Trish Sare founded Bike Hike Adventures in 1994 in Vancouver, Canada.
Tell me about BikeHike. What are you doing exactly?
BikeHike Adventures is a multi-sport adventure travel company that specializes in providing small group and customized tours in South, Central and North America, Asia, Oceania, Europe and Africa. Every trip has a very strong focus on culture and sustainability.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Since I spent so much of my life traveling our amazing world and guiding for other companies, I wanted to do it on my own so that I could have the freedom to be on my own schedule as opposed to someone else guiding my ship. I always had a knack for selling things to people, and I'm very wise with money, and I'm very entrepreneurial, so the pieces just fell into place. I didn't realize that I wanted my own company until I was on the road guiding. Also, I'm quite ambitious and always set myself goals, even if they seem unrealistic, I write them down. They often come true.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
I spent 5 years traveling working my way around the world at the age of 20-25. Then came home and studied tourism and fitness leadership. As soon as I graduated, I was sent to Costa Rica for my internship to train as a tour leader. I then lived in Costa Rica for 2 years and at that time guided trips throughout Central and South America. After that went to work for another adventure travel company to learn what went on behind the scenes and then launched BikeHike, 16 years ago.
For women entrepreneurs, what specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur? Are there specific advantages, disadvantages to being a women business owner?
Get involved with other female entrepreneurs and organizations who can help to give you advise, feedback, collaboration and inspiration.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
It is essential for us. We are all about sustainability from recycling in our office, to working directly with local people in the developing world to ensure that they are benefiting from us being in their countries. We make them our partners, so that they learn that sustainable tourism is the means to earning a good living instead of poaching endangered species or deforestation.
Have you outsourced any portion of your business? Has that worked for your business?
Not outsourced but we do use contractors frequently instead of everything being full time employees. That has been very cost effective, although sometimes there are disadvantages since they cannot know our company well since they are not in the office in order to listen to the conversations and know what is happening.
Social marketing is consistently being written about in the small business space. Has it worked generating business for you?
We are just beginning to catch the wave and haven't seen the results yet, in terms of bookings, but it is bringing our traffic to our website up so far.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
Be sure to have the background in the industry first. Work for other companies, learning what happens in the field, in the office, behind the scenes. Start small, maybe with one or two trips before investing a lot of money into the business. Try to work closely with a larger company that has been in the business for many years so that you can learn the ropes. Take lots of courses and get involved with organizations that are leaders in education in the industry. Find a mentor.
Thank Trish for taking the time to share your knowledge with our readers at Gaebler.com.