Adventure travel and activity operator with businesses in Scotland, Spain and Morocco. We also do unique journeys in challenging environments around the World. Long military experience, 6 years high level corporate PLC experience then escaped. Done several start ups and purchases in adventure travel sector. Here to network and will help anyone if I can.
If anyone wants to chat over setting up or purchasing a business I am more than happy to as I have started 3 and purchased 3 so am starting to get to grips with it.
Also happy to help anyone get into the adventure travel and activity business if that is their interest.
Currently I run a small group of adventure companies in Scotland and an adventure holiday company in Morocco.
We focus on giving people fun, adrenaline and excitement in stunning outside environments that encourages them to be motivated to get out and do something different with the time they have left.
We deliver over 90% of the activities ourselves from half day experiences to several week adventure holidays to longer expedition style trips. By doing so we get to really connect with our clients and understand what drives them.
We count ourselves exceedingly lucky to be able to do what we do and where we get to do it so we try and ensure our clients have an inspirational time and in return recommend us to their friends.
We are looking to expand our permanent basis to a few more countries and expand our experience and adventure range. So far we have done 3 start ups and purchased 3 broken businesses and sold one of the start ups.
I live in rural Scotland with my wife, two teenage kids, five dogs, some cats and whoever else is dropping by.
I left school at 15 and by then had already been working for several years. At 16 I was straight into the Army seeking adventure and travel. I got what I was looking for and spent my time between the Airborne Brigade, Bomb Disposal and security roles and teaching adventure activity.
The Army has a habit of noticing when you are having two much fun though so after 9 years they packed me off to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as they thought it was about time I got an education.
Six more years of fun and annoying those in power and it was starting to become obvious the jobs and roles I was going to progress to were not what I had joined up to do, so the first Escape number 1 was carried out in 1996.
In the corporate jungle I worked as a trader with the world's largest food commodity trader and then as a sales director, general manager and managing director within a global office supplies company in several countries. This was great preparation as every day was living and breathing the numbers and I had to fix a few broken businesses on the journey.
However, after 7 years it was obvious that talking about money all day was making me a right pain in the backside so Escape number 2 was carried out in 2003.
I have had more than my fair share of moments of truth over the years but the two that spring to mind with regards to the changes above were.
Escape 1: Getting told that my next job was not what I wanted it to be. So I resigned on the spot.
Escape 2: Meeting the new owners the business I was working in after a buyout had been conducted.
Escape 1: I did not plan for it. I was living overseas, had two children under 18 months, had been in the Army since I was 16 and knew nothing about the outside World or business. Once the decision was made it was just a case of making the things that needed to happen occur.
Escape 2: I had been thinking for a while that I had to get back to a more balanced life which was in-keeping with my passions of travel and adventure and I also wanted to see my family more so I just created the environment within my employment that ensured I was given a exit.
I had always saved around 20%-30% of any income I had worked for and since I had been working from a very young age I had a fair bit saved up.
On escape 1 this was all blown on buying a house in Scotland to give the family a base that could become home. On escape 2 I got a pay off from the business and had some savings.
I purchased a bust white water rafting business, employed some people and started marketing and selling like my life depended on it.
To date we have never had to borrow from the banks or anyone else, we are cash positive most of the year and if we are not we have developed reserves. This strategy holds back potential growth but keeps our feet on the ground as if we get it wrong it is our money that is being blown.
The best thing on both occasions is knowing that it is just you, and nothing will happen unless you make it happen.
The worst thing on the first escape was not having a clue about the way commerce worked and the importance of marketing and sales.
The worst thing on Escape 2 was taking a substantial drop in living when you are still supporting a young family and all that goes with it.
Whilst standing in the door of a Hercules transport plane flying at 1000ft at the age of 18, the jumpmaster screamed JUMP and I did.
The world is full of great ideas and innovation and it will continue to get more full of great ideas and innovation. Do not worry if you are not a great thinker or innovator - there are more than enough of those around.
What the world is desperately short of is individuals who can, through application, skill and passion, make those ideas and innovation happen.
I tend to be a doer so I just do my research and then put it into action. I tend not to over-think things otherwise you stagnate. Be someone who gets things done.