Hobbies are fantastic for our lives, we all need one! It makes owning your own business even more special when its also what your passionate about. Here, James Co-owner of Go Dive Scuba centre in Derby explains how he took a hobby and made it the successful business it is today.
I am a part owner of Go Dive Scuba centre in Spondon, Derby which we took over in 2018.We are a Scuba diving retailer and diver trainer centre. We have a large store stocking all things Scuba diving, snorkelling and general watersports. We also offer scuba diving courses from try dives right through to training instructors.
As part of the retail side we have a large online presence supplying equipment all over the UK, Europe & beyond.
I started working for Go Dive in 2003 after wanting a change of direction / career after previously working in the print industry. I had been a diver for a few years and when the opportunity came up to work in the industry that was also my hobby I couldn’t wait !
Having worked in the Scuba business for 17 years now I have got a vast amount of knowledge & experience in all the aspects of the industry which is an absolute godsend to help our customers old & new with all their enquiries. With the business being so specialized experience counts for everything.
When the ‘old ‘ owner decided to retire, I knew it was my time to step up! I had learnt so much from him, both good & bad , I could use all of that to move on with the business and progress. A friend who owns a marine archaeology business came on board which helps him out by having all the diving equipment on hand for his business too!
The best thing about running your own business is, for me, I am able to work in the industry that is my hobby. I get to talk to customers all day about diving! Being able to make decisions that you know will make a big impact on the business is one of the best things! It also works the other way sometimes though!! You make a decision thinking it will work, and sometimes it doesn’t. You have to learn from any mistake you make and move on to the next !!
Keeping on top of the industry changes is a must. If you can get an idea of where the industry is heading ( more online trading, more in store etc ) you can alter your business ideas to stay ahead of the competition.
A couple of things I have learnt since running Go Dive is treat your staff with respect and listen to them. Customers talk to them differently than they do the owner, so they hear things you sometimes wouldn’t ! The business is normally only as good as your staff. Second is switch off from the business.! At the start I was waking up throughout the night, making notes on a little book I had at the side of the bed! Try and have definite works hours. Yes they are generally longer than you normally do, but work, life balance is massive. Otherwise you would become obsessed and that will affect family life!!