One of the main reasons we have been able to stay in business and prosper is our participation in a financial management group called TAMS. After the economic crash of 2008, we joined this group of travel agency owners and managers who are similar in size and business model (but from different consortium or cooperatives). We meet in person three times a year; prior to each meeting, we have inputted 100% of our financial data including sales, revenue, staffing, and expenses for the appropriate quarters. During the meetings, we each give a 3 minute recap of our business, we review our homework (yes, we have homework for each meeting). Then we review the numbers, who is being successful in which areas, and how can we translate those successes into our own agencies.
When operating a small business, the value of this type of board of directors cannot be under rated - especially one that is industry specific and where everything is shared! I can honestly say that without the support of this organization I don't know whether our agency would have weathered another year like 2009. As a result of our participation we not only survived, we have thrived.
This year we won the 2013 TAMSY Award in our group – an ward for best application of year long assignments and "Pearls" as well as quarterly Kaizen improvements, including achieving outstanding metrics for agency as a whole and individual agent performance.