After 23 years of seeing the world as a British Airways cabin crew member and a travel and tourism lecturer, born and bred Leyther Daniel Dobranski decided to take the leap in 2017 and fulfil a lifelong dream to run his own travel company.
Daniel spoke with the Leigh Expo team to share his lessons learned from his first year in business:
Starting out: make the leap
“Towards the end of 2017, I was faced with uncertainty in my career as my previously stable role as a travel and tourism lecturer became at risk of redundancy. The uncertainty turned out to be a blessing – it made me evaluate my options and return to my lifelong ambition of becoming my own boss. I have been lucky enough to travel from San Francisco to Singapore during my career, and I knew this would put me in a unique position to create amazing holidays for people. I realised that if I didn’t make the jump at that time, I probably never would.
At first I went part-time to sustain my family as I made the transition into self-employment, but it soon became clear that starting your own business needs your total focus and energy – and since becoming full time, I haven’t looked back. That feeling of being self-reliant is a huge driver for me – being responsible for your own success gives you the inner motivation to go out and find customers.“
Finding customers: they’re closer than you think…
“My business is based on being a person to person travel agent, so my starting point for finding customers was the town in which I was born and bred in – Leigh. I am familiar with the area; I understand how business works and I know what people are looking for when it comes to holidays- so it made sense to focus my business in the town.
I also targeted a huge community of which I was a part of – and very passionate about – the Leigh Centurions fan base. As a fan, I spotted the potential to help my fellow fans travel to overseas league games – a big success for me was becoming the official travel partner for Leigh Centurions. I am taking 120 fans to Toulouse and 200 fans to Toronto soon, and get to showcase my business to thousands of fans. Combining my business with a passion that I know inside and out means I can build genuine relationships with customers, and deliver a service that I know customers will love.
Growing your business: keep customers coming back for more
Small businesses rely on repeat custom to grow their businesses, and this has been my focus since launching Not Just Travel. Many businesses claim to ‘go the extra mile’ for their customers, but in the competitive travel industry it is essential that I practice what I preach. I recently took an unexpected trip to Vilnius in Lithuania, as a customer was planning to go later this year and wanted advice on where to go and what to do out there. I am already seeing this level of service pay off through repeat custom and word of mouth referrals.
It is also essential for me to grow my network: I am generally out and about as much as possible to introduce myself to new businesses and contacts. I look forward to meeting new business owners to get my name out there as the travel agent of choice for those businesses and the people of Leigh on the 6th July at Leigh Expo.
Meet Daniel on stand B04 at Leigh Expo – register for free today.