Annus Horribilis

Past imperfect

2014 was a year of upheaval for me (like most years), also for tourism in Rome, in Italy, and beyond. What, if anything, did we learn?

In the mid-1990s I worked on several bespoke projects in the music industry, much the same as I do today, two decades later, in the tourism industry. The tagline slogan of one particularly challenging recording entitled "electro.industrial.multifaceted" got me thinking about my current workload, how varied it can be, spanning several cities, with plans to expand operations to several dozen countries.

A small record label working out of Oakland, California and Oberursel, Frankfurt, was described to me by a UPS driver who ferried cds back and forth between Camden Town and Germany as being a "one man band". He was right, the label owner was just one guy, and his girlfriend (surname "X") helped out when she wasn't selling cosmetics. His business has gone from strength to strength since then, some 21 years ago, and I am told that he is still a one man band, less "X". Can a small business survive long enough to succeed under the close control of an individual or friends? Let's delve a little deeper into what makes a small business tick, and how best to progress.

There's only so far a small business can go before delegation and outsourcing becomes absolutely necessary, and for many owners it's a big decision. Working together with close friends who share the same vision has immense benefits, not the least of which being real drive, a collective hunger to learn and improve, trust beyond trust, and a depth of respect. Using Freelancer, Elance, or Guru to hire remote workers tests these values to the max.

In the tourism sector, where multiple international locations must be managed on the ground even when core business is virtual, the minimum requisite would be a person in charge of product development and guide management in each new city. This is the next step for ambitious tour operators looking to expand.

A horrible year? Not in Rome, but ambitions to expand beyond Rome, even the short distance to Florence, seemed to take an inordinate length of time to realize. Now, however, the Florence ball is rolling and plans are afoot to set sail in Europe.

This may well be the last article by Cajes for some time, what with When in Rome, Florence, Athens, Lviv, and elsewhere to work on. Thank you very much for reading!

Published on January 2nd, 2015
© When In Rome Tours, article provided by Cajes.

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