Over 160 businesses attended at least one of our recent training webinars for tourism SMEs in Jamaica, benefiting from a wide range of practical tips and guidance to position their business to do well in the local tourism industry. We were delighted to join forces once again with TPDCo to promote and deliver the series, hosted by the Travel Foundation’s Coral Purvil-Williams as part of the Big Up Small Business project delivered by the Travel Foundation in partnership with the TUI Care Foundation. 

The first session, facilitated by Anna-Kay Wilson and Priscilla Spence-Wisdom of Premium Consultancy Services, helped businesses to understand how to choose the right structure for their business and then how to ensure it is registered, tax compliant and well managed. The session also introduced the principles of basic book-keeping for small businesses and the importance of maintaining good records, keeping tabs on cash flow and preparing financial statements to help stay profitable and healthy as a business. 

The following week saw Dr Dawn Lemonius of DC Lemonius Consulting provide a thought-provoking overview on how to write a business plan – beginning by identifying the purpose, vision and mission, what customer ‘problems’ it aims to solve and what the particular value proposition is.  Dawn helped participants think about how to build a business by focusing on Product, Place, Price, Promotion and People, and provided a template to help tourism businesses create their own business plan. 

Finance expert Dmitri Dawkins of Graft Ventures was our guest presenter for the third session on ‘Preparing to access funding’. He encouraged small businesses to consider whether they needed financing yet or at all, identify particular financing needs, consider different expenses types, create a cash flow projection and explore the different types of finance available to best suit business needs. He walked through the funding application process as well as alternative financing methods such as pre-payments, increasing margins, increasing inventory turnover ratio, reducing the cash flow cycle and increasing revenue. 

Rebecca Armstrong from the Travel Foundation presented our fourth session, on ‘Future-proofing your business’. Highlighting case studies from tourism destinations around the world, the webinar provided practical advice on how to make a business sustainable and strong, and save costs, through reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment; cutting water use; providing sustainable and local food and drink; reducing waste; diversifying business; supporting the local economy; creating a safe and happy place to work and caring for the local community. We were also joined by Jonathan Coleman of Untours Foundation who introduced their Reset Tourism Fund – a loan opportunity available to entrepreneurs and businesses that create solutions to poverty, injustice, and the climate crisis. 

The series finished on a high note with our final session, on digital marketing skills training presented by Tom Johnson-Sabine and Jessica McDonald of Voyage Travel Marketing. Packed with ‘how-to’ tips, the session covered website marketing (including the need for a clear call to action, great imagery, a strong brand identity and use of reviews and testimonials); helped demystify the world of search engine optimisation (SEO); highlighted the best ways to maximise social media; using third party websites and online travel agents to drive bookings; and how to innovate and reach new audiences with virtual events and experiences. 

The recordings and accompanying manuals and other resources for the first four webinars (Business structures and book-keeping; Writing a business plan; Preparing to access funding and Future-proofing your business) are all available free of charge here. The digital marketing resources and training recording are also free, available here

Please use the resources freely in your own business and share them with anyone else who would find them useful! 

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