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Bonus & Wendy's Monday Evening Private Investment Thread . . . .


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Those of you who have been following the "Big Adventure" thread at I started back in May 2015 will know our story already, but for anyone who has managed to miss it, here's a brief summary:

 

In 2013 we decided we wanted to move from SA back to Europe. I'd been in SA for 8 years at the time (I was also there for 8 years as a youngster) but "Wendy" had been in SA for most of her life.

We both have UK (& SA) passports but we really wanted to end up somewhere that at least has a guaranteed summer and the UK does not fit that criteria. Northern Spain was top of my list for several reasons, not least of which was access to Cycling in the Pyrenees Mountains.

After a couple of exploratory trips to Spain, we ended up buying a "Barn" in the village of Guaso in the Aragon region of Spain.

Guaso is a hilltop village in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is a 5 minute drive away from the small towns of Ainsa & Boltana and thanks to its location on the warm south facing side of a hill, enjoys its own very favourable “micro-climate”.

We are going to convert the Barn into a 4 Bedroom "en-suite" B&B that understands and caters for cyclists (although everyone would be welcome of course). We've had plans drawn up, planning permission granted and builders quotes obtained.

The original plan to cover the cost of the renovation / conversion was for us to put in our savings and borrow the balance from the bank. The regional department of commerce carried out a favourable viability study for us & the banks and the local bank managers were happy with our applications.

When the bank managers (we've spoken to several banks) sent our applications to their respective head offices it became apparent that it was not going to be as easy as we'd thought to secure a loan.

In a nutshell: Pre the 2008 financial Crises, Spanish bank managers (much like bank managers in the UK and the US) lent money without proper approval to literally anybody and his dog, holding the property deeds as security. As the Crisis hit it became apparent that people had spent the money on all sorts of things and now couldn't pay it back. Half-finished properties were repossessed to be sold off, but the numbers were so large that the banks ended up with more properties than they could sell and the market flooded. (which is why we got our property for the price we did). The downside though, is that banks can no longer accept your property as security against a loan.

 

That leaves us with two options:

 

Option 1 is for us both to get full time jobs, which would qualify us for a mortgage.

Option 2 is for us to look for some form of private investment.

 

Unfortunately, for various reasons including language and the type of work on demand locally, Option 1 is just not viable. (Of course we knew that when we came here - the plan was never to have to look for full time jobs, the plan was for us both to run the B&B and associated services, which in itself is going to be a full time job for both of us!)

 

So that leaves Option 2. To try and raise the funds we need via sources other than the high street banks.

 

Now this is something neither of us have ever had to do before. We've both had various mortgages/loans over the years - but always through a recognised bank/building society or, in the case of vehicles, loan company. 

 

I know there are a fair few financial bods on here as well as a number of (small) business owners. What we're looking for (aside from a suitcase full of money) is any advice, on how to move forward.

 

 

There are some things that we do already know or have already considered:

 

1) We do know that if we don't involve the banks then we can split our project into three stages (as I've mentioned on the Big Adventure thread).

 

2) We believe that one possibility for funding the second and third stages of the project would be via some form of "Crowd-Funding" (essentially a time-share type setup where people get a holiday every year (for themselves or a nominee) for a number of years using the finished stage(s) of the project)

 

A downside to "Crowd-Funding" is the admin cost that the organisers take. Percentages vary anywhere from 5 to 9% of the total amount raised.

 

3) We know, because it was shown to be true on the Dept. of Commerce viability study, that this area is growing, our business plan is sound and we will succeed. .

 

4) We remain confident that buying the property we did, where we did, was a good idea. Almost everybody that I guide, regardless of where in the world they come from (from Brazil to New Zealand and everywhere in between), wants to see our barn and hear our story. They all love our place, the tranquillity of the village, see the potential in the property and encourage us not to give up!

 

5) The time we have already spent here interacting with visitors has taught us exactly what it is that people are after when they come here to stay. (Being cyclist ourselves, we already had a pretty good idea, but you can always learn a bit more).

 

6) We have realised that instead of running a B&B "with some cycling/guiding thrown in", there is actually a very big market for proper organised cycling holidays - both MTB and Road based. To that end we have spent time working with and forging relationships with, the local bike repair/hire shops, the local uplift taxi & bike services,  restaurants etc etc and we now aim to provide, alongside a basic B&B service, full-blown guided cycling holidays.....

 

 

Lots of ideas & plans and lots of enthusiasm. Maybe with the help of our Hubber friends we can work out a way forward from here.

 

In the meantime, we're constantly promoting the area, I'm MTB guiding (and making friends with) some very nice people - some of whom have already made return visits, and we're both working enough to keep our heads above water and food on the table. . . . .

 

 

Tranquilo - Todo a Tiempo.

 

(Stay Calm, Everything in its Time)

 

 

Tony & Andrea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Loved following the progress and the story. Been rooting for you and your adventure because i've ridden in the area before and loved it. 

 

So as soon as you've worked out your plan and the way forward I'll be front and centre to see what you're offering and how I can get a bit of it! :)

 

Good luck and if you need any brand development, online marketing, social media campaigns and online development / advice then just drop me a PM. 

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Loved following the progress and the story. Been rooting for you and your adventure because i've ridden in the area before and loved it. 

 

So as soon as you've worked out your plan and the way forward I'll be front and centre to see what you're offering and how I can get a bit of it! :)

 

Good luck and if you need any brand development, online marketing, social media campaigns and online development / advice then just drop me a PM. 

 

Cheers DT. Much appreciated :-)

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When life is tricky, stresses are running high and you feel like you are constantly being worn down - it is important to:

 

1) Concentrate on the things that are really important,

2) Continue to believe in yourself,

3) Keep an open mind,

4) Try to keep a sense of humour.

 

 

With that last point in mind . . . . .

 

 

Some people believe that "the Universe" will reveal things to you only as and when you are ready to receive them.

 

The day I started this thread, which we'd been thinking about starting for a while, we also started watching a TV program called "Ozark" - which I became aware of thanks to the "What Television Programs are you Watching" thread here on the Bikehub.

 

We're loving the program and in the first episode we learned two things from it.

 

Firstly, there is a particular type of Investor out there called an "Angel Investor". This is someone with the available means and the interest to help small or Start-Up businesses that they have taken a personal interest in.

 

Secondly, in no way, shape or form should you ever get involved in Money Laundering for a Mexican Drug Cartel. . . .

 

:-)

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hAXVqrljbs

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When life is tricky, stresses are running high and you feel like you are constantly being worn down - it is important to:

 

1) Concentrate on the things that are really important,

2) Continue to believe in yourself,

3) Keep an open mind,

4) Try to keep a sense of humour.

 

 

With that last point in mind . . . . .

 

 

Some people believe that "the Universe" will reveal things to you only as and when you are ready to receive them.

 

The day I started this thread, which we'd been thinking about starting for a while, we also started watching a TV program called "Ozark" - which I became aware of thanks to the "What Television Programs are you Watching" thread here on the Bikehub.

 

We're loving the program and in the first episode we learned two things from it.

 

Firstly, there is a particular type of Investor out there called an "Angel Investor". This is someone with the available means and the interest to help small or Start-Up businesses that they have taken a personal interest in.

 

Secondly, in no way, shape or form should you ever get involved in Money Laundering for a Mexican Drug Cartel. . . .

 

:-)

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hAXVqrljbs

Lol..you dont have to go so far are Mexico...there's a grandpa around the corner from you...????

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/12/arrest-of-manuel-charlin-85-reveals-resilience-of-galicias-cocaine-clans

Edited by urbanroyal
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  • 4 weeks later...

When we started talking about looking for private investors, two possible types of investor immediately came to mind. 

 

The first was someone living either in SA or Europe, who had money sitting in a European savings account earning no interest. Mortgage/Bond interest rates are very low here at the moment and consequently interest earned on savings is next to nothing. We could offer "something better than nothing"   

 

The second possibility was someone living in SA, planning to leave the country, but not ready to leave just yet. They could potentially want to move some of their funds out of SA now in order to reduce any further losses due to falling exchange rates and we could offer them "somewhere safe to put their money in the meantime"

 

Currently we are talking to a couple of people along these lines.

 

It's early days yet, but you never know!

 

:-)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Going through the process of answering questions from potential investors, preparing & sending supporting documents to them and generally giving our whole Business Plan a good thinking over . . . and I'm happy to say that we're good.

 

Our plan IS sound. We DO live in an amazing and popular place and we HAVE got some great ideas moving forward. 

 

Sometimes after you've uprooted yourself, moved country and pretty much "started again" you can have doubts about what exactly you were thinking when you started.... but we're fine. Everything we've planned and thought through still looks good!

 

A nice feeling to have on a Monday morning . . . .

 

:-) 

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Going through the process of answering questions from potential investors, preparing & sending supporting documents to them and generally giving our whole Business Plan a good thinking over . . . and I'm happy to say that we're good.

 

Our plan IS sound. We DO live in an amazing and popular place and we HAVE got some great ideas moving forward. 

 

Sometimes after you've uprooted yourself, moved country and pretty much "started again" you can have doubts about what exactly you were thinking when you started.... but we're fine. Everything we've planned and thought through still looks good!

 

A nice feeling to have on a Monday morning . . . .

 

:-) 

Im glad you are forging on with the plan.

I can say that I have a fair understanding of where you are coming from although on a smaller scale.

Been building a house for the last few months bit by bit and its really rough going when you are trying to do most of it yourself.

The type of bond and the holder of it prevents us from getting money from the bank so its often a case of trying to make a plan just to get something completed.

Stress levels through the roof from working normal hours and then working until midnight in the house. Rinse and repeat the next day and try to keep everything on track and in once piece!

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Going through the process of answering questions from potential investors, preparing & sending supporting documents to them and generally giving our whole Business Plan a good thinking over . . . and I'm happy to say that we're good.

 

Our plan IS sound. We DO live in an amazing and popular place and we HAVE got some great ideas moving forward. 

 

Sometimes after you've uprooted yourself, moved country and pretty much "started again" you can have doubts about what exactly you were thinking when you started.... but we're fine. Everything we've planned and thought through still looks good!

 

A nice feeling to have on a Monday morning . . . .

 

:-) 

 

How does the old joke go?

 

If you can keep cool and collected whilst everyone else is panicking and losing their heads around you, maybe they know something you don't. :lol:

 

Anyways. Just joking with you. A bit of momentary self-doubt and introspection is not a bad thing at all, far better than complacency. 

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We've been researching Private Investment online. It's a bit of a mine-field, but Andrea ("Wendy") has found several sites promoting "Angel Investors" that we need to read through . . . . 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm busy translating our Spanish Viability Study into English . . . .

 

It's not easy, because it's important to get it right, plus I have to add little notes explaining bits that Spanish people just take for granted.

 

It's a bit like where on here I would say "I rode in The Cradle" but to someone not on the Hub I would have to say "I rode in The Cradle of Humankind, which lies west of Jo'burg and got it's name because a very old skeleton was found there"

 

I'm fitting it in between working / guiding / sleeping . . . . .

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  • 1 month later...

A couple of weeks ago I finally finished translating our Department of Commerce "Viability Study" into English.

 

At the same time, I went through each item step-by-step to double check that we fully understood everything that had been written or calculated - and that everything actually said what we thought it said.

 

I'm happy to say that everything is good. The Viability Study is accurate and correct - it does show that the business will work and in fact, because we understand more about how things actually work here in Spain now than we originally did, we will be a bit better off than we (or rather they) thought we would be. 

 

I've sent the Viability Study to a fellow Hubber who is going to have a look at it through Professional eyes and let us know what he thinks of it . . .

 

Onwards & Upwards!

 

Tony.

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A couple of weeks ago I finally finished translating our Department of Commerce "Viability Study" into English.

 

At the same time, I went through each item step-by-step to double check that we fully understood everything that had been written or calculated - and that everything actually said what we thought it said.

 

I'm happy to say that everything is good. The Viability Study is accurate and correct - it does show that the business will work and in fact, because we understand more about how things actually work here in Spain now than we originally did, we will be a bit better off than we (or rather they) thought we would be.

 

I've sent the Viability Study to a fellow Hubber who is going to have a look at it through Professional eyes and let us know what he thinks of it . . .

 

Onwards & Upwards!

 

Tony.

Good luck boss

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Last week we registered with a website called "the Angel Investment Network"

 

https://www.angelinvestmentnetwork.us/

 

It's free to register, you fill in what it is that you need investors for and then once it's approved they send out your "Pitch" to their network of Angel Investors. 

 

The main site is based in the US but they have a "network" here in Spain, so we should be sent out to the Spanish network of potential investors too.

 

You can see from the wording of the questions they ask and the accompanying notes that the sites biggest traffic comes from Electronics start-ups, e-commerce start-ups, that sort of thing. But they do have a category for "Tourism & Recreation" which are essentially where we fall - in fact getting tourists to visit us for recreational purposes pretty much sums up what we want to do!

 

The service is advertised as "free" but (exactly as you would expect) when you get to the end of filling in a dozen sections of information and you're ready to "Publish your Pitch" you are told that the free service only does a few basic things - and holds back certain information from potential investors. If you want investors to get the whole thing you have to pay. They have a tiered pricing structure topping out at around $2500 for "everything".....

 

We've gone with the free option, let's see what happens . . . .

 

:-)

Edited by Bonus
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