The Pro Sec team is shifting gears and getting ready to reach a new speed with this project. Ever since we returned from our last trip the question has always been, when will we go back, and when will we ever be able to actually put boots on the ground with physical walls around our ideas? Well we are getting close. The team is in the process of evaluating, at a high level basis, what it would actually cost to set up, furnish, stock, and run an actual shop in Guatemala. Essentially, we are creating an operating budget for the first 6 months of running a shop. The goal for this is to determine our capital requirements and to return to Guatemala within the next five to six months with the ability to establish a physical storefront.
While this task is guided and clear in its nature, the actual process of achieving it is quite ambiguous. The first thing to remember of course, is that we are dealing with another country and culture. We have been leveraging our contacts in Guatemala, along with use of our built in Guatemalan team member, but simple tasks such as determining who to hire and what to pay them becomes that much more complex when we have to take into account the cultural differences. While in the U.S. consumers except a low cost provider of refractive glasses like Costco, in Guatemala, price does not simply buy trust. Individual towns have their own set of people whom are trusted and respected. If we were to hire an outsider who had never earned the trust the local consumers, the business could fail no matter how reasonably priced our glasses are. Questions like these make us constantly reflect on the goals of the project and hwo to find a balance between a charity and a profit driven business.
It is an exciting time to be working on the project. Even though each day we run into new obstacles, we are learning to apply our growing knowledge from past trips and conversations to get by them and continue moving in the right direction!