I was introduced to Keith Siddel through a third party and have worked a couple of healthcare projects with him. I feel I have to specify that because he has lots of businesses, which you'll note below. Keith is a world traveler, really the first one I've ever met, but he doesn't go to simple places such as Paris and London. He's gone through jungles, looked through ancient ruins, taken what I call the "former communist countries" tour, and that's just what I know about. He works hard, and plays harder; after Regis, I want to be Keith when I grow up.

1. What is HRM LLC?

Multiple Businesses:

2002 The Old Firehouse- We took a small failing “soda fountain” and turned it into a full service Restaurant and B&B

2003 HRM LLC- Continuation of Healthcare Consulting services

2004 Mammoth Mountain Properties LLC - Property Management

2005 Mineral County Economic Development Inc. – Development of Affordable Housing

2006 Cascada Bar & Grill – Full service Mexican Restaurant. Designed, built from the ground up

2007 Cascada Cabins – Vacation cabin rentals

2008 Creede Soap & Candle Co. – Investor, mentor and partner in new company selling Soaps and Candles

2. What made you decide to go into this business?

We love starting businesses. I know it sounds crazy but all the planning, execution and implementation is what we love.

2002 The Old Firehouse- We thought by acquiring this business we could turn it around and make a profit. In addition we could create a business which would provide jobs in the local economy. We had previously owned a restaurant in California so this seemed to fit our skill set.

2003 HRM LLC- When we sold our first firm we really intended to stop providing healthcare services….but when there is a demand it’s hard to say no!

2004 Mammoth Mountain Properties LLC - We saw an opportunity to acquire low end residential property and rent it out while waiting for the market to return before flipping it for a profit.

2005 Mineral County Economic Development Inc. – This was purely an attempt to give something back to the community by building low income housing and securing low interest loans for the buyers.

2006 Cascada Bar & Grill – We had the land and saw an opportunity for restaurant will larger seating capacity than all other restaurants in the area.

2007 Cascada Cabins – Saw more demand than supply and decided to capitalize on the opportunity

2008 Creede Soap & Candle Co. – This started as an agreement to help a friend start a gift shop. As a 23 yr old she didn’t have lots of experience so we basically had to teach her Business 101-300. It has been fun to see someone else realize a dream so early. Scheduled to open May 2008.

3. What types of challenges have you had along the way?

2002 The Old Firehouse- Staffing is always a problem! Beyond simply finding the right staff finding a manager has even been harder. In a rural community where young folks typically leave for the city after high school finding long term employees is hard. Managers have to be either recruited or trained both are labor intensive. In addition, as a tourist destination our staffing needs fluctuate significantly. In the winter time we need 3 employees and in the summer we need 15.

Unexpected issue: The four buildings next to our burned almost to the ground in a late night fire and our building suffered significant smoke damage.

2003 HRM LLC- sales sales sales J

2004 Mammoth Mountain Properties LLC - Knowing when to buy and when to sell

2005 Mineral County Economic Development Inc. – This turned out to be our biggest failure. The bottom line is that people were insulted that we thought “they needed help”. They simply refused to accept the opportunity. They would rather continue to live in a 1950’s (for example) mobile home, on a rented lot, paying hundreds of dollars in heating each winter, rather than own a brand super insulated new home on their own property if it meant that the community might think “they were needy”. Go figure… We could give them home ownership, save income and improve their way of life but they wanted nothing to do with it.

2006 Cascada Bar & Grill – Same issues for the Firehouse

2007 Cascada Cabins – Zoning laws! Our competitors went to great links to try and prevent the building of these structures through bribes and influence with the local elected and building official. Three lawsuits $25,000 in legal fees on our side and $40,000 on the Cities side it is all behind us now.

2008 Creede Soap & Candle Co. –None yet

4. Have the positives outweighed the negatives, and if so, how?

2002 The Old Firehouse- Most folks don’t know that running a restaurant is probably the most difficult business to run. With margins of 3-5% any small problem can force you into the red. So when you can do it is successfully it can be very mentally rewarding!

2003 HRM LLC- It is always rewarding to work in a field you know and love.

2004 Mammoth Mountain Properties LLC - Big ups and downs but if done right can be very profitable.

2005 Mineral County Economic Development Inc. – NO! We will never to a project for altruistic reasons again. If there is no potential profit in the project count us out!!!

2006 Cascada Bar & Grill – Yes. There is nothing more rewarding to go from a napkin drawing and idea over dinner to a full blown successful business.

2007 Cascada Cabins – Profit!!!

2008 Creede Soap & Candle Co. – The only thing more rewarding than being successful is to see the gleam in someone else’s eye when they are and knowing in your heart you helped put that gleam there.

5. What would you recommend for anyone looking to go into business for themselves?

1. Research! You cannot spend too much time in this area

2. Planning. Not some off the shelf..fill in the blanks kind either

3. Ask for help! Talk to everyone and ask if they can give you advice

4. Get in touch with your local Small Business Development center

5. Think about funding on day one!

6. If you don’t have all the skills needed..look for a partner

7. Don’t over spend until you have cash flow

8. Consider peer to peer borrowing

9. Make sure there is a market “need” not just what you “want” to sell