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A U.S. Federal Agent calls me on my cell phone.

Recently I was reminded of something that you don’t read about or actually even think about and that is a person’s character. As you go through life as an entrepreneur you’ll be challenged with many decisions along the journey. Some decisions will be big but most will be small, that you won’t value as much today but the outcome of these small decisions can have a huge impact on you personally and your business in the future.

If you want to be a great travel entrepreneur you need to build a strong character.

Most people are short sighted and make decisions that are in their best interest for today. They don’t think about how this decision will affect them in the future.

Build a strong character today by always doing the right thing and making choices and decisions that will reward you and your business in the long-term. If you don’t, you may pay the price in the future.

A High-Ranking Government Official– A federal agent called me the other day on my cell phone. He was basically asking me questions about the character of a high-ranking government official that had rented a home I owned in Pennsylvania 5 years ago. The federal agent was doing a background check on my former tenant. I had actually never met my tenant but I did tell the agent that he paid on time but when he left my property he left the yard a complete wreck when he left. It cost around $1,000 to have the yard cut, trees trimmed, shrubs cut and flower beds replanted. I had never seen any yard totally let go like this in my life, it had been totally abandoned for 12 months. This was a decision the tenant made, to not attend to the property, which he agreed to do contractually. A person with a strong character would do everything in his or her power to take care of the property and leave it in the same shape as he or her entered it. It’s just the right thing to do.

Character is built over time and derived by your actions today.

The Founder of Jetsetter – There was a Blog post recently posted at Tnooz about the firing of Drew Patterson, the CEO & founder of Jetsetter by the board of directors. What was interesting about the blog post for me were the comments of the people that wrote in support of Drew Patterson. People used words like “fan,” “admire,” “achiever,” “awesome,” “impressive,” “pioneer” and “extraordinary” to describe Drew as a leader. After reading the comments you learn that Drew worked with a lot of these people over the years and he had an impact in their lives in a positive way. You know Drew Patterson has got some serious character.

Take a small $500 loss today. Make the right customer service decision that ultimately generates $10,000+ in revenue for tomorrow.

The College Travel Entrepreneur – In our 17 years of selling ski travel packages to college students, only one time did we completely screw up a reservation. One night our call center representative called me and said we had really messed up and that I had better take this call. Four college students whom we had booked on a 5 night ski trip were standing at the front desk of a hotel trying to check in but there was no reservation. We hadn’t sent the confirmation booking to the hotel and as it happened the hotel was completely sold out, there were no rooms available. It was late and our clients needed a place to sleep.

I quickly found them another hotel and upgraded their room to a nicer room that was slope side to the lifts. They were very thankful of this. I then made a decision to go above and beyond what I thought was the right thing to do in this situation. I decided to refund them $500 cash. $125 to each person, credited immediately to their credit cards as an apology for our mistake. I did it because I was really embarrassed. I did it because I wanted them to know that we were a travel company that they could count on for their ski vacations for the next three years as they were all freshman in college.

Our company just didn’t make these mistakes.

The decision to not only upgrade their room but then to cash refund back around 15% of the cost of their trip, ultimately helped us generate over $10,000 in future business from the four students plus the multiple number of other students that traveled with these four students over the next three years.

When I decided to give the four students back $125 each for our mistake, I remember that I wasn’t really thinking about the future. I was only thinking about doing the right thing as businessman. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was building character as an entrepreneur, making decisions that would award our company in the long-term.

As you build your company today, make the right decisions, work with others as you would wish how to be delt with and do business in a way that builds a strong character not only for yourself but your business.

Small business decisions you make today will greatly affect your future tomorrow.
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