Being the owner of a small business is tough. It’s challenging. It can be grueling. It also can be exciting, invigorating and chaotic. And if you combine the mind and soul of an entrepreneur with the practical sense to run a small business, you may just find success beyond your dreams.
Like many entrepreneurs and/or small business owners, we created our tour businesses to fill a void we saw, in this case in the travel industry. From our perspective, tours had become rote, with the same speech and interaction no matter who was on the bus. We wanted to make youth touring, in particular, more interactive and quirkier. That’s when we created Orange Sky Adventures, which catered to youth tourists (in the 18-25 range), who looked for more adventurous tours for younger travelers.
Then we realized another niche that was underserved—the luxury tour market, especially in Yosemite, in San Francisco and along the California coast. That led to White Wolf Private Tours. Many of our high-end tourists were businessmen and women, and, from connecting with them, we saw a market for corporate retreats and other corporate tours—for new employees, to reward current employees, to attract workers and entertain trade show participants. That effort became New Group Guides.
We have conducted hundreds of tours in Yosemite National Park, budget, luxury and in between. Most of those involved wilderness camping, which meant we needed to feed our guests. That’s when we realized the typical MREs (meals ready-to-eat), consumed by many a camper and even more soldiers, could be improved upon. That’s when we came up with La Guida Foods, which produces and sells gourmet MREs, which we think beats the old standard.
It’s never been about getting rich, although we need to make a living, of course. It’s always been about improving or enhancing a system or service so that travelers can get the most out of their experience, whether they’re on a budget or money is no object. No, it isn’t easy running a small business or being an entrepreneur. But it’s rewarding in so many ways, including the feeling of accomplishment when we get so many stellar reviews. Makes it all worth it.