Trailblazers SL, from little acorns…..or should that be tyre tracks?
Four years ago, Graham and Liz Ross could not have imagined how their business would have grown into what it is today. From a garage attached to their home in Cómpeta, their off-road guided tour and adventure company now boasts two centres in Spain and one in Morocco.
Graham and Liz created Trailblazers having ceased work in the UK and left the ‘rat race’ as many UK residents do. As professionals they were looking to create a business that would combine their previous skills and provide an enjoyable and rewarding manner in which to continue their working lives in Spain, without too much stress, or so they thought!
After weeks of discussion, debate and red wine, it became obvious that combining Graham’s lifelong passion and involvement with motorcycle sport and Liz’s skills in the fields of customer relations and human resources, that the way to go was to base their business around the niche market of off-road motorcycling holidays.
So Graham and Liz set about building a foundation for their business involving coordination of hotels, the planning of routes, arrangements for hire cars and of course, purchasing off-road motorcycles and full protective clothing for their future customers. As anyone will tell you if they have experience, building a business is such an exciting and rewarding time, despite the inevitable problems, drawbacks (especially in Spain) and late nights. Plenty of midnight oil was burnt in developing this business!
Before long, the first customers were arriving and making their way to Cómpeta to begin their off-road adventures, the first Trailblazer tyre track was laid in the mountains!
Graham and Liz continued to skilfully nurture and develop their business, expanding the range of their offering and their advertising, producing a website and publishing printed media. But perhaps with hindsight, their commitment to being present at the most important motorcycle shows in the UK has been, and remains the most important factor in the expansion of their business and has resulted in the meteoric rise in the number of Trailblazer customers to the present day.
Just over one year ago, Graham and Liz sat down on a rare weekend break and, with the luxury of a little ‘downtime’ realised that the business had expanded far beyond their original concept and was now in fact catering for some six hundred customers per year, not including their wives and family members for whom Liz was also coordinating activities, whilst still operating from the garage on the side of the house. Phew! A decision had to be taken; what next? A real dilemma was developing for Graham and Liz; does Trailblazers continue to expand, is it possible to cope with more customers and continue to provide quality off-road adventures? These questions had to be answered.
Unbeknown to them, the next chapter in the development of the solution was to come in the shape of a customer who had begun to ride with Trailblazers a few months before, although Graham and Liz weren’t to know it yet.
Tim Skilton, like Graham, had a history of involvement in motorcycle sport in Europe since the age of twelve and with a little more leisure time after creating a company with two associates, wanted to fill that time. Tim took the decision to ride with Trailblazers and was immediately impressed by the set up, professionalism and attitude. Riding with Graham and Liz was to become the default pastime for Tim.
A successful businessman and entrepreneur, Tim soon came to realise the, as yet, untapped potential growth in Trailblazers, a potential that would be hard to realise with only Graham and Liz covering the bases.
Over the coming months, out of interest, Tim took a look at the marketplace, unknown to Graham and Liz, while they struggled to see the way forward with only the two of them involved.
One step Graham and Liz did take during this time was to move from the garage at home to a business premises in Canillas de Albaida, Hotel Rural Mirador de Canillas, which they use for clients. This proved to be an important step forward and relieved the pressure of what was now nearer seven hundred clients and associated families per year.
At the beginning of 2007, Tim arranged a business meeting with Graham and Liz, demonstrated a potential business plan and proposed an agreement under which he would become involved in the business with a view to expansion and development, proposing another Trailblazer centre in Coin. The answer to Graham and Liz’s dilemma had been answered!
Business development for 2008 is a current focus and the Trailblazer team is now working to forge new partnerships and associations in Spain and Morocco to strengthen the offering to customers.
With the current bookings, Trailblazers will accommodate just under one thousand clients in 2007, now featuring the Cómpeta Trailblazer centre (in Canillas de Albaida) and the new Trailblazer centre in Coin which has it’s own off-road Enduro track for the tuition of beginners or under age riders and a whole different range of riding from that in the Cómpeta area.
Morocco is also a focus for 2008, although not at the expense of Spain and with the current partnerships in place in Morocco, Trailblazers expects to introduce some two hundred riders and families to a unique desert experience on the edge of the Sahara during the course of the year.
One of the most important business developments for Trailblazers is the award of “Global Test Centre” status by KTM, the Austrian Enduro manufacturer, from whom Trailblazers will receive some twenty KTM 450 EXC-R motorcycles by the end of 2007. For Trailblazers this counts as one of the most powerful endorsements that the Spanish registered company is doing things right and has the correct vision for the future.
So if you’re looking for some off-road riding or some associated pursuits, look for the Trailblazer ad in this issue and contact Trailblazers. Their aim is to provide you with a unique adventure.