Big Plans for 2015......
I have just read Richard Branson's latest book on leadership (The Virgin Way). Richard talks in the book about the need for businesses to keep reinventing themselves. How they need to evolve, adapt and stay on the ball as markets change. There was a lot I learnt from Richards book but I'm happy to say Peak Mountaineering has been fairly good at adapting and evolving over the years we've been in business.
I'm not saying big businesses can't change, but certainly one of the advantages of being a small operation is that changes can be implemented quickly. We look at the market, at the competition, at the opportunities and we make any changes that will benefit our business and our customers. So, what of 2015? How is Peak Mountaineering changing and what new opportunities are we bringing on board? Here's a sneak preview of what to expect in the new year (and a plea for help)......
Our overseas portfolio has gradually grown and, although our aim is to keep things exclusive, both our regular clients and new customers are always on the lookout for new challenges (and we love travelling too!). For 2015 we will be offering an adventure in the Annapurna range and we are also developing an itinerary in Kenya. Alongside that we have more trips scheduled in Morocco and we are looking at running expeditions to Elbrus. Details on these new itineraries will be on the website early in the new year so please keep checking in if you want to get away in the coming year.
Richard Branson also discusses the benefits of businesses collaborating in his book. We agree. We have always sought to work with like minded organisations and businesses. In 2015 we'll be delivering courses and events or offering technical support for a number of organisations including, amongst others, the British Mountaineering Council, Explorers Connect, the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers, Breathing Space, Trek & Mountain Magazine, Rab, Muddy Feet, Schools Worldwide, Class Adventure, Sprayway, the Peak District National Park Authority, Gateway Training and a selection of university and private Mountaineering clubs. There is strength and new ideas to be gained from collaborating and it stops small business operating in a bubble.
Our office is a small but perfectly formed log cabin in Castleton. It is the Peak Mountaineering Operations Centre and over the years, although we have made it efficient, we still know it could be better. So we've made 2015 our year for system streamlining but it's quite hard to streamline when you don't know all the tricks for how it can be improved. Simple, we are big believers in getting in expert help when needed (hiring your weaknesses) and so we are delighted that new temporary addition Donna will be our chief streamliner. Many of the changes will benefit the back end office systems but, of course, any increased efficiency in the office benefits our clients too.
We need more courses to meet demand. For example, we used to offer an open first aid course every 2 months and now we are easily filing 1 a month (that's without all the private courses we run). However, as we've grown into one of the Peak District's largest first aid providers that still isn't enough to cater for demand (our December course was full months ago). In 2015 we'll be adding more and the story is also similar with our other courses. Intact, we need more of everything! For a company focussed on quality the challenge is making sure the training standards don't suffer and we are determined to grow at a sustainable rate.
Our website is very popular. Lots of people visit and we try and keep it as fresh and interactive as we can. Of course, there is always room for improvement. In 2015 we have plans to improve some of the course information, add more blog posts (including some guest posts), increase the number of our popular giveaways, add more destination and skills articles, make more use of video and use our Latest News section for last minute course details and general news from the mountaineering world. We have also had long term plans to add an online shop to the website and we are determined that 2015 will be in place by next December.
For businesses social media is a free and valuable resource. We already use Facebook and Twitter a lot and will continue to try and be as proactive on these platforms as possible. We are also aware there are other social media platforms we should use and we will investigate them (our children currently know more about Instagram than we do!).
We send out newsletters to thousands of people on our database but we haven't been as regular as we should be. The plan for next year is to distribute a newsletter every month and we've added a set date to our calendar so we won't forget. Alongside that we are having more informative paper leaflets printed which we'll keep adding to information centres, shops and just about anywhere else we can persuade to take them.
More Environmental Commitments
We have always been passionate about finding ways to protect the natural environment and we are pleased with what we've achieved. Businesses can be a power for good and we want to play our part. Our contributions to some environmental groups and events like the well established free Pick & Play event (which we organise in conjunction with the Peak Park Conservation Volunteers) are fantastic, but we know we can do more. We've looked at all aspects of our operation and we are going to try harder to limit our travel miles by, among other things, using more location based instructors, we have just invested in a more environmentally friendly additional company vehicle and we are committed to shifting all our stationary use to recycled products (and minimising paper use more than we do already) as our current supplies expire. We will also be offering discounts to clients who travel to courses by public transport (we can collect clients from the local stations) and we hope to get this enviro travel incentive scheme in operation by Summer 2015.
So, we certainly have some work to do but we hope our blog readers can help too. If you read this and have any great ideas or see any areas of our operations that could be improved please let us know. We'd really appreciate your input. You can use our Contact Form here, call us on 01433620283 or email our office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks in advance from Paul and the Peak Mountaineering team.