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The homely world of Travel Counsellors

How a travel company is run from home

James Comrie was working six days a week, from 8 'til 7, and trying to cram everything into Sunday. Now he plays golf on Saturday, takes the kids swimming and runs a successful business. James decided to say goodbye to his job, turned his garage into an office and joined Northwest-based Travel Counsellors.

Flexible working

Headquartered in Bolton, Travel Counsellors is one of the UK's most successful private companies. Annual turnover of �150 million is generated by more than 560 travel consultants working from homes across the UK. James is one of these self-employed consultants and, since becoming his own home-based boss, has never looked back.

He is out in the garage office from 8.30 each morning, having taken the children to school. He manages to see his wife Julie throughout the day as he sets sales targets, deals with customers and works on marketing campaigns. As James says "I can't afford to wait for customers to come to me. I keep communicating with my customers and hope to secure new ones through marketing techniques. I pick up business cards and e-mail special offers. It's all crucial to the business which would stand still if I didn't do it."

Customer relations

Since starting his own business, James has been better able to deal with every customer personally. His objective is simple; to give the best advice and service so customers will keep on beating a path to his door.

Being a Travel Counsellor means being part of the 'TC' community. The Head Office in Bolton offers training and support for the hundreds of homeworking counsellors; their IT systems are second to none and there is even a company programme - TCTV - that is broadcast via the Travel Counsellors intranet every Wednesday. The programme covers everything from target sales figures to motivation techniques for effective homeworking. I have watched one of these programmes being broadcast and can vouch for its high entertainment value.

The company grows from strength to strength, expanding overseas and with plans for a travel training academy. In the words of Managing Director, Steve Byrne, "We will develop the best travel company in the world."

Contributing to this success is James who is working towards a target of �1 million worth of sales. He is confident he can achieve this without losing any of the quality of service and still having ample time for the family.

What next?

The cost of starting up a business has tumbled. Find out from Emma Jones what you can achieve for under �500.

Visit the Enterprise Nation website for more information on basing your small business at home.

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