For the first time since I snowboarded the Alps in 2003, I finally strapped on a board and hit the slopes! That's 7 years without snowboarding, so of course things were a little shaky at first. My buddies Fernando and Alfonso invited me to the La Parva resort just about an hour out of Santiago for a great weekend of skiing/snowboarding, drinks, and laughs. (And the opportunity to learn that, what we call a "snowman" in English is called a "mono de nieve" in Spanish. Translated? "Snow Monkey." That discovery sure was worth a laugh......)
(Pics: Above, my new Klim motorcycle riding gear is not only great for waterproof riding, but snowboarding as well! Aside from renting the snowboard and boots, it was neat to see how completely motorcycle gear can be transformed into snowboarding gear. Below: Pisco-sours , a famous local drink, before a crash or two on the slopes (Fernando?)
Below, from top, clockwise: Enrico from Italy, who just arrived after studying in England with a mutual friend of ours; Alfonso, my buddy and fellow motorcycle rider you've seen before in this blog; Jorge, who I had just met; Fernando, who I am living with now in Santiago; Vicente, who I had just met for this trip. Out on the deck at the end of the day, sun going down with the slopes just 100 yards from where we sit, and beers in position. Not a bad day.
If you read that last caption above, you might have noticed I'm back here in Santiago now. It's official: Moto Rider is closed for business.
Daniel first told me there were some serious financial issues back in May, and as described in my previous blog post, he was trying to sell Moto Rider and get out of the business. Quite frankly, with its current financial status, it's not a very attractive business to buy, Daniel just wants to close the company instead. I have left Antofagasta with all of my personal belongings, and moved everything for the company back to Santiago. Signed my contract-closure statement this past week (which was an interesting story I'm going to hold back on writing about) and now I'm looking forward to the next big move in life. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
What happened and why did it fail?
Without getting too specific, let's just say that many, many errors in timing, staffing, marketing, purchasing, and strategy all combined to see this company open and close in 1 year. Things were looking good and our sales were growing until the earthquake and the end of the "peak" summer months. Unfortunately, those two major factors when pitted against the many errors I eluded to above put us in a position of having extremely imbalanced costs & revenues. On the plus side: What an absolutely incredible learning lesson it has been for me! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
What is next for me?
I've been talking with competitors here in Chile and out in the world about some possible work. There's plenty of interest in my help, because t's not often they find someone that knows motorcycles, knows the South American tour routes, has sales and professional experience, and speaks Spanish and English. (Well, let's say I speak "enough" Spanish. No voy a ser un escritor de discursos profesional en espanol pronto : )
Thinking about what I said above.....that this has been an "absolutely incredible learning lesson for me," has sparked even more thought about starting my own business. I've seen so many mistakes made and lessons learned, it's like I was just given a 1-year lesson on how to start a business. (Or maybe I should say "how NOT to start a business.") xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Alfonso, (mentioned above) and a few friends have been generous enough to put some small business ideas in my head, and those ideas pairing well with the other ideas I've had since about August of 2008. Before explaining the plan in detail though, I still have quite a bit of research I'm doing from the feasibility standpoint, including talking with potential suppliers. (Yes, it has to do with motorcycle adventure tours.) My thanks to you either way to Alfonso, for making the extra suggestion that really has me charged up again to start something.
So I'll write more about that soon when things are more definite. Like I said though, I'm also talking with other companies about working for them, so at this point, there are many possible next steps ahead! Will write more soon.