The Challenge: How do we scale? After the first 6 months, it was clear that we were on to something, and of course we were having the time of our lives, so we had to figure out a way to make it sustainable.
Every trip itself was profitable, but we still weren't making enough money to continue as-is. We realized that we had to scale in order to live our dream, and so the question became 'how, exactly, do we do that?'.
The Solution: It came down to some simple math: we divided our target revenue goal by the average price of a trip, and then divided that by the average size of a trip. This gave us the number of trips we had to run in one year.
We realized that our 13-person hiking trips, while some of our favorites, just couldn't scale reasonably, and so we focused more on the 50-person trips that could create a sustainable model. We still kept the lost leaders that we loved so much, but we didn't try to scale those; we scaled the trips that we knew could be scaled.
The Lesson: We didn't do this exercise just once - it became a quarterly ritual. When you're starting out, it's easy to get sucked into the day-to-day and continue on your current path.
But that's when it's most important to take a step back and do some math to make sure you're on the right track. We ended up changing our focus a couple of times before we felt we had it right, and I'm sure that if we hadn't, we probably wouldn't have made it to where we are today.