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Old 11-18-2015, 01:34 PM
  #11  
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My preference for the last several years is not to watch hunting and fishing shows. Why can't you take clients from other outfitters? Business is business, do you think GM worries about taking business from Ford? There is nothing from stopping you from notifying clients that you have guided that you are now outfitting unless you have a contract that says you can't do it. Every day people who were employees open their own business and take the clients they dealt with when working for an employer with them. Companies take employees and clients from other companies all the time It may sound hard but contrary to what the liberals are trying to sell, life is a competition, a war, there are winners and losers and some never get off the beach.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldtimr View Post
My preference for the last several years is not to watch hunting and fishing shows. Why can't you take clients from other outfitters? Business is business, do you think GM worries about taking business from Ford? There is nothing from stopping you from notifying clients that you have guided that you are now outfitting unless you have a contract that says you can't do it. Every day people who were employees open their own business and take the clients they dealt with when working for an employer with them. Companies take employees and clients from other companies all the time It may sound hard but contrary to what the liberals are trying to sell, life is a competition, a war, there are winners and losers and some never get off the beach.
I didn't mean watching hunting and fishing shows, I meant shows as in expo's. I do have a contract but I don't see any clauses in it. I just feel that these other outfitters have used me so well for all this time and don't feel it is morally right. But I suppose it would depend how you go about it. I always appreciate any input I can get, Thank you.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:35 PM
  #13  
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I'm kinda with you on that one Munna. As long as those outfitters have treated you, as well as the clients, properly then it just wouldn't be proper to steal their client base. Now, having said that, If what they liked the most about your employers services was YOU as a guide then I personally don't think it would be underhanded to let those clients know that you are striking out on your own. As oldtimr put it, it's a dog eat dog world in business and the pups are often left with scraps.
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:44 PM
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You asked for opinions, you do not have to agree with them. However, to succeed in business you must be aggressive. If you want to go to an outdoor show, the biggest one I know of that draws outfitters from across the country and out of the country is the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg PA in January of each year. I worked that show for a couple of days each year when it was called the Harrisburg Sportsmans show aand you can't imagine the number of people who go through those doors. You can google it and get info. Lots of people book hunts there, it is a week long.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 11-18-2015 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 11-18-2015, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by munna07 View Post
I have return clients,........
Don't know if this was previously mentioned, but I visited your site. Since you are getting return clients, have them write a brief recommendation letter that you can use on your site for advertising purposes. Those types of referrals/ references should be of much benefit to you. You may also want to privately poll your clients on what they most liked, disliked, or any improvement suggestions they could offer. First hand info could be most valuable.
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Old 11-18-2015, 06:26 PM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by munna07 View Post
I have return clients, but I have only been on my own for the last 3 years. I have been working as a guide for other outfitters over the last 14 years. This has put me in contact with a lot of people, giving me a lot of opportunities. But I cannot take clients from other outfitters in the area either. I have been prepping for a hunting and fishing show for the last month. Do you have any preference on a outdoors show? And where can you check for reviews?
This would have been good to know up front as it does explain a lot and give enough information to offer better advice. I admire your ethics about not taking clients from your former employers and don't think you should compromise your ethics. You can still learn and gain from those employers though. Best of all, you don't have to reinvent the wheel so to speak for developing new and more clients.

For instance, your guiding business appears to be in new Brunswick and I'm guessing those employers' guiding businesses are in NB also. Just from looking at a map, I would guess most of their business is from the east Coast of the U.S. although obviously don't know that. You, however, would know that because you guided some of those hunters for different employers and probably learned where they're from when introduced.

You probably also know some of the hunting expos and other types of marketing the other outfitters used and what they found worked best for them. Did they book more of their clients from hunting shows and expos or was it simply from some kind of advertising (internet, magazines, TV shows, etc.)?

Oldtimr told you about a HUGE show that would probably be one of the best shows to attend for your area. The neat thing about those shows/expos is they all seem to have websites which, naturally, list their vendors (including outfitters and guides, etc.). With some research, you could figure out which of your other outfitters in your area are using which shows/expos to drum up business and book new clients.

Does your area have a guides or outfitters association? If so, that association would likely have useful information on what works and where in the universal effort to attract and sign up new clients.

Since you're taking an ethical stand that I admire, I assume most or all of the outfitters you've worked for at least respect your show of respect and ethics. You should be able to ask some or all of them for advice on how they would recommend attracting new clients and building up your business. Are any of them close to retiring or looking to sell their business? That might be something to evaluate as well since such a business would include their client database.

Bob H in NH also mentioned something that could be very useful. Outfitter reviews on a well-trafficked website. Figuring out how to cultivate such reviews might be very productive for your business.

Something else to consider is does Canada or your province have some kind of licensing department that also provides business owner information, suggestions or training? They might be able to help you out some also.

There's always something else to consider when you're a business owner but that's the fun part--You get to decide what to do or not while growing your business. Good luck and let us know how it works out.
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Old 11-19-2015, 05:13 AM
  #17  
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For shows, Harrisburg is the biggest in the northeast. Springfield MA used to be big and MIGHT be worth going as it's right after Harrisburg and on your way home, it's a thurs-Sunday show.

For reviews/social media, start with a simple google search of your outfit, see if you show up. I'm amazed at what I find when I do this as part of outfitter research.
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Old 11-19-2015, 03:55 PM
  #18  
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I remember you too. The advice I gave before still stands. Do not rely on outfitting income to pay the bills. Having another form of income allows you to focus on using the outfitting money to build a better business. Top equipment, paying good guides more etc and cultivating a business that you deliver beyond expectations. Let me tell you something, anybody can run a crappy outfit, running a top notch one sets you well apart from your competition and your clients sell for you. I don't go to shows, advertise in magazines, or tv shows, or use hunt bookers, and I book to capacity every year. I spend precious little on advertising. If you want sheer numbers you can do all those things, if you want a sustainable business then get to know every client you take. No matter what you know about business, hunting etc, you will always learn something new from your clients. People know very quickly when somebody is sincere, so don't ever promise what you cannot deliver. This philosophy won't get you clients overnight, but it will get you long term repeat clients and a reputation that allows you to spend less and less on advertising.
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Old 11-19-2015, 04:55 PM
  #19  
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I really do appreciate all of the info and input. I am really working hard and will keep updated with the things that worked the best. Sometimes it seems like the little things are the biggest. Once again thanks for all the replies and help.
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Old 12-27-2017, 10:02 AM
  #20  
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Best bang for the buck we found is to use SCI chapter newsletters and regional magazines, not the crowded national one that not many members read. Less ad clutter in the chapter newsletters. See where most of your clients currently come from, and target similar states. Like if you get most clients from the midwest, then go to SCI chapters in Illinois, Iowa, MN or Wisconsin.
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