Apologies for not having uploaded any posts this past week, but it’s been an interesting one!
A little while ago a very close friend of mine spoke to me about an opportunity which had come her way to buy an established business here in Bangkok from the owner who had nurtured it, over many years, to become a profitable, respected and well-loved art studio. My friend is an art teacher and I have a passion for art myself, though I’m not so good at it and have zero teaching experience. I love to create art, occasionally attend a life drawing class when I can and the idea of being involved in a business of this type lit me up, so my friend and I moved forward with the intention to be partners in it.
Owning a business in Thailand is new ground for both of us, so there is a certain amount of trepidation involved. To work out our anxieties and address them, we figured the best place to start was a bottle of wine…………..and an evening talking it through. Anything we could think of really; how we see things playing out, what our major concerns were, areas in which we may be lacking in skills or knowledge…
As both she and I work full time jobs, the daily running of the operation (which we could expect to require a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning) seemed an insurmountable problem, even though the current owner is very willing to assist where she can, and even come to teach classes a couple of times a week herself in the beginning.
You might recall from an earlier post, I work in property management and marketing for a local developer here called Nichada Thani. I really enjoy what I do and I work with some great people who I can genuinely call friends, but I don’t so much love the 6-day standard working week, and so to have a business that I love supplementing my income would perhaps allow me to cut down my current hours even if my boss insisted that meant cutting down my pay too.
The prospect wasn’t a firm one in my mind until Monday evening when I visited the studio myself to get a feel for it and meet the current owner. I really warmed to the studio which is arranged over three floors and is a real artists’ den. While quite a few of my concerns were answered, coming away from the place I was able to imagine the commitment and work involved to make it succeed and my mind has been buzzing with ideas and resultant questions since then that I need answering before I can commit. The biggest stumbling block I can see at the moment is the need to secure a fixed term lease on the premises for a 2 or 3-year term over which time we should (looking at the books as they are) be able to pay off the investment. The last thing we want is to buy a business and then get kicked out of the premises from which it operates to find ourselves with nowhere to run it.
I’m really hoping that our concerns are answered favorably and that we can go ahead. Eventually it will be an additional income if we continue to love it and tend to it as the current owner has, and I truly believe we have the passion to make it succeed. We have Thai family to fulfill the legal requirement of a majority Thai owned company, and friends with experience in buying businesses in Thailand to milk for information and advice. There will be a lot of informal business dinners coming up I feel!
Since this has looked like a viable endeavor, I’ve asked myself the questions, “If I won the Euromillions next month, would I still want to do this?” and I’m so happy to say that since visiting the studio and talking with the current owner, my answer is a resounding “yes!”.
I’ll try to update the status of this latest venture as and when things develop, (which may become a decent guide for anyone else considering investing in a business here in Bangkok,) but due to other interest in the studio, I hope you understand why I’m keeping the full details quiet for the time being.