Founded in 2005 by Alexander Handa, S-Trip! is a young company with decades of experience. It’s also an example of what can be achieved when the parents of a family-owned business support the next generation in pursuing its dreams.
That’s because S-Trip! began as the student division of Handa Travel, which was founded in 1976 by Mr. Handa’s parents.
“When we separated the student division to create S-Trip!, a stand-alone company, although my parents’ company is a shareholder it represented less than 10% of the family business,” Mr. Handa says.
“Now, it is a few times bigger than the old family business.”
Now a leader in student travel, S-Trip! takes more than 20,000 students to more than 12+ destinations around the globe annually.
“One of the reasons we’ve been very successful as a business is we’re very analytical,” Mr. Handa says.
“We always have a plan. We’re always looking back, asking if we achieved our goals, right down to the smallest detail, looking at how well we executed, where we can improve.”
Three years ago, the company’s rapid growth brought it face to face with its biggest challenge so far. At the time, the business consisted of Mr. Handa, his two business partners and 30 employees. “We didn’t have any managers,” Mr. Handa says.
To meet the company’s growing demands, the firm brought in managers. But the company kept growing quickly.
“We started pulling the managers up to become directors, and getting them to pull up managers,” Mr. Handa says.
“This has been a huge challenge. Going from mostly front-line employees to having a management structure has taken an enormous amount of blood, sweat and tears.”
Mr. Handa adds, “But the results of having succeeded and come out the other end is that we now have an organization with a management team and a leadership structure that’s ready to guide the company.
“It’s the step that’s needed to go from a small to a medium business.”