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Flashback to 2006: Catching up with Daniel Smith

Tue, 19 March 2013

In 2006, Daniel Smith and Sam Jennings were in the regional finals for the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards with their business, Tours 4 Sport. We caught up with Daniel to find out how business is going…
What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
I used the Shell LiveWIRE website to read other entrepreneurs’ stories while I was setting up Tours 4 Sport, which helped to prepare me for the times ahead. However, the main thing I remember is the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2006, although it gets a little hazy after 11pm! My business partner Sam Jennings and I were honored to be nominated alongside some other excellent entrepreneurs who remain good friends.

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
Tours 4 Sport has gone from strength to strength and is now one of the UK’s largest sports tour brands. Having grown the company successfully over 6 years, we have recently been acquired by Halsbury Travel (one of the UK’s largest school tour operators) so Tours 4 Sport is now the sports tours division of Halsbury. Sam and I and our staff remain with the company and still love working in the sports travel industry.
How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
Our core markets are evolving constantly, whether it’s market trends, new niches or economic factors, so as a business we have to be flexible and constantly innovate to ensure we deliver what our clients want. Personally, the demands on me as an entrepreneur are always changing too. From the early days of starting the business from scratch, maintaining sales growth through some tough economic times to my current role where Sam and I have overseen the merger of Tours 4 Sport and Halsbury Travel. 

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
We started Tours 4 Sport on a shoe string budget with only an HSBC overdraft and a grant from Business Link for our websites. Our competitors were already well established and well-funded but they focused too heavily on sales over service. Sam and I are keen sportsmen first and foremost and we made a point of employing people who were passionate sports people and could relate easily to our clients. Our focus on reputation and customer satisfaction is the main reason for our success. Given my time again, I would certainly consider investment from the start but the lessons we have learned starting from scratch with nothing have been invaluable.

What are your top 3 tips for a young entrepreneur who is about to set up in business?

1) You need a passion for your industry and your company: If you enjoy what you do then it won’t seem like hard work. 

2) Work smart rather than hard: Prioritise properly and use your time wisely.

3) Go for it! Don’t hold back, don’t have any regrets, just go for it!