The global COVID-19 pandemic has created a very uncertain landscape for millions of British small businesses. There can be no doubt the virus is impacting everyone and my business, BEST Coach Tours, is not excluded.
BEST Coach Tours is a local business to Bexhill-on-Sea that offers affordable, value for money coach trips to the community. The business started trading in January 2019 and, following the strategy of the business plan, in January 2020 the transition was made from offering only day trips to include short breaks and holidays by coach too.
Regrettably, due to the virus, the majority of our schedule has had to be cancelled or postponed including our first short break and holiday. All the while there is no end in sight it is inevitable there will be further disruption. Whilst I made the early decision, in order to safeguard my customers against the risks of the virus, to cancel and provide a 100% refund for all bookings, the business has been managed and operated to be sustainable. This doesn't however counter balance the investments and costs such as advertising, insurances and card processing fees.
As you may be able to imagine, early advertising is key to the success of the business. I had already made a big investment in advertising, our annual brochures were designed and printed, there’s my on-going social media advertising and I have invested in a number of local printed publications, now, mostly for events which have been or will be cancelled. Some of the advertising was published 12 months ago, for example our Mother's Day, Easter and Summer short breaks and holidays all of which have now been cancelled.
Prior to the outbreak of the virus and its affects, Crowdfunding was in the next steps of the business plan, albeit not in this capacity. The next scheduled stage of business growth was to raise additional funds to help make the purchase of an accessible coach, I'd like to think that, with your support this remains a possibility! For now, however, my short term goal is to raise funds for a new advertising campaign.
So, whilst I have already begun preparations on the 'bounce-back' from the effects of the pandemic, re-scheduling and creating new coach trips – many are now even better value for money (starting from as little as £19) with added focus on helping other communities and businesses in the tourism industry. This is where your support is required!
I am asking, in exchange for ‘rewards’, for your pledges of help. I have set a realistic funding target of £10000. With your help, the business will afford to continue working with its current advertising partners and have a new batch of brochures printed. The funds will also enable me to create a new, bigger advertising campaign in order to reach more and new potential customers – helping to grow the business organically.
The initial £10000 target recuperates some of the loss encountered due to the virtual close down of the business and previous expenditure on advertising. Should this target be met, I have applied a ‘stretched’ target which would go towards the next stage of business growth, purchasing an accessible coach and to offer a coach hire service.
Owning and operating a coach comes at a great cost and with responsibilities, there is legal legislation to adhere to too. As you could imagine, there has been lots of planning and investment made already.
An accessible coach means it will be adapted to be able to load a wheelchair using a lift. The coach will have an extra-large entrance and a flat floor. Having an accessible coach will allow the business to become inclusive of the wider community. Of course, the coach would also need to be of executive standard and offer the comfort and facilities BEST Coach Tours have always offered such as an on-board washroom, air-conditioning and comfort.
The benefits of owning a coach would mean that overall overheads reduce, the required customer numbers for day trips could be less therefore likeliness of cancellations due to viability would be minimised.
A new coach hire service can also be offered, again with minimal overheads, the service would prove competitive and provide an alternative comparison to the local community and its plentiful number of groups and organisations likely to be customers.
Your support will be rewarded.
Your pledge today will be rewarded as a discount for your future bookings with BEST Coach Tours.