Outlook Expeditions

Origins

In many ways the motivation for starting the business was to compete with what was already out there. Having worked in the industry for many years, the founders of Outlook believed that they could offer a higher quality product to that already on the market. The aim was to raise the standards of the youth expedition industry (which to date had been relatively poor and unchallenged by any strong competition) and provide young people and schools with a professional expedition service. The major challenges of the first 3 years include things that naturally affect most new businesses – a lack of resources, including money, IT (in the beginning there was only one computer!) and very limited staff resource. The hours of work were intense with the founders taking on all the roles of the company that are now completed by a staff force of 34.

Success Factor

Outlook has had focused business plan with clear key performance indicators, which has meant that it has been able to plan for the business’s growth and expansion. It’s clarified the company’s vision and really made it define the target market. The plan has been used as a constant point of reference throughout the life of the business, enabling the directors to identify and streamline objectives, plan how it is going the achieve them and monitor how well it has achieved them. The business plan also indicates the extent to which the company is abiding by its financial guidelines. As the company has grown, it has had to go through some major transition periods internally and externally which have required strong change management. This has included investing heavily in staff resource not only to help increase sales but in anticipation of increased sales, so that not only are staff supported but clients are also. Outlook has reacted swiftly to changes in the marketplace, industry and economy ensuring that it is ahead of the competition and setting the standards rather than following them. Any changes implemented within the company are filtered down from the board, through senior management to the staff ensuring effective, efficient communication. Finally, Outlook has attracted and sought out quality, qualified staff, offering them opportunities to grow within company as its grown. Outlook is an Investors in People organisation and staff are encouraged to identify any skills weaknesses and where appropriate resolve these weaknesses through training.

The Future

Outlook is currently proud to be the UK’s largest independent provider of professional, high quality, life-changing youth expeditions for schools and individuals. In the future, it aims to be the provider of choice for high quality, professionally delivered, life changing, youth expeditions for schools i.e. when a potential client makes a buying decision Outlook will clearly stand out as the best choice. Once chosen, the high quality experience received will validate both the client’s choice and Outlook’s claims. The company intends to develop its unique selling point as the largest independent provider of youth expeditions in the UK with a truly ethical policy at its heart. Last month, the vast majority of the company will move to new premises and designated office space in Parc Menai, Bangor, whilst the current premises - the Outlook Development Centre in Deiniolen – will undergo considerable renovation to turn it into a well equipped residential centre with improved training and lecture room facilities.