The incredible network of Trek retailers across the United States and abroad are local hubs of the worldwide cycling network. As business owners and bike riders, there is a lot we can learn from them.
They are experts, eager to share their skills and advice. They are cyclists, enthusiastic about welcoming you into the sport and the community. And together with them, we can be more successful in our mission to encourage a passion for cycling.
In this post, we have gathered up some important tips learned from owning a bicycle shop. Steven Levine, Owner and Founder of Cycling Spoken Here, discloses his Top 10 lessons from owning a bike shop.
“I was asked to write a blog about the top ten lessons I have learned from owning a bicycle shop. While contemplating the task, it occurred that this would likely be a better platform for a book instead of a blog. At Cycling Spoken Here we believe in People, Process, and Product! Those will always be the Top 3. Thank you Marcus Lemonis!
After much contemplation, I compiled a list. While some may seem cliche, I find the results are not very good when we stray from any of these.
1. People: There are some amazing people in your business. Develop and train them, and help them dream big about your vision for the company and their place in it!
2. Process: Continue to improve. Once you think you have it dialed in, reexamine from the customers perspective.
3. Product: The best product you can ever have is your brand!
4. Solution Sales: Turing buyers into users! Use rides, grassroots initiatives and great experiences. If your customers are engaged, they will come visit you.
5. Reinvent: This is a tough one. When you have a system that works, time, evolution and change is happening all around you. What worked in the past may not work today.
6. Relationship Matter to Your Customers: Sales people create the relationship, service people maintain the relationship. Don’t ever let your customers forget you are thinking about them.
7. Community: Create a budget and give back. If the cycling pool grows, so do you.
8. Find a Mentor(s): After 19 years in the bike business I am finally utilizing this awesome tool. There are some smart people in this world that want to help you! Here is the best part: it’s usually for free!
9. Live and Die by Your Core Values: Never make an knee jerk or emotional decision.
10. Quality Drives Value: Look at your retail store, not just the showroom. The back room, bathroom, dumpster, parking lot and dress code for employees all matter. Would you rather buy a Ferrari from a gravel parking lot and a sales person in torn jeans, or from a well dressed customer service representative in a fabulous showroom with complimentary drinks?
I have been in the bicycle business for 25 years, and I’ve independently owned and operated Cycling Spoken Here since 1996. When I started in the bike business Greg Lemond was a hero, the mountain bike was a beach cruiser with fat tires, and the bike business was not far from its roots of being a bike sold from a lawnmower shop. Today, more then ever, owning a bicycle shop means shaping the way bike shops are viewed.
Below is a picture of me and my kids on a Trek Travel trip to Zion National Park. My kids still talk about that experience and want to do a bike trip again soon. My son has a passion for ice hockey and my daughter has a passion for field hockey. Our Zion experience has turned them both into lifelong cyclists.”