An Idea Factory

It is never as simple as it could be.

Ideas are just that.  Until one makes a concious decision to get started. But even then it is a question of jumping through hoops, if you can find them. This is something that has already taken close on twenty years to get started and I doubt I will ever get there. Much like the lotus pond I started digging in Nong Prue.

The system

Everying in the UK is automated. You are expected to have a card to get a rail card, buy bus tickets and to check out at the supermarket. But opening a bank account in the UK is not easy without a permanent address.

Finding Work

After two long years in a dead-end job on the graveyard shift, my wife and family joined me in the UK. The move was never easy.  The process took far too long. Is eye wateringly expensive and the visa application process is a nightmare. But we got through it.  Landing, as a family once again, at Heathrow at the end of January.

Squeaking in just before the Coronavirus locked in.

Now, some five months later,  it’s time to get the boys into school and to find my wife something to do.

Once again it’s proving to be something that is not not as easy as it could be.  Who are the employers in the area? What sort of jobs are available? Which agencies can I contact?

A situation where I could do with some help. Some friendly advice from someone who has a reason to share their experience and who will point me in the right direction.

An opportunity?……………. Possibly.

I am slowly finding my way way round the obstacles I bump into, learning what to do from the mistakes I am making. Experience I am sure that I could share, which  someone else could also benefit from.

But how does one get the idea out of the box? How does one build it into the resource it could become?

The answer is simple: add people.

Corporate social responsibility

Badly timed I have no doubt. But I have decided to start reaching out and looking to see if I cant interest a corporate partner to start looking at Ask a Local.

My first enquiry was a Contact form addressed to One Stop . Local community convenience stores that are a Tesco subsidary which I have a preference for. Reasonable pricing and no minimum charge on credit cards.

It’s all been done before

You don’t have to build the next Microsoft, Tripadvisor or Amazon to be successful on the net.

Nor do you have to worry that somebody is going to steal your idea.

They already have.

No idea is ever unique, never been tried before. Like you, there are many others facing exactly the same challenges. Wondering where to start, how to get their ideas out of the box and into the workshop.

The reason, each of us has, to pool our ideas, to share the experience and skills we have.

This is what makes the internet work .

Country cooking

What is recognised worldwide as Thai cuisine has little or no connection to what I have come to understand as Thai country food. The point at which it all began.

The most amazing meals cooked over a single pan fire pot, rustled up with little more than a pestle and mortar. Crisp fresh vegetables,  dipping sauces and those four pot condiment sets that accommpany every meal in every street kitchen. Not to forget the help yourself iced water.

Food eaten the way it should be.



Village franchise

Thailand supports a plethora of small local business brands and franchises.  In every village no matter how quiet and rural the chances are that you will find a coffee kiosk and if not coffee, tea.  And generally it will be one or other of the branded franchises no one else has ever heard of.

The coffee culture in Thailand started emerging in the early 2000’s.  At a time there were very few if any coffee stalls, there were no boutique coffee shops and hardly any of the glossy corporate chains.

If I am not mistaken there was  Black Canyon. But that was about it. Today it is a very different story.

There are coffee stalls and kiosks everywhere. Amazon coffees have sprung up like mushrooms at PTT petrol stops. And they are being followed by the likes of Inthanin and others. The market has quite literally exploded into a coffee culture that is uniquely Thai.

Uniquely Thai in that the franchise concept has filtered right down to the micro business level with Mom & Pop running their busiess from home. It is not just coffee and tea either. There are franchise options for noodle carts and the sale of fresh meat.

Franchising is recognised as a business model that works for both the franchisor as well as the vendor.

Troubled times

I have been lucky.

The job I have is more frustrating than it is challenging. Few if any staff benefits, together with zero chance of career advancement and development opportunities.

But I am still employed.

The money that’s still needed, is deposited into the bank every month and as long as I bite my tongue and keep my head down, we will be OK. Which is more than can be said for many in these troubled times.

As often as I think about it, I have to remind myself just one of the reasons why working for oneself is not always what it is cracked up to be. Besides the ever present uncertainty there inevitably comes a time in every growing business, when you have to start making compromises. Times when you start to wonder why the hell you ever got yourself into the situation.

Obstacles, challenges and problems which can never be anticipated.

More often than not, complications which begin to surface once you start employing others to do the things you no longer have time or the skills you need. The point at which your needs, the needs of the business have to be tempered and watered down to accommodate ‘others’.

When clarity and singular purpose is superseded by the need to communicate, to share and grow relationships. Never an easy transition.

Reason to think twice about making the jump? Maybe not.

Few ever listen and those that do will never know. Something I would probably do all over again. But once bitten an experience that makes a good argument to continue looking for that elusive alternative.

A reason to hang onto what I have for now. Whilst I build from  home brick by brick . No staff, minimal overheads and a recurring monthly income. The perfect business.