when is the right time? 

We’ve all said the post-pandemic return to travel would be marked by two principal events. First, the return of cruising, and second, the re-opening of Europe. We all said that we would begin to see large upticks in travel departures (and revenue) activity when these two things happened. I think we, along with most of the industry prognosticators, got this generally right. Conventional wisdom has prevailed, travel booking and departures are indeed on the rise again, even surging ahead of pre-pandemic levels in some cases. 

Unfortunately, these two events aren’t really events. They’re not single point in time on-off switches that you can easily observe and know when it is a good time to invest in your business with confidence. They’re more like faucets that have been gradually opening, leaving some of us still apprehensive about investing too heavily in our businesses. The good news is that these faucets are quickly approaching full tilt. 

Cruises 

Cruise departures are increasing. More and more ships are being put back into service, both on the oceans and rivers. Maybe most important with regard to cruising is that the handful of instances of COVID “outbreaks” on board are receiving less and less media coverage. The public is losing interest in these stories as they’ve understood that no environment can be kept COVID-free and anyone can seem to contract it just about anywhere in their everyday life. More and more travelers are coming to the conclusion that a vacation onboard a ship isn’t really any more dangerous than most of the things they are doing every day. 

Europe 

I spent a good portion of the last month in Europe and I can report first-hand that Europe is open for tourism. This even appears to be accelerating as the restrictions and general attitudes I observed even improved from late March to early April.  

COVID restrictions during our Diamond Voyage in late March through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary were mild and easily navigable. During my most recent visit to Italy and France at the beginning of this month, COVID restrictions were barely noticeable.  

Italy dropped their Super Green Pass restrictions on April 1st and didn’t seem to care to enforce any restrictions that did remain. Over 10 days in Italy and France I was asked for my vaccination card exactly three times. On one of those three occasions I had forgotten my card in my hotel room, to which the café manager just smiled and said, “Don’t worry about it.” The only hold-over restrictions that were noticeable were wearing masks on public transport, which was not really enforced either that I could tell. 

Across these six European destinations, I’m pleased to report that the people of Europe are excited to welcome our travelers back, and just as important, the experience of traveling there was fantastic. I spoke with numerous hotel managers, shop keepers, restauranteurs, and tour guides. Their stories were remarkably similar. They all seemed to enjoy the break and exploring their cities without throngs of tourists, but all were glad things were getting back to normal. Most even reported to me a strong uptick just “this week,” meaning they were beginning to actually feel the start of the normal spring travel season.  

I report all of this because, to me, it is a strong signal that the return to travel is real. Bookings and departures are one thing, but great travel experiences are something entirely different. It is the great experiences that will keep the momentum moving ahead.  

COVID can certainly throw us another curveball, but I have confidence in advising you that now is indeed a good time to invest in your business. So dust off that list of potential investments, or create it if you don’t have one, and take the next step to building the business that you want with confidence. 

   

Best success, 

Jason Block, CEO, Travel Quest Network/WorldVia

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