David Ross set up Moray Firth Tours, offering bespoke tours of Moray and the Highlands, a year ago. Now, he shares with us the story behind his business.
Why choose to go into business for yourself and when did you start your current business? I first thought of the idea for Moray Firth Tours two years ago and began steadily planning and researching. As time passed, the passion I had for it increased and I decided that I really wanted to be my own boss, but doing something I loved. Taking people around Moray, Speyside and the Highlands and helping them discover the beautiful scenery and history behind our sights is a great way to spend your days. So in April 2016, I officially launched the company.
Why did you choose your current business? I worked in customer service for many years and I enjoyed dealing with the public. I also worked as a taxi driver at weekends for a while and it was during my journeys that I noticed there was a need for a good quality, private minibus in the area. I saw a lot of groups on holiday that would have benefitted from minibus transportation and with the popularity of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival I felt it was a good opportunity to offer people something different.
Who has helped you get started and develop your business? Business Gateway in Moray have been great; both though the workshops they host and the one-to-one advice I’ve received. Whilst I was on the courses I met others with similar questions and fears like me which did a lot for my confidence as I realised I wasn’t alone. Also Moray Speyside Tourism and Pery of Spirit of Speyside Whisky festival have encouraged me from the beginning.
What achievement are you most proud of? It has to be the fantastic feedback and encouragement we’ve received from visitors who have booked our tours. To see people enjoy themselves and discover something new about our country is the best part of running this business. I’m always so appreciative when people take the time to let us know how much they’ve enjoyed it and post it on social media for others to read.
What was your biggest mistake? Not doing it sooner. I’ve loved every minute of the last year.
What is the biggest challenge facing your business? Pricing. I need to be competitive but at the same time not devalue the service I provide. Also getting to grips with social media. I attended a Business Gateway course which showed me what I should be doing and how to make the best use of it and now I use it to promote not just ourselves, but other local businesses and the region itself. Social media has emerged as a great marketing tool for us.
What would help your business? Better collaboration between local businesses. I think teaming up would allow us to sell our area to visitors even more and a more joined-up approach would improve customer service and our overall offering.
What do you still want to achieve for your business? My main aim is ensuring we continue to provide a quality service whilst looking at ways to diversify.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a business in Moray? One of the most important things is to take advice from experts. Business Gateway in Moray have the knowledge and experience to help you with so many business related issues. Also, take advantage of the free workshops Business Gateway run in the area as you can learn so much from attending. Finally, do your homework; know your market and competition.