Chi and I have had the displeasure recently of having to close our business. Connections was running strongly over the last 4 years and we were subcontracting for Exotissimo and Buffalo amongst others, our cooking class being especially popular. Exo are now working with some of our old staff to continue the concept. Thousands of delicious dishes have been prepared and customers satisfied. Not once did we receive anything but praise for our tours and products, so that is something to be proud of.
The government, red tape, and regulations.
We were operating illegally, and we got caught.
Naughty thing number 1 - as a tourism company, you are supposed to have card carrying guides - meaning they have been put through the government brainwashing mill and come out only able to spout boring historical information as they drag you from site to site. Our 'guides' were all university students who knew what we wanted and got the concept. They were to be informed about their city and country, but not at the price of having fun on their 'tour', which was to be as informal as possible.
Naughty thing number 2 - which we genuinely didn't realize until the department of tourism pointed out to us, as a tourism company with inbound tourists, there is supposed to be a 250 million dong bond in the bank. That's around $13,000. If we were to continue our business, the bond needed to be placed in the bank where it sits without even being allowed to gain interest.
We decided against this kind of investment in our modest little tour company that was always successful and profit making. We had reached the point where to expand we needed to invest some real money, such as, errr, $13,000! The bond requirement would make it a $25,000 investment, and we could think of better ways to use that kind of money.
So, goodbye Connections.
Our next project won't be for a while, but I already have some ideas brewing. This is a land of opportunity after all - but yes, you do need an awful lot of cash sometimes.