25 Years as a Small Business

Version 1

    Question: What is the name of your business?
    Your Answer:  Interlake China Tours, Inc.



    Question: Where is your business located (city & state)?  Who are the customers you serve?  What products or services does you company provide?

    Your Answer: Located in Seattle, Washington   We serve the whole world from out web sites.  We do custom private tours for groups and individuals to China and Tibet.



    Question: When did you start your business? Why did you decide to start your own business?
    Your Answer: Started the business in 1992.   I visited China in 1989 with a friend and saw the fantastic opportunity for growth of then a 3rd world country and I wanted to be able to watch the changes over time close up.  Have visited 50+  times seeing the growth while I have worked with two businesses over the last 26 years.



    Question: Did you quit your "day job" to start your business?  How did you initially fund your business?
    Your Answer: I was retired at age 47 looking for something to do.  I started the business with a small investment and it paid for itself allowing me
    to travel throughout China and Tibet for 26 years.  I developed it as a part-time business and it has remained so only because I wanted to be able to do it alone without having to have employees.



    Question: What has been the biggest challenge in running your company?
    Your Answer: I knew nothing of the travel industry  .   I used my marketing skills obtained during my work life and tried new things not
    common to the industry but made me stand out from the competition.



    Question: What’s been the biggest opportunity that came from owning your business?
    Your Answer:  The opportunity to travel, meet new people, and to try new things without having to report to someone else.   It has been
    a fantastic experience.



    Question: What has surprised you most about being your own boss?
    Your Answer:  My time was my own and the ability to do whatever I pleased and when I pleased.   I learned to do it all including emptying
    my own waste basket. 



    Question: Is there a success tactic you’d like to share that could help other business owners (i.e. implementing new software, tactic to grow sales, etc.)?
    Your Answer: Be not afraid to try new things and be able to fail at some and pick yourselves up and go back at it.   One of my friends who was a
    well known master marketer of products once told me  "If you are afraid to fail; you will never reach your full potential"   " You see my successes; but you don't see my failures and there were many".



    Question: What’s the best piece of advice you could give to other small business owners?
    Your Answer:   Don't worry about what others say or do.  Do what you think is best and right for you.