Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Reach For the Stars

feet on the ground reach fro the stars

Where I (Pietro) grew up in Johannesburg, there was a popular radio, and later also television, presenter – David Gresham – that always used to close his shows by saying “keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars”.

For us this means that while we spread our wings to explore new possibilities, and with it achieve our dream of “chilling happiness”, we do so with both our feet firmly planted on the ground. We approach our adventure realistically. We do our homework and carefully plan to achieve our objectives. All the while remaining open to new and alternative options.

Gary Player (South African golf player) frequently commented that he found that the more he practiced the luckier he became in winning tournaments. We have taken that phrase and modify it a bit by saying “the better one is prepared, the readier one becomes to explore new paths to success.”

Our wish for you is that your 2016 has a firm foundation, upon which you can stand to reach new heights in achieving your personal objectives.

Wir wünschen ihnen ein guten rutsch !!

Pietro & Eltje :-)))

To Build or To Buy?

build-or-buy

To B or not to B? … is another question arising, during our ongoing research, to which we need to find an answer.

While we analyse and finalise the business concept and the preferred location, we also need to evaluate whether we buy a going concern, or build a business from the ground up.

Our aim, like any good entrepreneur is to minimise risk, preserve cash while growing the profit line.

While both building or buying have pros and cons, we believe that free Cash Flow is likely to be the final deciding factor. Let’s explore these options together.

 

To Build

To build top pros as we see them include:

  • Find the preferred location.
  • Establish the exact concept as we envisage it.
  • Have control and full visibility from the outset.

To build top cons as we see them include:

  • Bureaucracy with various business registrations and licensing.
  • Recruiting and training of staff.
  • Establish suppliers and supply logistics.

 

To Buy:

To buy top pros as we see them include:

  • Business registrations, leases and licenses in place.
  • Staff would be available and supply mechanism in place.
  • Income in generated form day one.

To buy top cons as we see them include:

  • While we intend to conduct a thorough due diligence, problems could be hidden.
  • The location and concept may not be quite what we had in mind requiring additional investment to make it so.
  • Depending how how the deal is struck, a large cash flow dent will be made at the outset to purchase a business.

 

When it comes to making this decision, every Build vs Buy opportunity will need be evaluate on its own merits. Potential purchases will need to undergo a thorough due diligence with the best possible deal structure … that is pay “as late as possible” … entrepreneurship 101 J.

These are then compared to what it will take to build the business we want from scratch. The comparison should include cash flow forecast, profit generation and break-even analysis. In addition, the likelihood of success and impact of various risks need to be considered.

So, let’s see what we do, Build or Buy? J

What else do you think we should consider?

Ciao for now

Pietro & Eltje

It’s All About Trust, Baby!

trust

In the previous few posts we were being quite technical, and so we thought it was time to change the pace a little with this post.

While the adventure of life requires that one uses all the competencies one has developed in life, nothing plays a bigger role then relationships. Particular the relationship with one’s partner, in our case that is business partner, life partner, lover, and co-dishwasher 🙂

So, how did two people who knew each other barely 12 months at the time decide to throw it all in and embark on an adventure that would require complete reliance on each other?

So a few things lie behind that decision.

  • We fit together like copy & paste, weisswurst & brezen, sofa & chips ….
  • We both got tired of the old “must” way of life and opted for “feels right”.
  • We have the same objectives … we both seek simplicity, we both feel a pull of the South Pacific, we both wanna stop and feel the warm breeze of the ocean and the cool wet beach sand under our feet … every day ….

But most of all, we have a deep connection, which allows trust to flourish. As one it makes no sense to have alternate motives, act selfishly, hide the truth, have expectations, because these things just cause pain. Where there is pain, connection and trust can not thrive.

This trust permits one to be oneself, open and honest. It eliminates game playing and allows fearless enquiry when once partner’s behaviour causes confusion or threatens that trust. Trust grants one openness to life.

With similar philosophies and goals in life, and having earned each others trust, we feel at ease to journey into our adventure together.

We are fortunate, not just to have come together, but also to have found this trust relatively quickly … things are just meant to be.

Pietro & Eltje

The Chill Concept

concept Filter

In the previous post we shared how we are going about finding the right spot for PeanieSutra. When we have a location, we need a business concept. After all, the right location without a business ain’t gonna give us the lifestyle we are looking for.

In this post we will describe the approach we are using to hone in on the right concept. Our business concepts include:

  • A Lounge Bar
  • A Fitness and Water Sport Centre
  • A Boutique Hotel / Resort
  • Write Travel Reports (Articles and Photography)
  • A combination of any of the above

To select the final business concept, we are undertaking two sequential analysis phases. The first to prioritise the concept, and the second to use market data to select the final concept.

To prioritise the business concepts, we attempt to score each concept based on our and its “capability” by using four criteria. These are:

  • Our Own Competencies to succeed
  • The Investment required: initial and ongoing
  • The Life Cycle of the concept
  • Can it provide the Life Style we require?

To prioritise the concept based on these criteria we adopt a similar approach as with identifying the right location. We:

  1. Weight each of the 9 criteria. That is, not all criteria are equal, so a 100 points is distributed across the 9 criteria.
  2. Score each concept against each criteria on a scale of 1-10, where 10 = highest.
  3. Give a confidence level for the quality of the estimation given to each criteria. 100 = 100% confident that the data is correct.
  4. The number for the three points are multiplied (1 x 2 x 3 = index score) and tallied up.

The concept with the higher scores are taken through the the final phase to select the best one

This we do by determining the “attractiveness” of the top business concepts. To do so, we gather data and information on the following two criteria by selected location.

  • Size of the Market Demand
  • Competitive Activity
  • Our Competitive Advantage (value proposition)

Once the facts are ascertained, we follow much the same approach as with selecting a location and prioritising concept. That is, we weight the selection criteria, rate our confidence on the data gathered, and score each concept by location against the criteria.

Once we complete the analysis we will post the results.

Tell us  … So what do you think of our approach published in this and the previous posts on how we are going about to identify a location and final business concept?

Locating PeanieSutra

location-location-location

So where should we locate PeanieSutra?

Some commercial guru once said that there are three key success factors to winning in the  consumer business, these are three …. location, location, location.

Having only travel within and never lived in any of the countries we intend to establish a business, we surely have our task cut out for us. Not only doe we need the right street location, we need to first identify the country that is best for our business concept.

In fact, in our case, location can be divided into three categories:

  1. Country
  2. Area / Town
  3. Street / Beach

This means we have to obtain and analyse data and information from a macro through to the micro level. Fortunately, and thank god, the internet goes long way to get this done.

You may be wondering what data and information (facts) we are gathering. And secondly how do we go about analysing it.

Okay, so first let’s explore the facts that we are gathering. At the moment we are focussed on reducing a preselected shortlist of countries down to a prioritised 2 or 3.

To aid this process of identifying a suitable country we gather the following information and facts:

  1. Social: Population, Population growth, tourism and tourism growth
  2. Economic: Gross Domestic product and growth rate, inflation rate
  3. Tax: Business-, personal-, and sales tax
  4. Ownership law: Business and property
  5. Business environment: Ease of doing business
  6. Environmental Risk: Cyclone, Tsunami, Earthquake history and predications
  7. Financial Risk: Money laundering/terrorist financing risks, Corruption risks, Governance related risks, Narcotics Major List, Financial transparency risks
  8. Political Stability
  9. Work Ethic

Once we have a country, we need to zoom into identifying specific areas / towns. For this we gather the following information and facts:

  1. Population density
  2. Tourism numbers: visitors, length of stay, accommodation, existing facilities
  3. Current Infrastructure: roads, buildings, communication, internet
  4. Planned Infrastructure
  5. Accessibility: ports, suppliers, medical and hospitals

In the town/area we need a specific street / beach location. This dependent on:

  1. Access to target market: Walk by traffic
  2. Availability, state and cost for buildings / space

Once we have the facts, or even during the gathering process, we score the locations against each criteria. For example, at the country level.

  1. Each of the 9 criteria are weighted. That is, not all criteria are equal, so a 100 points is distributed across the 9 criteria.
  2. A confidence level is given to the quality of the facts gathered for each criteria. 100 = 100% confident that the data is correct.
  3. Then each country receives a score, relative to the other countries and our own expectations, on a scale of 1-10, where 10 = excellent.
  4. The number for the three points are multiplied (1 x 2 x 3 = index score) and tallied up. The country with the highest score is the preferred one.

The current standing, after 65% of the analysis completed, sees the following Island States in the running:

  1. The Cook Islands
  2. Vanuatu
  3. Fiji
  4. Tonga
  5. French Polynesia

Okay, so that is the science behind identifying the right location. How do we bring in intuition, which we believe has a key role to play in entrepreneurship?

Even when gathering the best available data and information, we still lack the first hand feel for the location. For this we need to go to ground zero … stay tuned … in due course will bring you the result of the analysis followed by live reporting when we visit the selected locations around April / May 2016.

In the next post we will chat about how we are filtering our business concept ideas.

Finding A Chill Haven Spot

Jump for joy

It has been a few interesting months since Eltje and I decided to set sail in search for the “Chill Haven”. Our journey has taken us deep into the heart of … your guessed it …. data … yes, good  old data.

You got to appreciate that we have both just emerged from a long life in the corporate business world and still have this lingering need to find data, to crush it, and let it point us in the “right” direction. At this stage still a bit more left brain 🙂

We have about 12 months to finalise what we want to do and where, and launch the business. Trust me “we have lots to do and too little time” …. ALREADY !!!! But we have already learnt form one of our Island Gurus that “there is plenty of time” …. so no stress :-)))

Allow us to offer you a high level overview of  our activities the next months.

  1. We have been in the process of accumulating data and information to help us better understand a part of the world we have only visited on holidays.
  2. We have developed an analysis approach to use this information to help prioritise a short list of locations.
  3. In parallel we have several business concepts that need prioritising and final one selected.
  4. The above 3 points are based on previous visits to these countries and the data obtained through desk research. Desk research can only tell one so much. The natural next step is then to go to the locations identified with the concepts selected to evaluate the practicalities and then finalise the Real-Win-Worth.
  5. Thereafter the entire preparation for launch commences.

In the next two posts we would like to share a bit more about how we are going about, using available data to (a) identify the right location for, (b) the winning business concept.

BTW – By the end of this year we will both be fully dedicated to our journey, meaning we will have lots more to share with you, more often … so keep posted.

If you think of something we have overlooked, please do not hesitate to tell us 😉

Ciao for now, go easy.