Journeys of Change – The Bike Business Leads to the Glorious Path

Venghour Than, Journeys of Change Certified Tour Guide

I was just certified as a scuba diver and now, I have just certified as a tour guide−I guess a professional tour guide. I am certified just because I am a part of a new exploration, the bike business. This is a business hosted by our facilitator. To be honest, this is a new startup for everybody. We know that this is an entrepreneurship involves with bikes by providing a tour to any tourists. Most of all, we do not know and have not figure out what is our mission for this business.

For the first week of our business, we did a quick research of all the standout tour companies around Cambodia: Grasshopper Adventure, Vicious Cycle, and Soksabike. The purpose was trying to discover the uniqueness of each company. Simultaneously, we were trying to see their business model including prices, tour services, and missions. This was actually a great start to brainstorm our business by answering some essential questions.

  1. Why a bike business?
  2. What is a bike business?
  3. What are the long-term opportunities for this bike business?

The next step was, we divided everybody into three distinguished teams: business plan, marketing, and tour. Each team has a different responsibility. The business plan team was responsible for writing a report that includes every aspect of a business model and generating a liability waiver between the clients and the business. The marketing team was responsible for establishing a booking system, searching for platforms to advertise the business, networking with other places (restaurants, hotels, etc.), and designing business cards, posters, and flyers. For the tour team, they were responsible to create a full bike route and write the tour script.  

Of course, for the tour team, they would not able to do any works if we were not going an actually bike adventure. Therefore, we rent bikes, prepared our equipment for that day, and were ready to go on actually bike trip. The purposes were to figure out the route for the tour and selecting some stops of the entire route. It was an adventure; there were many interesting locations we would love to bring the tourists to visit since we were in a quite-rural area of Cambodia. After the bike adventure, we decided the total distance of the route (22 Km) and the total of 12 stops.  Take a look at our 22-kilometer route!

I was in the business plan; with no doubt, it was extremely challenging. Business is not my kind of interest, but why would I join? I join this business because I wanted to build the love out of this dislikeness. Basically, I was trying to take risk of challenging myself to confront thing I do not like, specifically, the business planning. In this team, there were many works involving with the calculation (numbers). I did not enjoy it for the first time, but after a while, I do love it. I ended up in a team until we finished the whole business report and I am proud that I took the risk to be in the business plan team. Here are the links to the whole report and the liability waiver.   

  1. https://docs.google.com/document/d/118n2YGPbY3RPkPoMZLQBl_khKk3oVL0oQAhR-IlbiUc/edit?usp=drive_web&ouid=106695336239515847880 (Report)
  2. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1DhO3xIIpTn89I34x2iSz_MeMV7EjiwtE9C2U20_gDbk/edit (Liability Waiver)

We could not have done all of these amazing works without the help of our mentor, the Soksabike, a bike business in Battambang, Cambodia. We went on a one-week trip to visit Soksabike to have many mini-lessons and to gain some knowledge from their business. We went on their bike tours (half-day tour); it was remarkable to observe the guides and the organization of the whole tour. The tours were extremely incredible in term of promoting Cambodian culture and we would love our tour to be the same.

                 Training with Soksabike

During the trip, we were able to name our bike company too. We were in the situation of brainstorming the names during our bus ride to Phnom Sampov. We used “Soksabike” as a good example of the name. If you were wondering, “Soksabike” is sounded similar to our Khmer phrase, “Sokasabay.” It means “fine.” This is really clever of naming the business. We were actually coming up with some names. One of the names was “BikeKong.” In Khmer, “Kong” means bike, but when we combined “Bike” and “Kong,” it sounds similar to our Khmer phrase and it means “flat tire.” Overall, it was a funny name.

Finding the right name for our bike business was a challenge. There were many good and cool names brainstormed, but we wanted to have the name that communicates “change.” This is not just a simple bike business; we wanted to promote change to the clients, the fact that they are joining our bike tour is actually impacting change. After many brainstormings, we finally came up with a name: “Journeys of Change.” This means that every tourist who comes to our tour are on the journey of creating change or being the change. Of course, here is our logo that is designed by our teammate, Niron.

Overall, it was a great trip with the Soksabike company and its people. We learned a lot from them especially with the business planning, and the tour. We have gained all the aspects of providing a professional service for the clients,  maintaining a sustainable business, and becoming a good networker. There is a fun fact, during the trip, we also trained to become a bike mechanic and now, we can fix any bikes!

 

After getting through the phase of understanding everything in business, we are ready to enlarge the business. We actually do not want to run Journeys of Change by the 13 of us alone. We would love to provide this opportunity to our friends who are willing to be part of this. The tour team has created a whole training for the other students who would love to certify as tour guides for Journeys of Change. In addition, we also created applications for the people who wanted to become the business manager and marketing leader. Obviously, we would not want the other students besides the Journeys of Change member to apply for these roles yet because it is a new business. Therefore, it is the right thing to do by hiring someones from Journeys of Change to become a business manager and marketing leader. The twos were Sreypich and Chhoeu.

Last, we already planned that all the incomes we made from the tour will be the support for our further education. This is mean we are making a profit for our future! The exploration is only running for seven weeks, but for Journeys of Change, it is not a seven-week long business. It is a continuous business that we will be running until our graduation at Liger. Therefore, we planned a schedule of meeting up with the board (all the involved facilitators and Journeys of change students) and has a member meeting (all the interested students and the board) every week to update with the business. Currently, we have created a platform, a blog for our Journeys of Change. http://journeysofchange.ligeracademyblog.org

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