Starting Your Own Business
By Gene Muchanski, Executive Director
Dive Industry Association, Inc.
January 17, 2022
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to own your own business? Maybe in a recreational scuba diving adventure business? Well, it’s OK to wonder. That doesn’t cost you anything. It’s even perfectly acceptable to dream about it. Imagine, you are the star of this fantasy. Teaching people how to scuba dive and getting them all geared up for their very first openwater adventure. Speaking of adventure, imagine flying from Island to Island, diving exotic destinations, one right after the other. You could explore the coral reefs of the turquoise waters, lay on white sand beaches underneath the palm trees, while you sip pina coladas with your favorite diving adventure companion. OK. Pause. Back to reality. Can this really happen? Well, yes it can, but there is a little work and preparation you need to do before you get to that point. I was kidding by using the word little. The good news is that there are a number of Dive Industry Professionals who can help you get to that point. Maybe those of us who have done something like this before and are familiar with some of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that a journey such as this has in store for you. My name is Gene, and I will be your Guide and Mentor for what may turn out to be the adventure of your life.
First of all, before we begin our journey together, let me tell you there are already people scuba diving on the coral reefs of exotic destinations, hunting for food, laying under the palm trees on beautiful white sand beaches, and even living in houses right on the shore. They are called LOCALS, and have been doing this for quite some time. Hopefully you will get the opportunity to meet some of them as you travel along your chosen career path (in or out of the recreational water sports industry). The purpose of this series of articles is to explore the possibility of having a career or a professional diving business in the Global Diving Business Network. It’s to point out the pluses and minuses of choosing to invest your time, money, and manpower in this industry. The choice is always yours to make, but as many successful entrepreneurs have said in the past, “It’s better to know, before you go.”
Let’s take this journey together. This series of articles will be a little different than some of the self help books you may have read or are familiar with. The Author (me) is going to take this journey with you. As we look into the advantages and disadvantages of opening our own business in the diving industry, I will be doing the research with you, in real time. Does that mean I am going to open my own business when we’ve finished? I don’t know yet. We don’t have enough facts to make that decision.
Building a business is like building a pool. I will give you a little insight into my methodology. Nine years ago, we had a pool built for our home. Not knowing how to build a pool ourselves, we hired a professional pool builder, Paradise Pools, www.paradisepoolsconstruction.com The Construction Boss, Terry Betten, sat down with us and asked us a ton of questions about what we wanted in a pool. As we discussed the many options involved, Terry made copious notes and started to sketch out a drawing of what our pool would look like. By the end of a few meetings, Terry presented us with a sketch of our new pool. He made his comments and suggestions, and we added our comments and made our adjustments. We discussed features, benefits, measurements, capacities, building materials, labor schedules, building permits, prices, and timelines. Terry returned with a final draft and said: “This is what your pool will look like. It will cost $60,000 and be finished in about 52 days plus city inspection and approval time.” We liked what we saw. It was a GO.
The pool construction process was a learning experience for us. This was our first pool. Not so with Terry and Paradise Pools. They had built many before, over two thousand. This was not their first rodeo. Terry had a plan in front of him. He saw in his mind’s eye what the pool would look like in 52 days. He had done this before. I photographed and video taped the construction process every day and published daily updates on my Facebook page. My Facebook friends and I saw this project come together right in front of our eyes. It was an amazing process. I learn a lot. About building pools and about business planning.
Starting a business is pretty much the same process, although there are no guarantees as to the exact outcome from your pre-business research. Having an understanding of what it takes to start a business, coupled with hands-on experience from people who have succeeded or failed at business ownership before is a big plus. The more you know, the greater the chance that you will succeed.
In this series of articles, we can explore the questions you may have about starting your own business. We’ll look at your own personal reasons for wanting to go into business, the products that are sold in the diving industry, the customers that make up our recreation, the size and make-up of the current market, the current supply chain, the various channels of distribution, and the marketing vehicles that deliver our marketing and advertising messages to divers and would-be divers, worldwide. Since we will be going through this process with you, we can share real-time data on contacts that you should know to help you make the decisions you’ll need to make along the way.
We won’t be giving any financial or legal advice but instead, will attempt to refer you to the proper sources that could answer your questions. Questions that we also may have along the way. So, if you have always wonder about starting your own business in the recreational scuba diving industry, come take this journey with us.