Diving can be an immensely pleasurable and exciting experience, so much so, that you may wish to turn your love for scuba diving into a scuba business and dive shop. Getting started in this industry can be easier than you think, but it requires patience, persistence, hard work and financing. Before you begin, you must be sure that this is available and your approach has been well thought-out. Let’s take a look at some business basics before you go diving off on your scuba diving business venture.
Start With A Comprehensive Business Plan
As the old saying goes, “failure to plan is planning for failure.” Almost all successful businesses start with a business plan. A solid business plan will help you establish realistic goals, timelines and resources. Where will your dive shop be located? Will you have a swimming pool for training purposes or some other blocked-off section of water for learning and practicing? Where will you procure an appropriate boat and other equipment?
You must also decide who you want to work with and where you will source your labor. A proper dive shop must maintain equipment, work your front-end retail operation, sell tickets, and process payments. Who will be guiding and driving the boat? One person will not be enough to properly staff a scuba business and make it effective and profitable, and you will need an experienced team at your side.
Business Structure, Regulation And Capital
You must decide on a business structure. Will you be a sole proprietor, LLC or corporation? Which route you choose will impact how you are treated if you run into legal difficulty, and it will also affect your taxes. Do your homework first, and perhaps talk to a business consultant or lawyer before you make a final decision on your legal structure. You will also need to register with your local tax authority and open a business banking account.
You must comply with all regulations in your chosen jurisdiction. Failure to acquire the necessary licenses and permits can result in lofty fines, and even a complete shutdown of your business. Think about Federal and local permits, a business license, and a certificate of occupancy, and you will definitely want to have insurance for your business.
Finances need to be well thought-out prior to opening your business. Will you be financing the business on your own? Will you use crowd funding or investors? Answering these questions in your business plan will ensure you get off on the right foot. If you’re in any doubts about the right approach to funding your business, make use of online finance tools, and consult with an accountant or financial advisor.
Work Hard And Don’t Forget Your Customers
If you want to own your own business, be prepared to work hard. 40 to 50 hours per week is probably the minimum amount of time you will need to put in, and certainly during your first nine to 12 months, you will want to work really hard to get your business established. But if you love what you do, then it shouldn’t all feel like work.
Decide if you want to buy an existing business or start your own from scratch. Buying an existing business can sometimes be easier, as a lot of the major building blocks for your scuba business venture will already be in place. Whatever way you choose to go, don’t forget your customers. Nurture your existing customer base and grow it, respond to customer concerns swiftly, and make sure you put an effective marketing strategy in place.
These practical tips will be useful in getting you started on your scuba business venture. Just remember to do lots of research and homework before you start putting the building blocks into place. Most importantly, have fun, and remember the reason you began this journey.