Published by Andrew on 3 May 2017
Business savvy cycling family seeks adventure in France ...
Lyn @ FWF writes: All sorts of emails pop into my inbox every day. The best ones are from people who just can't contain their enthusiasm about coming to bike in France. The excitement in these particular emails jumps out of my laptop and reminds me why I love running this website so much.
The first time I heard from Bill Vallis was this email, which left me smiling all day.
In the email exchanges that followed, I found out that Bill and his family were super keen on an extended stay in France (ideally focused around their bicycles). They were wanting to pack up their lives in the UK to live in France for 6-12 months – and they were already searching for the right opportunity to make it work.
They wanted to know if I knew of any cycling-related businesses that needed help – or of any business owners who wanted to take an extended break. They were looking for an opportunity to help build a business during their time in France.
I asked Bill for more information. As a result, here is his extended 'job application'. Here's what he and his family can offer your business if you are looking to take a break.
In June 2016 I was in remote mid-Wales enjoying a 3-day mountain bike adventure when the Brexit vote took place. While momentous decisions like this are out of our personal control, the event prompted my wife Fiona and I to think about our family’s ambitions.
To all intents and purposes we are happy with our life at home in Bath, but we realised that we crave an adventure with our two school-age children. A real world adventure to grow family horizons, improve language skills, broaden our business experience, and perhaps even open up new longer-term opportunities.
Rather than simply travelling as a family, Fiona and I are looking to live and work in France for up to 12 months, while our kids (currently 10 and 12 years old) experience the French school system, and soak up the language as only children can.
We’re looking for an opportunity to step in and run an existing business – probably but not necessarily cycle-tourism related – giving us purposeful employment, and the owners a chance for time out.
I bring 14 years’ successful business experience running my own marketing consultancy, having previously worked in leisure marketing and for a creative communications agency specialising in the IT and telecoms sectors. Fiona is an ex teacher who has great people, organisational and IT skills. She is currently working in a management role in public healthcare.
In addition to our career experience and skill sets, we bring in-depth understanding of many aspects of cycling. Fiona and I met while mountain biking in Somerset, and we eventually spent a year cycle touring in the US, New Zealand, Asia and Europe. With our children we have toured in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and, of course, in France.
Using our business experience and passion for all things cycling, we are interested in managing an existing business for an agreed period – most likely an accommodation and/or cycle-tourism related operation, starting in 2018. This would free up the owners from day-to-day responsibilities, while we would gain hands-on experience running a tourism-related business abroad.
We love France and its language and that is one of our motivations for seeking this change. We both have a good foundation in French and we can both communicate in the language – Fiona more gracefully than me. We are confident we will improve rapidly once we're in a French environment.
It goes without saying that if an opportunity comes up, we are committed to enrolling in intensive courses to get up to speed on business French before we make the move.
How to contact us ...
We’re open to ideas or opportunities that would allow us to spend meaningful time engaged in a French community.
If you run a cycle tourism, accommodation or other suitable business and would like to take an extended break, then we could be the right fit for you. If you are looking for a way to leave your business in trustworthy hands, we would love to hear from you. Please drop us a line ASAP, and we can arrange to talk.