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ISSUE 8 ARCHIVE - COULD YOU RUN A DIVE BUSINESS?

Ralf Tech
You've thought about it before; your sort always do, usually whilst halfway through drinking yourself under the table in Sharm. But could you actually do it successfully?
Take this quiz to finally find out:

Q1 The man on the telly says there's a recession on. The woman in the paper says there's a recession on. Your cat says there's a recession on. What do you say?
A) Best not to say anything. There's never a good time to start a small business, but with sensible planning, a viable business model and a lot of hard work, there's never a bad one either.
B) Say it all with a white flag. Make a quick call to the bank and ask them to black-list you for any kind of credit until fifty years after you're dead, and change your sexual orientation to something that sickens you to think about.
C) Laugh. The man on the telly and the woman in the paper are mere sheep following a lazy herd, and your cat is out of its mind on catnip as usual. Remortgage your house and spend the money on magic beans.

Q2 Where will you set-up your premises?
A) Resist the urge to splash out on high-street frontage and spend the rent money saved on stabilising the business during the first three years.
B) Inside Wormwood Scrubs.
C) Next door to Harrods.

Q3 How will you promote your new business?
A) Take a hit in the short term, offering various discounts and bargains in order to get some word of mouth up and running, whilst obtaining as much cheap advertising as possible in the classifieds of the dive mags, on the internet, and with some sort of world record attempt.
B) Carefully write the name of your business on a small piece of old cardboard in crayon, and sellotape it to a lamppost outside the dive shop.
C) Remortgage your parents' house and spend the money on a sixteen second advert starring Dot Cotton from Eastenders to be shown during one episode of Deal or No Deal.

Q4 What kind of market will you aim for?
A) Divers, obviously, but try to attract some new blood by actively moving away from the hairy-arsed image of British diving.
B) The homeless and mentally ill.
C) A-list celebrities only. Everyone else can f*ck off.
Q5 Whom will you employ?
A) Run the shop yourself but attract some decent freelance instructors by offering a competitive daily rate and an enjoyable working environment with realistically structured courses and student numbers.
B) Three paedophiles and a man with rabies.
C) Ross Kemp.

Q6 What courses will you run?
A) Discover Scuba Diving through to Divemaster with all the specialities on the side. Perhaps pay a Course Director to run an Instructor Development Course or two if there seems to be demand.
B) The PADI Boat Diver speciality.
C) Invent your own course based on a corporate motivational seminar you once attended called "Sink or Swim". Begin day one by locking your students in a classroom for six hours chanting vapid business mantras at each other like "kill or be killed" and "I am a winner" before dragging them down to fifty metres and forcing them all to swap BCDs whilst you bombard them with horseshoes.

Q7 What other services will you offer?
A) Equipment rental and servicing. Air and nitrox fills, possibly branching into trimix according to demand. Stock the most popular dive gear in the shop but keep a wide variety of equipment catalogues on display and establish a good relationship with suppliers to get orders in quickly. Organise an active social club and offer regular trips to UK sites and abroad.
B) Bum sex.
C) Espionage.

Q8 After a successful first year, a competing dive business opens up across the road, what will you do?
A) Keep up the high quality service that has worked for you so far and try to establish a relationship with them in order to avoid a price war that will sink both businesses.
B) Urinate through their letterbox.
C) Attempt to poo through their letterbox.
D) All of the above.

Q9 News gets around that one of your students recently had treatment for decompression illness. What will you do?
A) Nothing. You've already spoken to the instructor, divemaster and other students who were on the dive and ascertained that all standards and safe diving practices were adhered to. Sometimes these things happen, as any diver worth their salt is well aware.
B) Try to claim it's just something that's going around and prove your point by purposefully giving yourself a lung overexpansion injury.
C) Remortgage your brother's house and spend the money on mercenaries whom you employ to execute the student in question along with anyone that has heard of the incident.
Nautilus Lifeline
Q10 Your best instructor seems to undergo a gradual personality change, becoming moody, turning up increasingly late for work and having lapses of concentration that could ultimately prove dangerous. How do you handle it?
A) Recognising symptoms of depression or possible drug abuse, you pay them a visit at home to talk about their problems and offer emotional support. Allow them to take as much time off as necessary to recover and help them find professional help if required.
B) Ask them to stay late one night and take advantage of their fragile mental state to sexually abuse them.
C) Order them to buy drugs for you. If they refuse or it transpires you've misread a delicate emotional condition such as bereavement, sack them, remortgage your best friend's house and spend the money on a public shaming campaign in the national newspapers.

Q11 You apply for, and receive, government funding to promote positive youth action in deprived communities. How will you spend the money?
A) Work with the local council and youth clubs to arrange free diving classes and try-dive sessions for financially challenged youngsters. Try to encourage the kids to actively pursue diving as a viable hobby and emphasise the opportunities for travel that professional dive positions offer. It wouldn't hurt to publicise this work a little either.
B) Fags and booze, mostly, although you will take the time out to occasionally litter the local skateboard park with dog dirt.
C) Organise a free kids entertainment night in the local community centre and pay an exorbitant sum of money hiring TV's Jim Davison to come along and tell racist jokes for ninety minutes.

Q12 After a few years in business, the readership of the prestigious London Diver Magazine votes your dive school as being the best in the land. How will you use the massive publicity and unimaginable riches such an honour would bestow upon you?
A) Use the same ethic that has successfully taken you this far to open up a second dive shop, possibly in an exotic location, and offer attractive employment terms to key members of staff to help run your new chain.
B) Burn down the dive shop as part of a clumsily orchestrated insurance scam.
C) Gloat wildly, arrogantly and at great length whilst launching massive legal actions against competitors on the grounds that they're inferior and need to be shut down.

Score nothing for every A) or D), crack cocaine for every B) and a billion points for every C).

How did you do?
Halcyon Eclipse Infinity
An addiction to hard drugs: You may not have the most forward thinking business plan in the world but the glass pipe will take your mind off the fact that you are a talentless individual, leading a hopeless life in a cruel world. If things continue to decline for you, please try to bear in mind that no one loves you and everyone you know would be happier if you took your own life.

Less than twelve billion points: Your outmoded commercial strategies are sure to see you bankrupt and sexually impotent within minutes. As you weep yourself to sleep, cold and alone in your cardboard box, it may console you to know that at least you deserve everything that has happened to you because you are a moron.

Twelve billion points: You see an opening and you go for it. Nothing but the best will do. It doesn't pay to take anything lying down in business. Second place goes to the first loser. Never stop fighting until the fight is done. Buy low, sell high. Keep your eye on the goal. It ain't over till the fat lady sings. If you don't use it, you lose it. Success is its own reward. A stitch in time saves nine. Wanker.
Denney Diving

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