in Chile

“A mi me encantaría ser emprendedor para ayudar a mi familia.” How do you suggest that this aspiring entrepreneur get started?

photo of a bicycle on the coast, via photopin, to illustrate a question from an aspiring entrepreneur in coastal Southern Chile, whose father repairs bikes. This week a student who attended a talk I gave in 2011 in a small city on the coast in the south of Chile sent me the following email. English translation follows.

hola te escribo este correo porque estuviste en una charla de emprendimiento y a mi me encantaría ser emprendedor para ayudar a mi familia en especial a mi hermana que es sorda, pero no se como, no tengo los recursos necesarios, por eso necesito que me aconsejes de que podría hacer???

tengo algo en mente mi padre sabe arreglar bicicletas y tiene un taller pequeño y las ganancias le sirven para puro comer y no para comprar materiales y crecer.

seria como una meta poder tener una empresa no un sueño, una meta que se haga realidad.

le agradecería su expuesta.


Hi, I’m writing this email because you were at an event about entrepreneurship and I would love to be an entrepreneur to help my family, especially my sister who is deaf, but I don’t know how, I don’t have the necessary resources, and that’s why I need you to advise me on what I could do.

I have something in mind. My father knows how to fix bicycles and has a small workshop. From the earnings he can eat but he can’t buy materials or grow the business.

It would be like a goal to be able to have a company not a dream, a goal that comes true.

I’d appreciate your reply.

I’ve been in conversation with this writer, and I’ve already shared some initial ideas with him, but I’d like to open up his question to a broader audience. What do you suggest that he do?

photo credit: Mark J P via photopin cc

Write a Comment


  1. I’m interested to know what you said! Considering I don’t know much about life as a Chilean in a small city, it’s hard to give advice. The first step would probably be to learn a bit more about entrepreneurship and see how he could be of service on a larger scale.

  2. One way to grow for that line of business is to get in contact with a local department store and provide for them the assembling and repair service for the bikes they sell. In Xmas time, for example, those stores get a lot of bikes that come in separated parts, and also if his father´s workshop assembled them it would be the best choice to repair them later if needed, expanding exponentially their customer base almost without any major investment.

  3. @Alexa, perhaps I’ll share what I said in a later post, but I think that many minds can be better than one! Here in Chile there are a lot of courses and programs for “Etapa 0″ of entrepreneurship (a.k.a. the stage he’s at) though I’m not sure if they’re available where he lives or online (yet.)

    @Marmo, great idea! Very practical. This would allow the bike business to reach more customers without requiring a big investment. I’ll definitely pass your idea on to him. I’m not sure how many department stores there are in his city, but this idea might spark more. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing your comment.


  4. First, to build off of Marmo’s idea, the father might want to consider approaching a larger employer in the area to offer his services to it, if a lot of its employees ride bikes to work, then the employer could offer bike repair as a low cost employee benefit.

    Also I think it might be hard for him to expand his business without any cost outlay. I would recommend the father take stock of the repairs that he is making most often and brainstorm on ways that he can most effectively provide more of that service with him reducing his cost outlay as much as possible. For instance, if his most common repair is fixing bike chains, then he should find the cheapest possible way for him to acquire materials that allows him to increase the number of chain repairs he does with the least out of pocket cost to him. Now, how exactly that could be done, I am not too sure. The only thing I can think of off of the top of my head would be to scavenge for parts on discarded bikes, and use those free materials to build up capital to purchase materials for an expansion. However, purchasing some links to repair chains might be worth the investment, or making sacrifices elsewhere in his life (if possible) to build up the capital necessary.

    Also he could consider moving his business to a location where he could charge more for his services. If it’s not illegal for him to move to a busy street corner where he will get more foot traffic for his services, his business would expand without him doing anything but moving.

    Finally, if he has time, but not money, he could advertise his services more by informing his neighbors and customers that he is willing to come to their houses or workplaces at odd hours to make repairs, or he can go looking for bikes that appear to need repair and offer his services to the bike owners.

  5. @Kirby, good stuff! I’ll make sure he sees what you’ve got to say. Thank you!

    @Drew, haha… that’s the solution for everything, right? I think this guy is pretty focused on what he can do locally, but you never know!

  6. Another idea that I wrote from my phone before but someone called in the meantime and I lost everything: They could create a page on Facebook to advertise their repairs, showing a photograph of bicycles they receive and showing what repairs should be made or what parts will they replace, always with the permission of the owners, who could be labeled in the image. That way, in a low invasive form (a photo of a bicycle is not a sensitive material for someone to refuse to share via facebook) they could get in contact with customers, simultaneously many people could see the results and could be encouraged to require their services.

  7. Thanks Marmo, that’s a great idea. This would be quick and non-invasive, and it could be a natural, community-based way to advertise (especially since Facebook is so popular here in Chile!)

    And thank you for posting again despite the phone deleting your comment. I think smartphones really struggle to deal with multitasking!

  8. Hola Leslie, buena iniciativa. Nosotros tenemos un taller de bicis en Stgo y tenemos la marca , si es que la ciudad donde vive es plana entonces le puede interesar comprar/vender las bicicletas, se las podemos dar al precio costo (la ciudad tiene que ser plana porque las bicicletas no tienen cambio)

Enjoy this article?

Sign up to get a behind-the-scenes peek at what I'm writing, as well as occasional updates, tips, and more.