Entrepreneurs often feel like underdogs. Learn how Mario Tuksa overcomes it.
If there is one universal thing that all entrepreneurs face, it’s competition. And that competition is nothing like a friendly game of ball at the park with friends; it’s a high school freshman trying to sack a quarterback in the Super Bowl. This 24/7 struggle can cause even the most resolute business mind to throw his or her hands in the air and move on to another project.
But Mario Tuksa, owner of Lighthouse Adventure Travel, faces that struggle head on, just as he does every ocean wave, mountain footpath and winding trail he leads his clients down in Croatia and Montenegro.
Tuksa earned his sea legs as an adventure tourism specialist working for an elite company offering guided tours around Eastern Europe. But while Tuksa was happy to soak up every bit of knowledge and experience that working with a larger brand offered, he wasn’t completely satisfied. He wanted to create a tourism company that focused more on people and their experiences and less on money, saying, “We are different, you might say, thanks to our individual approach, small groups and complete, high-end customer service. Companies work with numbers, but we work with people.”
The result of his vision was Lighthouse Adventure Travel, an agency that focuses on taking tourists off the beaten path. But just like his rough-and-tumble tours, Tuksa’s road to success hasn’t been without bumps. “Just as in any other kind of business, sport or life in general where you compete against much stronger opponents, being the underdog is the biggest challenge, I would say. There are so many other people or agencies that have been here longer than you, have more clients than you, know more than you do, have more people than you and, in the end, more money than you.”
But Tuksa would be a pretty unreliable off-the-beaten-path tour guide if he let setbacks and struggles get him down. He goes on to say “Overcoming that isn’t easy, but it is a wonderful challenge—you have the world against you and the game is on. If it was too easy, it would not be as interesting as it is. One might say, it’s character building. It’s good for you.”
For his fellow entrepreneurs out there facing the same level of competition, Tuksa stresses the importance of determination and drive. “No one in this world can tell your story better than the person you see in the mirror. Whatever drives you and pushes you forward, it is something worth of all the trouble. If you feel it in your chest, pursue it, no matter how ridiculous or difficult it sounds. Once you stop worrying about the opinion of other people and do something you want, everything else comes along.”
By embracing his underdog status, by persevering against even the steepest competition, Tuksa has built a tourism company that consistently provides its clients with some of the most memorable, joyful experiences of their lives. And he has plenty of plans for the future. “I wish to acquire new licenses and certificates in order to expand my knowledge and business opportunities, as I would also like to expand the operation itself, covering more countries in the region.”
But while he’s always business-minded, expansion isn’t his ultimate goal. “Most of all, I would say that I want to see a better future and I will pursue it in my own ways. Leading others toward better things is the least I can do because … I strongly believe that if you give, you will get.”
Check out his website, including details on upcoming trips and his blog, at www.lighthousecroatia.com.