Maia Josebachvili is the founder of Urban Escapes, a provider of social adventures around the world.
She and her partner built the company, expanding their local offices to four cities and taking 10,000+ people on trips in two years. Urban Escapes was recently acquired by LivingSocial.
Maia shares her experiences.
The Challenge: How do we scale? After the first 6 months, it was clear that we were on to something, and of course we were having the time of our lives, so we had to figure out a way to make it sustainable.
Every trip itself was profitable, but we still weren’t making enough money to continue as-is. We realised that we had to scale in order to live our dream, and so the question became ‘how exactly do we do that?’.
The Solution: It came down to some simple maths: we divided our target revenue goal by the average price of a trip, and then divided that by the average size of a trip. This gave us the number of trips we had to run in one year.
We realised that our 13-person hiking trips, while some of our favourites, just couldn’t scale reasonably, and so we focused more on the 50-person trips that could create a sustainable model. We still kept the lost leaders that we loved so much, but we didn’t try to scale those; we scaled the trips that we knew could be scaled.
The Lesson: We didn’t do this exercise just once – it became a quarterly ritual. When you’re starting out, it’s easy to get sucked into the day-to-day and continue on your current path.
But that’s when it’s most important to take a step back and do some maths to make sure you’re on the right track. We ended up changing our focus a couple of times before we felt we had it right, and I’m sure that if we hadn’t, we probably wouldn’t have made it to where we are today.
The Young Entrepreneur Council was founded by Scott Gerber, a serial entrepreneur, internationally syndicated small business columnist and author of the book, Never Get a “Real” Job. The YEC’s mission is to help young people build successful businesses and overcome the devastating epidemics of youth underemployment and unemployment.
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