Love the Outdoors? Build Your Business Around It

Each day of the year new businesses are born and, with those businesses, come decisions that either generate profitability and long-term growth or decisions that fade into failure in less than twelve months. What is it that makes a business idea succeed or disappear? It is often said that a successful business can be built around something someone values or loves. We agree! Let’s examine business ideas framed by the outdoors that can be prepared, launched and positioned for success and long-term growth.

Research Your Target Market

Before developing your business beyond a simple concept, conduct a market study to understand your target market. For example, if your concept is to provide a multi-city chain of  fishing cabins in the state of Alaska, the people you will research will be those who live in the cities and those who visit to fish near those cities. If you want to build a campground in Colorado, the same concept will apply: you will survey those who live near the campground and you will want to survey those who plan to visit a campground in that area during the upcoming months. These examples demonstrate how to research who your potential customers might be and what they’ll be hoping to receive during their outdoor experience. 

Search For Competitors

When planning to start a business that is focused on the outdoors, it is best to ensure there are few to no competitors in the same spaces, trails, parks, or beaches. Your customers will want to experience unique or distinctive outdoor campground vacations, backpacking adventures or boating weekends, so do the homework required to assure customers there will be no competitors in the same area at the same time. In this way, your staff members will be able to validate the customers’ desire to have an authentic and gratifying outdoor adventure.

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Choose Winning Marketing Channels

Choosing the right marketing channels for your outdoor business is crucial to meeting your potential customers where they are most likely to listen, see, or hear of your business. For example, create a website that emphasizes a deep blue lake or lofty mountains. Offer the idea of an outdoor experience that is different from all others. Engage with your website audience by sending emails, offering specials, and running a Q & A section about your business. Use social media to call out special events or holiday fare. Digital marketing will reach a very large pool of users who can respond by booking on your website or interacting with your staff via chat. These marketing channels will reach users in an approachable way without requiring much time or attention out of your day.

Build a Business Plan

As soon as your business idea is solidified, prepare your business plan. This document will include an assessment of your ideal customer, any competitors, financial projections, marketing strategies and operational plans. It can be utilized for several reasons, including securing funding, if needed, from investors, lenders, banks or financial institutions. If you don’t already have a business plan, use this comprehensive small business plan template as a guide. 

A well-crafted plan will identify your goals and objectives and include measurables that will define progress at certain points of a 12-to-24 month period. When complete, your business plan will be ready for presentation to investors or lenders, as needed. 

Prepare the Operations Structure

If you are starting your outdoor business as a sole employee, you’ll want to outline the equipment, furnishings, vehicles, and supplies needed for operations. You’ll also want to forecast future personnel additions, added business locations, and other projections as markers of progress during the growth of your company. For example, if you plan to start a campground, use this how to start a campground business plan, secure the location, add utilities and essential roadways, restrooms and campground amenities to your operations structure. 

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When considering future projections, add personnel, software programs, computer equipment, office furnishings, and business machines. Also, include worker’s compensation insurance, liability insurance and all permits and licensing needed for your business. 

Starting a business focused on the outdoors may require time and diligence; however, you can start and grow your business successfully by investing in the research of your ideal customer, assessing competitors, creating of a business plan, planning for funding, forecasting of personal wealth and marketing your services. With attention to building your business, you can create a company poised for long-term growth, positioned for personal wealth accrual, with a hearty amount of success along the way.

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