Anyone ever thought about...

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Starting up a club/bar in South America.

The start up costs should be half of what it is in the sates. If you have like salsa on some nights mixed in with more modern music other nights with good drink specials i think one could be fairly successful. Esp in a college town with a good population of 18 - 28 year olds.
 

thegmanifesto

Peacock
Gold Member
Absolutely.

I think you would need a well connected local partner, so you don't have the local hoods putting their hands in your pockets.

Can be done though. I think a well known bar in BA is owned by an American.

Anyone have any first hand knowledge?
 
good point. i didnt even think about having to deal with local criminals trying to steal your profits.

maybe there is places where this wouldnt be that big of a problem.
 

thegmanifesto

Peacock
Gold Member
"maybe there is places where this wouldnt be that big of a problem. "

There are, but I think start up costs would be higher.

Come to think of it, I think in DR a German guy owned a pretty lively bar, and some other foreigners owned some restaurants.

Many americans have "surf camps" in Costa Rica. I also knew a ex-navy seal, surfer, diver G that had a biz down in Costa. I remember him telling me the unbelievable pain in the ass it was to get rolling.

A guy from Spain owned the bar where this happened: http://www.thegmanifesto.com/2010/03/swooping-fly-girls-in-the-time-of-cholera.html . Colombian wife though.

One hotel I stayed at a few nights in Cartagena had I think a British owner, again with Colombian wife.

I think local partner is key, also to navigate the red tape of owning a foreign biz, ie taxes, licenses, deliveries, codes, construction, maintenance, laws etc.
 

Lumiere

Ostrich
thegmanifesto said:
Can be done though. I think a well known bar in BA is owned by an American.

Anyone have any first hand knowledge?

yeah that dude is a friend of mine

he has to pay bribes to keep his bar open
 

thegmanifesto

Peacock
Gold Member
Lumiere said:
thegmanifesto said:
Can be done though. I think a well known bar in BA is owned by an American.

Anyone have any first hand knowledge?

yeah that dude is a friend of mine

he has to pay bribes to keep his bar open

Ha. I had a feeling you would know that guy Lumiere. I thought you might know the guys I was thinking about in DR as well.

"he has to pay bribes to keep his bar open"

Doesn't surprise me in the least.
 

Kona

Crow
Gold Member
I know a guy that is a partner in 2 bars overseas. One is in Phuket, the other is in Puerto Vallarta. He solely owns two here on Oahu, also.

I was talking to him a few years back about going in on another with him in Phuket.

With his spots in Honolulu, he'd already mastered the business before he went in. He gave me some solid advice and really talked me out of it. I got a lot of other good advice from some other folks.

The main points were:

1) Like the G said, have a solid partner there oversee operations.

2) Don't invest more than you can afford to completely lose.

3) If a partnership is in anyway advertised, even in a local paper, it's a sham.

I see the money my buddy brings in, but I've seen him take some serious hits, too. I thought it would be cool to have my own spot far away, but I don't think I could handle the loss.

Recently in Vegas, I think I lost maybe $5 in a slot machine, and I got really pissed.

Aloha!
 
I always thought of it like this. In the United States foreigners who own businesses usually do well when its a business in their respective ethnic group's niche. I.e. Chinese restaurants, Indians owning hotels and gas stations, etc. Likewise, when a westerner like us wants to go abroad if you want a good chance of doing well than a hostel or English teaching business is a good bet. We understand what a traveler wants out of hostel much better than a native who has never traveled. Or since we speak native english we have a huge advantage in starting a language business.
 

Roosh

Cardinal
Orthodox
Partnering is definitely the way to go. The U.S. is VERY business friendly which is why immigrants who can barely speak english have no problem setting up in their own shops. Different story in south america. More hurdles and under the table issues.

Plus if you're a gringo dealing with the local businessmen (contractors or vendors for instance), they will rape you in terms of pricing. At the least you need a local consultant.
 
jmb said:
I always thought of it like this. In the United States foreigners who own businesses usually do well when its a business in their respective ethnic group's niche. I.e. Chinese restaurants, Indians owning hotels and gas stations, etc. Likewise, when a westerner like us wants to go abroad if you want a good chance of doing well than a hostel or English teaching business is a good bet. We understand what a traveler wants out of hostel much better than a native who has never traveled. Or since we speak native english we have a huge advantage in starting a language business.

No matter what country your in, for the most part, people enjoy music and alcohol.

If you have good prices and market your spot it should be successful.
 

thegmanifesto

Peacock
Gold Member
The trick with partners is that every person I know and respect in the biz world has always told me to "never have partners".
 

laowai

Pigeon
One thing about some of these ideas raises red flags for me (at least for financial viability). They fall into the "cool guy" business category and have little barriers for entry, so there's going to be a ton of competition to the point where chances of a real profit are slim. I think that you need to go in thinking/hoping that access to additional pussy is going to be one of your sources of "income" from it, and in all likelihood it will be your only income. I remember in college almost every mildly socially competent asshole that I'd meet would be "part-owner of a club" for a few months before it went under.

I think that the bars, etc. should just be viewed as a smarter alternative to "bottle service" unless you really know what you're doing.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
In Brasil and probably most of the rest of SA, the main thing is to have the right connections at the top (say the local politicians/mayor/senator and the local police boss; oh and it wouldn't hurt to befriend the local mafia boss either) and deeeeeeeep pockets to grease a lot of palms. That's the bottom line. The day you won't be able to grease someone in that food chain, is the day you'll be either dead broke or simply dead. Not for the weak, but might be done.
 

baberuth

Sparrow
I like VP's point about greasing the palms. I can say for sure that in Argentina many of the big clubs and bars are solely created to serve as a front for the tons of money they are raking in drugs.
 

Vacancier Permanent

Crow
Gold Member
As a wise man once said, "there are countries to make money and countries to spend money".
SA countries fall in the latter category. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it.
 

hydrogonian

Ostrich
Gold Member
thegmanifesto said:
The trick with partners is that every person I know and respect in the biz world has always told me to "never have partners".

I agree with this emphatically.

There are like six #1 rules of business (never lose money, etc, etc..), depending on who you ask.

But a serious contender for the #1 rule of business is: "Don't trust Anybody". And I mean anybody. Not your father, brother or best friend. Not if you value your business and / or your relationship.

And if you can' trust them, then you cant trust a random partner. And you shouldnt go into business with anyone you don't trust. So, it follows that you shouldnt go into business with anybody; save passive investors in a limited partnership structure, or something similar where your partners have no active participation in running the business.

At least in the USA there are partnership laws that would protect you, if you have the cash to pay the lawyers and buy justice, but likely not in a 2nd or 3rd world foreign country. Unless you held some type of leverage over your partner, you would likely be robbed blind, eventually.

As a matter of fact, I can't imagine running any cash-in-hand business without being ready to watch everyone like a hawk, at all times, especially in a foreign country.

Additionally, theres usually nothing to stop the local government / mob from having their hands in your pockets at all times.

If I were you, I'd look for a less conspicuous business that you can bootstrap on your own. Thats the lowest risk type of business, and likely the most protected from competition and corruption, that you will be able to run in a foreign country.
 

hydrogonian

Ostrich
Gold Member
Vacancier Permanent said:
As a wise man once said, "there are countries to make money and countries to spend money".
SA countries fall in the latter category. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it.

I would say that it's fortunate.

It seems that most countries that are set up for making money have a small contingent of people, and innumerable regulations / laws, that make living in that country shitty for the majority. The easier it is to make money, the less egalitarian the country seems to be.

The simple and artistic life seems to be easier led in countries that aren't set up for making money.

If there was no escape from the former type of country, and the life that that type of country dictates that we lead, that would be a sad thing.
 

kerouac

Ostrich
I was talking to a european guy in Medellin who started a restaurant and he told me about certain hurdles etc that he had to go through in order to get the business started. He said he was pleased with the outcome.

I personally think starting a business in a location that you yourself like is a good idea. If I were to start a business right now, I think South America would be a great place to do it. Costs are low, employment is cheap, locals are easier to deal with (none of that excessive customer service bullshit we have in the US), and, I imagine, less worry about getting sued.

I've been getting a lot of ideas for business while I've been traveling through this wonderful continent, and I think it's a great place for a young person to start a business with limited funds.
 
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