My startup Travel Co. just turned down its 1st client and a 60k deal

Following the incredible story about how Canada’s tourism industry is wrapped in red tape, which you can read more here, this is the account of the aftermath.

I know I’m being redundant here, but bear with me. What is the most important thing for any startup? Clients.

Regardless if you went Content → Product → client or Product → Client + Content route, or any variation, the matter of the fact is that you must sell. Preferably before delivery so you have some working capital to put things into motion.

The travel agency is a service based business. There are several ways of putting a travel product together with virtually no investment at all. That’s exactly what I tried to do with my 1st product.

The tour depicted above was a Cultural Adventure through Canada’s East Coast in celebration of the country’s 150 years. The drive of it is to go through the same places and locations that, in 1867, brought Canada to the first step towards its independence.

I didn’t work on this alone. This whole thing started because I pitched George Brown College. The tourism faculty was all in the idea and even put some of their resources to boost the tour, which would be presented for their students as a heritage trip.

This was the biggest, most awesome break I could have imagined for the company. A corporate group client, ready to share some resources to make it even better in a yearly recurring form. boom!

I think the boom was too great. Based on the cost of the trip and the number of students I was expecting to sign up, this would be a $60 — 75K deal. Enough cash to put things to work and a clear path to very positive media and momentum for the startup.

Upon finding out that Ontario wouldn’t allow a non resident to put in motion a product that had been devised and “bought” by a very traditional College in the city, I had no choice but inform the school staff that was working with me that it wouldn’t happen.

Effectively I had to turn down my first client.