Tallest Tourguide Tours - A high dose of fun for all tourists
The new 787 entrepreneurial story delivers a lot of good energy and fun. Tallest Tourguide Tours duo is responsible for such a thing. They welcomed our team with a guitar, a song and some homemade sweets. Right away, it was clear to us how they enthrall their guests, even at the initial encounter with them.
We talked with Almedin Memović, founder and owner of the Tallest Tourguide Tours agency.
The whole Tallest Tourguide Tours story begins in 2017, when Almedin made a dismissal in a Sarajevo's tourist agency. At that point he realized that he wanted to start his own business which would offer a totally different approach, not only towards work itself, but also towards guests. That, as he says, would not only mean doing business and focusing on the financial gain, but also leveraging the society by promoting our domestic products and small shops.
Since you were extremely young when you decided to get into the entrepreneurial waters, what prompted you to open your agency and start your own business?
I am 25 years old and I don't know many people of my age who consider financial gain their main guiding force. In fact, it is the idea they have. When in their thirties, people tend to think more intensively about what will bring benefit to them, but when in their twenties, they are more devoted to putting a spotlight on their ideas and their realization. The main motivation to start my own business was the feeling that my ideas and I were simply underutilized.
Tell us more about your agency and its interesting name. Who makes the TTT team?
We came up with the agency’s name quite accidentally. My Instagram user name was “Meme from Bistrik” for quite some time, which I changed to "Tallest Tourguide", since I’m 2.05 m tall. The initial idea for the agency’s name was "Sarajevo Vibe", but since it contained the name of the city, we would have been obliged to pay additional annual fee to the City of Sarajevo, which was not profitable at all at the beginning of our business. That's why we decided to use my new Instagram user name as the name of the agency. I can tell you that we have had many visits and tourist reservations out of pure curiosity - people just wanted to see if we were truly the tallest guides in Sarajevo. As far as the agency’s team is concerned, I’m currently working with my colleague and best friend Nikola Mihajlović and several external associates/guides who are occasionally working for our agency. We are a team of young people with a common goal, which is presenting our country and all its beauties in the best light, and making people feel good when they’re visiting B&H. Of course, we plan to expand our team. We hope that by the end of the year we will have three employees and even more associates who will share our vision.
What is your biggest advantage? What makes you and your agency unique in such a multitude of agencies in Sarajevo and B&H?
As an agency, we have a slightly different way of educating our guides. Every four months, we are organizing additional training and briefing sessions with them. Also, we work on creating new experiences for our guests, such as “Cook With Us Class” or “Beer Tasting, Local Breweries Tour”. I think we are quite relaxed group of people, and perhaps the most important thing about our team is that we don’t have the “machine-like routine”. Our guides have enough time between their tasks to have a cup of coffee or grab a beer with participants of their tours, adding another layer of closeness with our guests.
In your opinion, what are the key factors for success in the entrepreneurial world?
I think the most important thing in every business is consistency and connections. One should stand by his words and be consistent in what he’s doing. In addition to that, networking is also very important. After all, I wouldn’t be in this interview if that wasn’t the case, would I?
What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as an entrepreneur?
The biggest mistake that has been following me since the very beginning is trying to do a lot of things by myself and finding it challenging to delegate the tasks to someone else. I’m constantly working on changing that "one-man show" approach by slowly carrying a greater number of obligations over to Nikola, thus giving him more responsibilities. Inadequate team and time management denies the leisure time and to a large degree reduces efficiency. This is one of the biggest problems of small businesses. There always has to be a person pulling things up, and somehow, I'm used to doing things by myself. That’s what I consider to be my business drawback.
How do you reach your clients?
Recommendations, direct contact and the Internet. In fact, if we organize private tours, our guests usually reach out to us through a reference, since they are looking for someone who has already had these types of tours. If we work with groups, such as group of guests from Asia or the countries of the region, they come to us through contacting certain agencies. These kind of guests are expecting to be contacted first, in order to arrange the details of the tour. Last but not least, if we work with individuals, they usually take the initiative of looking for agencies and guides by themselves. Sometimes we do internet promotions, in which we often blindly invest, but sometimes we do these promotions with a clearly defined goal. We still don’t have anyone who does marketing promotion for us, but I don’t find it necessary quite yet. Also, the recommendations usually come from people who were already on the tour with us, or from those who know us personally. One of the most significant recommendations we’ve got has been the one from DMC (Destination Management Company), which has enabled us to work with a large number of tourists from Asia.
Do you have some key partners and how do you maintain relations with them? Do you have advice on partner relations?
I consider several organizations and agencies from Croatia and the UK my key partners. In order to build a partnership, an entrepreneur has to set realistic expectations. What sometimes happens to be a problem is that I tend to set expectations bar quite high, and then I have to work even harder to prove myself. Perhaps that's exactly the cause of so many recommendations and nice words about our business. Partnerships shouldn’t be taken for granted. If I successfully collaborated with a partner for three years, and it happens that I start sending slightly inexperienced guides to the tour, this will weakens the quality of the tour itself, and it will for sure start distorting the partnership. Such things can only happen when one finds himself in a comfort zone and thinks that such relation with a partner cannot collapse because of its long history.
What is your opinion on the relation between Bosnia and Herzegovina and young people who would like to become entrepreneurs?
I think there are many problems on both sides. People under the age of 26-27 think that everything will be easier and better if they leave the country. Again, that is understandable because they have some kind of a “bad love affair” with B&H and what it offers to them as a state. When it comes to me, I received the incentive to start my business. I applied for the self-employment financial incentives provided by the Federal Employment Service. I’ve received it in a very unexpected way and in just a few minutes, without any specific selection methodology. This again shows that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s system is “a little bit” strange and complex. But also, young people are not sufficiently entrepreneurial, especially considering the youth unemployed rate in B&H.
Who has been your greatest support?
I will answer the question in the style of Snoop Dogg: "I would like to thank me, myself...” Jokes aside, I really believe that I am my own biggest support. You might ask why. In this society everyone is trying to cut off a piece of your wings and we get to live with it every day. Of course, there are friends who supported me, who said that opening my own business was a good idea, but all of it would more or less end with that story. Later on, when you encounter a problem, you are the one “swallowing” it and solving it on your own. When it comes to our parents, it is really hard for them to understand some things of our generations. Undoubtedly, they were my greatest support in most cases, but it is difficult to explain that I have to find a job or create it myself, when they still believe in socialism and the idea that the state should provide it to me. Also, I cannot forget some people and their positive that were my inspiration and support. For example, Harun Omić and Orhan Galičić from The Bew Pub. They’ve impressed me with their work, the way they learn from each other, and how they’ve built such a high-quality brand. It’s all about the positive energy of young people who are also entrepreneurs and they are able to recognize what you are going through and support you.
What advice would you give to young people who want to become entrepreneurs, but are still hesitating?
They need to understand that they are in their twenties and whatever happens, there is still plenty of time to make up for what’s been lost. Even if the business collapses, they will still be in a very good position to pick up the pieces and go back to the beginning. In fact, my advice would be to not wait, because 'now' is the best time to start a business.
What are the future plans of the Tallest Tourguide Tours team?
The main plan is to expand our small community, to hire two more people by the end of 2019. We also want to create content that will be recognizable and unique on our market. We plan to expand the offer of our unique tours, and add one new – the alternative one. The alternative tour will show a different perspective of Sarajevo; it will tell a story about graffiti, Sarajevo’s music scene, art, architecture from the time of communism, and so on. For this kind of tour, we will join forces with Alen Selimović and "Obojena klapa", who will help us complete this story about the alternative side of the city. This will be a great opportunity for mutual assistance and support, since Alen is an agency owner as well.
We wish all the best in the future work to Almedin and his team, and we recommend that you follow their activities at https://tt-tours.com/