Own business: outdoor survival courses

The business of conducting survival courses today can be in demand by the audience, but it will suit a few: at the forefront of this business is the rich practical experience of the instructors and presenters themselves.
In the modern world, natural disasters, cataclysms and epidemics regularly occur. This topic worries many, so people began to think more often about how to get survival skills in any life circumstances. Every year there are more and more people who want to take survival courses in the natural environment. So a new business idea was born. 

The essence of the business is to organize training courses that teach the theoretical and practical basis of survival in the wild. In the West, such courses have been popular for a long time: they are attended alone and by whole families. For Russia, this direction of leisure is new, but it is becoming more and more popular. 

Survival school is a specific business. You need to be aware of your responsibility. Conducting such courses is not entertainment, but education. Therefore, this business idea is addressed to those who have the relevant knowledge and practical skills : rescuers, experienced tourists, military, employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, etc. 

Not everyone can start a business on survival courses. Of course, you can open your own business as a manager and find an experienced specialist for the project. However, it is always better for a business when the owner himself is well versed in this area. This is a great advantage, but not a prerequisite for doing business. It is enough to have organizational skills, energy and, of course, to be interested in this topic. And you will have to look for an instructor, because you cannot do without a specialist. 

In this article, we will look at survival courses as a business idea, with all its pros and cons, pitfalls and profitability indicators. 

Outdoor survival courses. The essence of business

The essence of the business is simple – teaching everyone who wants to survive in the wild. You can offer a variety of levels of complexity and forms of education, provide a vast geography of courses – everything that can attract a large audience and gain popularity of the courses, and hence the commercial success of the business.

This new and interesting business can be in great demand in Russia due to the huge variety of beautiful places, amazing landscapes in which it is interesting to spend time, and if this time is also spent with benefit, then there should be plenty of people who want to take survival courses.

To understand the specifics of this business, you need to analyze its pros and cons. 

ADVANTAGESDISADVANTAGES
A small investment is required to get started;The business is suitable for start-up entrepreneurs;A popular direction of educational leisure;Fast return on investmentBusiness seasonality
The risk of not finding your audienceHigh responsibilityWithout personal experience in this topic, it will be difficult to work

Subject of survival courses

A huge variety of topics of classes is designed to interest the largest number of potential customers. At the same time, the more sonorous they are, the more interest they can excite, the better and more efficiently you will be able to attract those who want to come to you. 

Examples of topics for survival courses:

  • Where to find and how to get water. This topic includes: rainwater harvesting, solar evaporator, water harvesting from polluted reservoirs and much more. Finding water is the main task for a surviving person, because without water a person will not live long. But just getting water is not enough, you also need to be able to clean and disinfect it.
  • Orientation in space. This topic includes topography and navigation, the classification and purpose of maps, the ability to read maps, measuring distances, conventional signs and symbols on the map, as well as orientation by the sun and stars, by light, by natural and natural landmarks.
  • Shelter construction. A special section is devoted to shelters. Knowing how to build a temporary shelter is a very important skill for surviving in the wild. Even the simplest, possibly flimsy and unreliable shelter can protect from the weather, and this is especially important at night when the temperature drops noticeably. It will also help protect against insects, which is of great importance in the forests in summer and autumn.
  • How to get fire. Fire can greatly facilitate the task of survival, so the ability to get it is very valuable. At the same time, the methods of its extraction are not limited to the friction of sticks.
  • Making weapons. The ability to make a makeshift weapon or tool is a skill that can make survival much easier. This is necessary both for obtaining food and for protection from animals.
  • Where to find food. The block about what you can eat is quite extensive: here you can talk about the principles of hunting, and the differences between poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms, and the search for berries and edible roots, and much more.
  • Provision of medical care. This block includes: knowledge of medicinal herbs, skills in helping with certain injuries, thanks to which you may be able to save the life of yourself or another person.
  • Psychological preparation of a person for stressful and extreme situations . This includes self-control training, the psychotypes of people are revealed, and the principles of behavior in an extreme situation are given.

Business and course formats

The greatest coverage of possible formats will benefit your business. The more varied your offer, the more opportunities you use, the more potentially successful your business is.

Consider the form of the courses. What can be the variety of courses you offer:

According to the direction of the given knowledge and skills:

  • Medical
  • Psychological
  • theoretical
  • Physical training

By level of training:

  • Elementary
  • Base
  • Profound (extreme)

By target audience:

  • Children and teenagers, workshops for families
  • Tourists
  • Individual courses
  • Advanced survivalists, rescuers
  • Training for both beginners and “experienced” who seek to improve certain techniques and acquire deeper knowledge of survival in the wild. 

Venue:

  • Theoretical studies and practice in nature. The venue for theoretical classes can be: an assembly hall, a room in a coworking center, or a room in the building of the local palace of culture – this should be a well-visible room, preferably with a small stage and the possibility of demonstrating actions. Knowledge of survival techniques should be supported by survival skills, which, in turn, are acquired through practice in nature.
  • Travel out of town. The shortest and easiest way to nature. It is interesting, first of all, for its low cost for budget groups. At the same time, if well organized, it can be very exciting and useful in conducting courses.
  • Travel to exotic places (possibly to a desert island). Traveling to West and South Africa, ski expeditions to Chukotka, hiking or cycling in Bariloche – this is the northern part of Patagonia (Argentina), hiking to Armenia or Turkey, hiking along the Mannerheim line, climbing the Damavend volcano in Iran … Enumeration of the whole variety may be endless. Everything will depend on the interests and capabilities of the groups being trained.
  • Correspondence courses with webinars, online meetings, presentations. Distance learning.

By duration:

  • Regular classes for a certain period of time. 
  • Separate master classes.

Ways and strategy of business promotion, advertising

To develop an advertising strategy, you need to clearly understand your target audience. If there is an understanding of who your client is, then it will become obvious where to look for him, what to interest him with, what to focus on in advertising, etc. 

Let’s figure out who wants to come to you for survival courses:

  • Outdoor enthusiasts , novice tourists, extreme sportsmen;
  • Families who want to spend their leisure time actively and profitably;
  • Companies organizing team building and corporate events in this format;
  • Schoolchildren and students who love adventure, tourism and everything unknown;
  • Businessmen who want to unwind and experience new emotions;
  • Curious people who are just curious to try something new. 

As you can see, the audience is very wide. Both adults and children can be your clients; individuals and companies. At the same time, the price range of services is quite wide. And here it is important to choose the segment with which you will work: budget, medium or premium. Obviously, each of the price segments will have its own nuances of business organization: starting from the course programs themselves and ending with promotion tools. 

So, to promote your business, you can use the following methods:

  • Advertising courses in large companies, in student and school environments . For some, these classes will be a fun hike or excursion, but the importance of the acquired skills cannot be underestimated.
  • Web site. It is advisable to create your own website, where there should be a full description of your offer with photos, prices, reviews, etc. 
  • Social media. There are a huge number of users in social networks who lead an active lifestyle and are interested in novelties in the field of leisure, education and entertainment. Survival courses are just an interesting mix of all these areas. Therefore, look for clients on social networks! Blog: share your experiences to build trust; introduce subscribers to the course programs; share photos from your activities, hikes, etc. Another option for advertising in social networks is posting ads in thematic groups. Knowing who your target audience is, you can choose a thematic public (tourism, sports, travel, leisure in the city, etc.). 
  • YouTube. Post free master classes, videos from your classes and redirect viewers to your main resource (website / blog where you can sign up for courses). 
  • Printable advertisement. Printed ads and flyers can be left in places where your target audience is concentrated: at tourist camps, in shops with goods for recreation and sports, in sports clubs, in educational institutions, etc.
  • Placement of advertisements in newspapers, travel magazines. Ads in sports centers, camp sites, near shops selling fishing equipment, equipment for tourism and hunting.
  • The sonorous names of the courses are important. Example: “The Last Hero”, “Check Yourself”, “One on One”, “Guerrilla”, “Predator”, “She-Wolf”.
  • Word of mouth radio. Of course, we must not forget that the feedback of your customers is a powerful tool for promotion. It is important to provide services so that the reviews are positive and play in your favor. Then satisfied customers will attract new customers. 

In addition to the above, the charisma of lecturers, practice on the ground and interesting routes are even more important.

Registration of survival courses

Depending on the format and scale of your business, registration will also be different. Possible options are work as a self-employed, and an individual entrepreneur, and a limited liability company. 

For this area of ​​commercial activity, OKVED codes are used:

  • 85.41.1. “Education in the field of sports and recreation”.
  • 85.41.9. “Other additional education for children and adults, not included in other groups.”
  • 85.42.9. “Other activities for additional professional education, not included in other groups.”

To organize this business, the legislative and regulatory acts of the Russian Federation do not require the issuance of special permits, licenses, etc. 

Organization of children’s trips

Keep in mind, if you plan to organize children’s trips and trips, then you must issue additional documents: a route sheet or route book of a tourist group; medical admission to participate in a trip lasting more than one day; permission from the parents or legal guardians of the children. You may also need to register a group at the local rescue department of the Ministry of Emergencies: tell us your route, group composition, hiking time, etc. The procedure is simple, but requiring attention, so this moment is a must. 

Another important nuance – do not forget about insurance. Still, survival courses involve vigorous activity in dangerous conditions (in practice, they use equipment, tools, fire, etc.). Most accidents occur due to the negligence of customers and non-compliance with safety regulations. Consider this risk in advance in order to develop preventive measures and insure it. 

Recruitment

Here, too, everything will depend on the formats and scale of your business. Let’s take some average option, consider what kind of employees and what qualifications you need.

  • Lecturer-instructor – an employee who has certain knowledge and skills in the field of extreme tourism, medicine, who has the skills to survive in the wild. Wages can be piecework – a certain percentage of the total collection from groups, or a salary, for example, 50 thousand rubles.
  • Instructor’s assistant – an employee who helps you to solve organizational issues. Salary 25 thousand rubles.

Employees must have documents confirming their qualifications. These can be certificates of training at an instructors school, certificates of participation in extreme survival events, a diploma of education (for example, in the field of applied sports and extreme activities). Documentation confirming the instructor’s experience is a guarantee for the business owner and increases customer confidence. 

The help of an accountant-economist, a programmer, a specialist with a medical education, a psychologist, at a certain stage, you will also need. These can be both one-time services and the employment of such specialists on the staff, everything will depend, I repeat, on the scale and format of the business.

Key financial indicators of the business

For clarity, let’s consider the option of conducting classes with one group of 20 people.

  • Income part. The cost of studying at weekly courses and going out of town on the weekends will be 3.5 thousand rubles. The total fee from the group will be 70 thousand rubles. You can conduct 3-4 courses of such classes per month, the total fee from these groups will be from 210 to 280 thousand rubles. 
  • Expenses. The cost of renting a room for 5 classes of 2 hours can be 5 thousand rubles, 20 thousand rubles per month. Your advertising expenses, including the work of your site on the Internet per month, will be about 20 thousand rubles, the payment of salaries to two employees will be 75 thousand rubles. The cost of paying taxes from the wage fund, from your activity depends on the form of business registration you choose. Let’s take the average amount of 20 thousand rubles. 
  • Net profit. Accordingly, your business on this scale will bring you an income of 145 thousand rubles a month, 1740 thousand a year. Here we note that for simplicity and clarity, we, of course, took the minimum scale of the business, which is quite easy. With a serious attitude to business, they can be increased significantly.