Starting a walking or walking tour business can be quite simple and offers many benefits to business owners. You don’t have to live near a National Park or tourist attraction for this business to work. In fact, there may be multiple walking or hiking business location opportunities right under your nose, and there may be virtually no competition!

There are also other benefits that a hiking or walking business provides, such as exercise, weight loss, social activity, animal viewing, or simply escaping the daily grind. If any or all of these activities interest you, this may be your ideal career.

At first glance, it may seem that a mobile business has little opportunity with a small customer base. But think again. In a hiking business, you have opportunities to lead different types of day trips and even expand to week-long hiking adventures to remote locations. There is also no single target market. You can focus your business on a certain level of hiker, from beginner to advanced. Also, while some people enjoy occasional hiking trips, other hiking enthusiasts want to join a regular hiking club that meets weekly or several times a week.

Another factor to consider when starting your business is location. The sky is almost the limit. You can choose to take walks or tours in one area, or you can add variety to your work schedule by exploring new areas. You can take walks or walking tours in cities, states, or even countries. You may even want to package the treks or hikes as organized group trips, with travel and accommodation included.

Unsurprisingly, the ideal person to operate a hiking or walking business enjoys the company of other people, meeting new people, spending time outdoors, and exercising routinely. When working with groups of people from different backgrounds, having patience and flexibility will make the job easier. If you like to teach, that’s an added bonus.

Don’t forget about your competition. Are there other companies in your area that offer the same or similar service? Ideally, you want to take walking tours where you don’t have to worry about multiple other businesses competing for the same customers. Less competition makes getting customers much easier.

If there is significant competition with other hiking or walking groups nearby, consider differentiating your hikes or tours. Sometimes you can lessen or even eliminate the competition simply by targeting a different market, such as seniors, families with young children, or people who want to lose weight.

When it comes to promoting your rides or hikes, you’ll use different marketing strategies depending on whether your prospects are local or out of town. Start by printing out informational brochures and walking schedules. Drop off some at your city or county visitor center, chamber of commerce, or parks and recreation office. City libraries, cafes, and community colleges sometimes allow brochures and flyers to be displayed, and usually draw large crowds on a regular basis. Since you’ll be spending your advertising dollars on brochures or print materials rather than ads, make sure you take the time to create something interesting and intriguing enough for someone to pick up your marketing pieces and read them.

My best advice? Get advice from an expert in the field of walking or hiking. I am referring to people who have had a hiking or group hiking business. It may even be helpful to meet with someone who runs tours or group activities as a business.

You can get a lot of insider tips from seasoned professionals, and they can often save you a lot of time and effort when starting your own business. If you don’t know anyone in the field, look for start-up guides at your local library or bookstore, usually written by someone who has operated a hiking or walking business before.

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