Success Story: Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour

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Earlier in my blog I made a post about a possible tourist excursion I was interested in starting in Juneau, AK. The excursion would be called Alaska Adventure Excursions: Crabbing Excursion, and would consist of a two hour tour on Juneau open waters, pulling crab pots with tourists giving them an authentic experience of what its like to crab fish in the last frontier. When creating this idea for an excursion one of my researchers found direct competition with my idea located in Ketchikan Alaska.

Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s Tour has been a very successful excursion out of Ketchikan AK, supposedly ranked the number one excursion for tourist out of their port.Their excursion idea is identical to mine, they based their excursion of the show deadliest catch. Some early key success factors Bering Sea Crab had was the use of popular equipment and personal. Bering Sea Crab was able to purchase a boat that was damaged on the show of deadliest catch, they also hire ex deadliest catch members to work their excursions during the summer. That is pretty cool when the guy running your tour fished in the Bering sea on Deadliest Catch, very hard to compete with.

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As of now Bering Sea Crab offers a 3 hour tour that holds up to 50 passengers. With this size boat and the amount of passengers they can carry allows for them to have huge revenue from each trip. There are some negative aspects of their excursion that tourist have made comments about online. For instance tourists don’t like how the excursion is like a Broadway show, with stadium seating and a fence keeping you back from the actual fishing. The tourist also commented that they didn’t like how Bering Sea Crab fed the eagles with dead fish to get them closer for pictures. Lots of people from the lower 48 think that its wrong to bait animals like that. With that being said, Bering Sea Crab Fisherman’s tour does have sold out tours a majority of the time. Although there are some negatives most tourist think the excursion is magnificent and recommend it to other tourist.

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Although this excursion is already proven to be successful I feel that their are some things they can do to accommodate peoples requests. Tourist don’t want to sit and watch something they watch on T.V. they want to experience it, touch it, and get their hands dirty. You could also add different aspects to your tour, for instance promote whale watching or some sort of viewing from the excursion as well to make the tourist feel like they got more for their money. The tourist industry is all about giving an excursion people will love that they feel was worth their money, when you have these features then the tour will sell itself and word will go around about your business.

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Kake Oyster Farm Apprenticeship

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In the world of entBJB_oyster1repreneurship apprenticeship are hard to come by, unless your working for a venture capitalist firm, a young entrepreneur has limited options when first starting out in their careers other then their own business ideas. I feel more apprenticeships should be offered in the real world, as of now it just seems like construction or physical labor jobs are the only ones that offer apprenticeships, while college students sit in classes learning from books. If college students could spend more time in the field practicing what they will be doing in their career they would be much more prepared then studying for a test which won’t be remembered.

Although I don’t agree with the 21st century teaching methods, and believe that apprenticeships should be utilized more in every field. I did put in my time in the classroom to earn my degree. Now with no experience in business other than university classes, I am forced to enter the workforce with my management degree and an entrepreneurial mindset.

As I’ve said in my previous posts I plan on going back to Alaska to pursue some sort of business in the tourism industry. Having my mind set on the water, owning water life excursions such as Alaska Adventure Excursions that would do crabbing trips with tourist, I was doing some research about neighboring competition and found an apprenticeship program for young Alaskans. Its call the Kake Oyster Farm Apprenticeship Program, located in Kake Alaska. The program was creastedman1ted by the regional shellfish farming industry, and the community of Kake. The program gets entrepreneurs who are interested in making money locally, to complete a three year program which ends with a business loan to get your Oyster farm up and running.

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In order to have a successful oyster farm you a channel of the ocean, which is like a small enclosure that still allows the ocean through, with a river running to this body of water (ocean). TAU9885You can either farm oyster via water or beach, living in Juneau we have plenty of open rocky beaches that have rivers running through them. There would be plenty of places to start an operation. The largest producer in Kake Alaska pulls in about $350,000.00 a year in revenue.

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Although that is a lot of money, I feel the lower 48 demand our products much more than that. With a full functioning farm in Juneau you should be able to double the numbers of a Kake oyster farm. There is also an advantage about living in Juneau, we have an international airport that can ship our products directly to states or international customers. Kake Alaska is a very small village south of Juneau about an hour 5-seater aircraft flight. Having to ship the oysters to Juneau alone cost a ton of money. We however will be cutting out this expensive being able to ship through Alaska airlines freight planes. This is a very realistic program to complete with the perfect opportunity to start your own business. Its safe to say I will be checking out Kake Alaska upon my return to the last frontier.

Call to Action: Have you ever had fresh Alaskan Oysters? Please leave your comments below.

 

Year of the Food Truck

Growing up in Alaska it was always slim picking when it came to food and restaurant options. We had our mom and pop restaurants with some fancier restaurants in downtown Juneau for the legislature. Restaurant options were slim and business was good for the restaurant owners who didn’t have to worry about new entrants.

It wasn’t until the 2008 recession that the restaurant scene in Juneau started to change, with the economy on the rocks many entrepreneurs found themselves without jobs and with tons of ideas. Instead of looking for new work with the State of Alaska dtor with the City and Borough of Juneau, people started investing their own money into ventures. Soon a small food shack alley was added to our downtown tourist area, that has some 150,000+ tourist walk through and purchase from a week. From shacks restaurants started to grow, the ones that already existed began to adapt with the times and update their businesses to stay relevant in the market.

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Since 2008 the restaurant industry has been booming, when a liquor license opens up there is a line of people trying to purchase it. This shows the growth Juneau is currently going through and also the potential of the market and its future size. With the growth of restaurants has come the emergence and foundation of food truck. With only two in 2008 Juneau’s food-truck market has grown to 22 different trucks working in multiple locations serving residents and tourists of Juneau.

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The above photo is a picture of a brand new food truck to Juneau called Gla-Scholl Grinds, serving shaved ice treats. Owner Erik Scholl has created shaved ice mixed with ice cream and fruits given unique names as a delicious treat for tourists and residents of Juneau. This is just one example of the many new food trucks opened in Juneau this year.

With the food truck market growing so rapidly, I wonder what effect it will have on the rest of our city with food and restaurants. Maybe by 2016 Juneau will have doubled in restaurants having all these food trucks moving into restaurant locations if they are successful.

Call to Action: What kind of food truck would you expect to find in Alaska? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section.

 

Tips for Young Entrepreneurs

After reading The Entrepreneurs Blog, I came across an article called 21 tips for young and aspiring entrepreneurs. The article discussed a variety of techniques and tips that young entrepreneurs should practice. In this post I will discuss some of the tips I thought were especially interesting and that apply to my own situation. The tips I’m about to discuss all come from famous and successful entrepreneurs and should be taken seriously.

EntrepreneurThe first tip comes from Steve Jobs and its “Do work you love”. This is a tip that most entrepreneurs don’t take seriously. It’s easy to chase the money going venture from venture trying to make your first million. However you will never find true success and won’t be able to maintain your success unless you are doing something you really love. When you are passionate about you work, you really put 110% into everything you do.

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The second tip I liked was from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, his tip was to “find good people”. If you want to change you need to change who you socialize with and interact with. Also finding good people for your business is very important. You need to find the right fit for the position, don’t just fill positions with random employees who don’t share the same vision as you.

Tip number three comes from Steve Jobs, and its “Do the time”. Meaning success doesn’t come over night, it takes countless hours of work and dedication to your idea. You actually have to work and put some elbow grease to become successful. Steve jobs starts making mac computers in a garage with a couple buddies. They put in the time and effort to get where they are today and it takes even more time and effort to become a leader in your industry.

The last tip I will finish this poSuccessst with is from Walt Disney, and its “Take Action”. You never will become successful talking about it, you need to start now and work hard towards success. You hear plenty of people saying that your ideas are great and that’s usually the last of them. You need to get started, begin the business plan, find a partner, get a mentor do anything that’s working towards your goal.                                    Photo Credit

Call to action: If your an entrepreneur I challenge you to comment your business idea and three steps you need to take to get started with this idea.

Keys to Success

Working many different jobs over the years has brought one very iKeys-to-success-1mportant aspect of work to my attention, training. This is a place most businesses struggle and a portion of business entrepreneurs don’t usually think about. Throwing new employees into the mix and telling them to “figure it out” doesn’t work anymore, and never actually has. Having unprepared employees working hurts not only the company’s image but it also costs the company money and this needs to change.

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Looking over past experience I tried to figure out what factors made training so difficult for me, and why I struggled with learning new tasks. I narrowed it down to a couple of reasons that happened to me; first reason I could think of is that the person training the new employee doesn’t enjoy the task. Have you ever got a new job and when being trained your coworker training you gets frustrated or annoyed with you? They don’t consider the fact that they are basically experts at what they are doing and forget that you haven’t done it at all. This can be demoralizing when trying to get the hang of the flow of the operation. Next reason I considered was that the employee isn’t given sufficient time to be trained. Employers throwing their new hires on the front line doesn’t help anything, it makes the new hire feel overwhelmed and will make them think twice about showing up for their second day of work.

After reading Small business trends blog, I came across an article that give tips for training employees of small businesses. Small business trends article also had a couple of the tips I found especially true and they are listed below:

Tip 1: Use online training courses

After all its 2015, we have come a long way from only using one method to train employees. Online training has been proven to work and is easy to do. Providing your employees with online training course videos you can make sure all the bases are covered and guarantee that each employee is aware of their tasks. This also makes it so no other employee has to spend time training new hires.

Tip 2: Use good employees as trainers

This is the best tip of them all, companies should always use employees who want to train to conduct the training. Like I stated above, its very obvious when an employee doesn’t want to train a new hire, it hurts both the company and the new hire feelings about work. Entrepreneurs should always keep an eye out for employees who are happy and enthusiastic about their jobs as potential trainers.   They will be the ones helping your new employee get to the level of work you wTrainingant.

Tip 3: Set measurable training goals

Setting goals that can measure an employees training is a great idea. For instance setting a goal such as “learn the register by Friday” gives the employee the exact amount of time they have to learn the task, and is an indicator on how quick of a learner they are. Setting goals give the new hire something to work towards rather than giving them time to avoid work or feel lost. With a measuring system you know      exactly where you stand.                                                              Photo Credit: Training

I felt that these tips were especially useful for entrepreneurs and small business owners alike. Training is something executives never really think about and is a part of your business that directly affects profit although you may not know it. Weaker employees don’t make the sales as stronger employee therefore loosing money for the business. However if you follow these tips, you will one step closer to having a perfect business.

Call to Action: What training techniques have helped you learn a new job? Share with us your thoughts in the comment section.

Success Story: Tracy’s King Crab Shack

Alaskan Entrepreneur would like to present its first success story out of Alaska. This business is out of Juneau, AK selling king crab legs during tourist season. Tracy’s King Crab Shack is getting world recognition for their delicious and fresh Alaskan King Crab legs. Transforming their shack into a smaller restaurant that holds around 15-20 customers. Tracy’s Crab Shack is a very popular restaurant for tourist when getting to the Juneau Port.

The crab shack was created 10 years ago in 2005. Created by a local Juneau resident and her husband. They have been able to transform a crab shack to a restaurant and have created many other establishments since they began their operation. As of now Tracy doesn’t just own the shack, but she purchased two other professional restaurants and have built a bar that is becoming very popular. The Tracy Crab shack team has been on a roll opening at least one establishment each year.

Photo Credit: Tracy’s King Crab Shack

Although Tracy has a variety of successful businesses I will still focus on the King Crab Shack since its in the industry I’m interested opening a business in. What Tracy does well is sell a product that tourist want. All tourist want to at least try some fresh Alaskan food. Whether it be salmon, halibut, crab, shrimp anything fresh is demanded. So Tracy brought the crab to them offering a very small menu to a large customer base. Tracy’s King Crab Shack menu consists of Bristol Bay Red King Crab legs, Crab cakes, and a king crab bisque. It was this technique that brought Tracy her success. Now she is a thriving entrepreneur with anything and everything up her sleeve.

Tracy's Crab ShackCall to Action: What do you think about Tracy’s Crab shack, would it be your first stop when arriving to Alaska? Let me know what you think about it in the comment section.

 

Photo Credit: Tracy’s King Crab Shack

NEW VENTURE IDEA: Alaskan Adventure Excursions

Alaskan Adventure Excursions LOGO Working in the tourism industry most of my life, I have grown accustom to the tourist season and the money my city and company profits from it. On a cold winter day, sitting on a bucket goose hunting in the middle of the Mendenhall wetland refuge, an idea came to me. What is something many American have in common although the may not know each other? Television, T.V. channels are basically the same throughout the country, hosting the same shows that millions of Americans tune in to watch each and every week. So if I wanted to create a successful business, specifically a tourist excursion, I should base it on a T.V. show that millions of American’s watch, and will likely recognize once they get off the cruise ship in Alaska.

After discussing the idea with my father, he said “why not base it off deadliest catch, everyone watches that show.” He was exactly right, tons of people watch deadliest catch and think of crabbing when they hear Alaskan fishing. So the idea grew, an excursion that gives tourist the same experience of crabbing as they see on T.V..

For the business to be successful I would need to purchase a boat that’s over 50’ long that can hold up to 30 passengers. I plan on running my operation out of Auke Bay Alaska, shuttling the tourist from downtown Juneau. Once they arrive at the dock they will be loaded onto the boat where there will be fresh smoked salmon and beverages. We will take off from Auke Bay Harbor in which the passengers will see Alaska’s natural beauty via boat on our approach to the first set of crab pots. On the ride out to the first string of crab pots, we will bait empty crab pots on the boat to replace with the pots we pull from the first string. Once we get to the string we will have a passenger throw the hook, retrieving the pot like they do in the show “deadliest catch”. Once the pots are pulled we will show the passengers our catch allowing them to take pictures, then they will release the crab back into the ocean. The boat would continue onto two more strings in which the passengers will do the same things alternating fishing positions.northwestern_underway1

The tour will take the approximately 2 hours and will cost around $160.00 per person. All the necessary gear will be provided along with a shuttle to and from the ship. As stated above food and beverages will be available. Alaskan adventure excursions would hope to have three tours a day, averaging 15 passengers minimum a tour.                                                                                         Photo credit: Northwestern

CALL TO ACTION: What do you think of this business idea? Would you be interesting in purchasing a ticket to participate in this excursion? Please leave your response in the comments section.

Close, But No Cigar

Business Idea of the Day: Tongass Rain, Electric Catamaran

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Photo Credit: Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran

Founder Bob Varness of Juneau Alaska,  joined Kickstarter trying to fund his idea of making a catamaran that is completely green using hydroelectricity to re-charge the engine.  Bob a long time whale watching captain has been on the water for many years and has seen first hand what his diesel engines do to our environment. 

Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran would be powered by twin motors and lithium ion batteries. it is a 50 ft. displacement catamaran that holds up to 47 passengers with 3 crew. The catamaran will be able to cruise at 8 knots for about 10 hours on a single charge. The boat will be absolutely silent when in motion. Sticking to that green name by installing display solar panels, wind generators and onboard broadband with TREC cam’s.  The cost of Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran will be at 25% the cost of the same vessel equipped with diesel engines.

As of now $1.244M will fund Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran. The kickstarter has generated $2,336 and has been labeled as unsuccessful with its time limit ending without the requested funds. Although a good idea, Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran is still on the drawing board looking for a way to be funded.

Food for Thought: What if  Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran  changed the direction of the business idea and looked for a partnership? The idea of a green catamaran that can hold up to 47 passengers running on batteries is an excellent one. However how does this attract passengers, are tourist looking for a quiet boat ride or are they looking for some sort of authentic alaskan adventure.

Throughout my travels I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world via cruise ship. One excursion I see at many tropical places mostly in the Caribbean, are booze cruises. Thats when it hit me, Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran should have tried to partner with Alaskan Brewing Co. Making Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran the first and only green booze cruise in Juneau, which only sells our locally brewed Alaskan beer.

Although some people may frown upon a booze cruise the truth is that they are successful businesses in many cruise ship ports around the world, here is a popular catamaran booze cruise in St. Johns U.S. Virgin Islands. I believe tourist would enjoy to view our beautiful scenery while enjoying one of our delicious brews on a boat that is efficient and environmentally friendly.

In the end Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran was a great idea, that didn’t have the support it needed. Hopefully they can turn it around and we will see them in the Juneau Tourist industry sooner than later.

Call to Action: What do you think Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran should have done to get funded? Partnerships, industry change, create a cheaper product? Leave me a comment below indicating what you would have done.

Tidal Vision Coming Soon!

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Here are pictures of the wallets: Photo Credit 

NEW BUSINESS OPENING: Tidal Vision

Welcome to the Alaskan Entrepreneur, this is a blog bringing you information on new upcoming businesses in Alaska and what they have to offer. Alaska has a population of 736,732 residents, striving in the natural resources and tourism industries. We will be discussing current businesses and possible business plans that would succeed in the last frontier in these markets and many others. We will also discuss companies we don’t think would make it and what they could have done to turn their operations around. I will also discuss my personal business plans, and will share with you the process I take in creating this business.

Our first company is Tidal Vision, created by founded Craig Kasberg out of Juneau, AK. Craig has found a way to recycle the fish our fishermen bring into our port, and to turn that salmon using their skin into leather and other clothes. I welcome you, Alaskan Salmon Leather. Completely green and safe to use and wear, Salmon leather cold potentially be a huge product in the clothing market. Not only does it look clean, smell fresh, and is durable, like I said it is 100% recycled and supports sustainable Alaskan fisheries. The leather products being made so far are wallets and phone cases, Tidal Vision is also creating shirts and socks out of recycled crag shells. Tidal Vision offers their products in a variety of colors and sizes. The company joined kickstarter, making their goal of being funded in 24 hours.

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