The Entrepreneur: Gavin Lapidus, eShores
Taking a disruptive approach to travel, the co-founder of the Manchester-based company gives a brief interview on why entrepreneurs "should just go for it"
Co-founder: Gavin Lapidus
Description in one line: A team of personal travel consultants, offering a one-to-one service to ensure we find our clients the most suitable holiday at the best price, with support at every step.
Previous companies: None
Describe your business model and what makes your business unique:
- With eShores, each client gets their own personal consultant, so they always have someone to support them with their travel needs.
- The team travel extensively and work closely together to ensure no matter where our clients want to go, we can provide the best possible travel advice.
- Impartial advice.
What is your greatest business achievement to date?
Setting up a company that employs 14 staff, and seeing the staff being successful and loving what they do.
What numbers do you look at every day in your business?
We look at total sales in the month, sales per consultant, number of new inquiries, website conversions, client review statistics, and website visitors.
To what extent does your business trade internationally and what are your plans?
It’s a UK business and we have no intentions currently to trade internationally.
Describe your growth funding path:
We have never borrowed money, we started small and grew each year, using profits to invest in better technology and growing the business.
What technology has made the biggest difference to your business?
The internet has made our business possible, but more specifically XML feeds have made searching for products so much quicker.
Where would you like your business to be in three years?
We are looking to grow our revenue by 25% year-on-year.
What is the hardest thing you have ever done in business?
Leaving employment and taking that first step to running my own business.
What is the most common serious mistake you see entrepreneurs make?
I often see entrepreneurs trying too many things at once, without focusing on their core business.
How will your market look in three years?
We see the travel industry moving more online, with less retail outlets on the high street.
I think we’ll see more clients booking direct to make price savings, but still a need for support to ensure they’re getting the most suitable holiday.
What is the single most important piece of advice you would offer to a less experienced entrepreneur?
Just go for it, if you have the passion to run your own businesses you have to take that step and go for it. You may face challenges and knock backs, but as long as you’re dedicated you will be successful.
Executive education or learn it on the job?
Learn it on the job.
What would make you a better leader?
Being a bit more ruthless, but it’s just not who I am.
What one thing do you wish you’d known when you started?
To believe more in myself.
One business app and one personal app you can’t do without?
Hootsuite for business and BBC News for personal