Alaska Small Business Development Center

Katie Rooks: Six key takeaways from starting my business

November 20, 2018

Katie Rooks started Prince of Wales Excursion Outfitter in summer, 2017. Read her story here, and check out her list of key takeaways stemming from the experience of launching her small business. You can also learn more abut her business at

  1. Ability and willingness to seek help—The Alaska SBDC, a quality insurance agent, and the support of like-minded fellow business people all played key roles in my success.
  2. Tenacity—If I had given up at any point along the way, none of it would have happened.
  3. Flexibility—In order to be competitive, I had to branch out. For instance, I soon realized that in order to succeed I needed to offer a wider variety of services and experiences than simply outdoor equipment rental.
  4. Creative marketing—To maximize my business potential I reached out out to niche audiences such as women’s organizations and birding groups. Not only has this been good for my business, it may soon help boost regional visibility in new areas of eco-tourism.
  5. Know your competitors…but don’t view them as a negative—several competing eco-tourism businesses have actually served as referrals, either because I offer specialized services or because they were too busy.
  6. Take risks—Risk is a vital part of starting a business, and I have gradually learned to be more comfortable with it. While I’m still averse to incurring debt, I invested more money during year two, allowing me to boost the variety of services I can offer and increase profits.

Prince of Wales Excursion Outfitter: How a Southeast Alaska small business was born

Alaska SBDC FY2018 Community Impact Report

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