Why create a business when you could create a platform for others to build businesses upon? That's what Beeline Bikes' co-founder Peter Buhl did by launching their mobile bike repair vans as a franchise system. Originally conceived as a multi van operation around their home territory, they quickly figured out that the best way to scale was to bring in owner/operators and franchise the concept. Here's his story, which is full of great ideas for keeping your customers, whether they're franchisees or not, by treating them right and making their lives as easy as possible. For full show notes, links and more, check out TheBuildCycle.com!
Want to use alternative retail channels as a source of growth? Or take advantage of an industry downturn to save production costs? Those are two of the biggest takeaways from my interview with Chris Mogridge, founder of Mercury Cycles. Like previous podcast guest Boyd Johnson (of Boyd Cycles), Chris' company make bicycle wheels. But that's were the similarities end. Chris has taken a completely different route to market, and we talk a lot about two different business experiments that reinforce the lesson "fail fast" and move on. This one's got a lot to teach, hope you enjoy!
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Wonder why things are the way they are? Why brands settle for the status quo when there's obviously a better way? That's what Altra Running founder Golden Harper thought as he hacked and modified his running store customers' shoes to alleviate all types of pains. After selling thousands of altered shoes, he figured there was a market for foot-shaped, zero drop shoes, but Nike, adidas, nor any of the other big brands were interested in the tech. So he launched it himself, bringing key friends and angels on board to get the first production run going, then sold the entire copmany before the first shoe ever delivered. There are a ton of lessons here for anyone that things they've found a better way to do something!
If you want to start a tour or guide company, this episode is for you! Founder Steve Mokan's exposure to adventure travel came from his side gig as a photographer for gear brands and ski resorts, so he took the things he liked from those experiences and created Chasing Epic. As a mountain bike tour group leader, he's taken a unique approach to bringing a team together, using existing guides to streamline the startup process and working with brands to ensure his customers have all the gear they need for a stellar riding vacation. As a bonus, he's pretty good at taking pics of them while riding, so everyone goes home looking and feeling like a pro with the pics to prove it!
Curious how to launch and grow a company while living abroad? Or how to create a product using a combination of off-the-shelf and custom machined parts? Ard Kessels is doing all of that with Kogel Bearings, a high end ceramic bearing brand for bicycles, and he's selling the very expensive upgrades through a combination of strategic athlete sponsorship and educational story telling. Get ready to spin out some notes as you hear his startup story, and check out the show notes, photos and more at TheBuildCycle.com!
Think you're a subject matter expert and want to coach, train or mentor others? Hunter Allen has been there, done that, offering 1-on-1 personal coaching for pro athletes, managing a team of coaches to train the masses, and co-founded TrainingPeaks, one of the top online/cloud based training programs. He share his #startup story, plus tons of great strategies for builidng your own systems. Whether you want to coach athletes, entrepreneurs or anyone else, you'll learn how to build a business larger than yourself by making it easy for others.
Fair warning: Mike's a talker, in the best possible way. Our conversation meanders back and forth through his work background, and each turn reveals another piece of the puzzle that's come together to create the "Mountain Bike Stage Race World Championship" event. He's also running the Vail Outlier, a consumer mountain bike festival that's quickly established itself as a major late-season event. Oh, and he's running a PR firm that works with some of the top brands in the cycling industry. If you're looking to create and run an event, whether sporting or a business seminar or lifestyle retreat, there is a ton of hard won knowledge in here.
Kate and Andrew Gates and their families were looking for a retreat for themselves in the mountains of Georgia. They ended up at Mulberry Gap, located deep in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Elijay, GA. It's a big property, and it already had cabins, a barn and more, and it quickly became clear they'd need to do something to generate revenue to support the property. Fortunately, they were smack in the middle of some of the best trails in the state, and it didn't take long for mountain bikers to start asking if they could camp there. A business was born, and now it was time to figure out things like permits, shuttling, food service, maintenance and sooooo much more. Welcome to the world of hospitality.
Boyd Johnson started his eponymous wheel brand after retiring from professional road racing and quickly grew it from concept to being very, very busy. He started by ordering catalog parts from Asian manufacturers, lacing the hubs and rims into custom wheel builds before being able to have his own hub and rim designs created. Here, we discuss how he got into wheels, how customer service is the big differentiator in a crowded market and some of the methods and challenges of using overseas manufacturing.
Sean Lilly Wilson ended up started Fullsteam Brewery not because he was an avid home brewer, but simply because he thought existing laws were silly. Or, more specifically, because those laws prevented him from drinking true-to-style craft beer. After successfully leading the charge to modernize North Carolina's brewing laws, allowing beers with higher alcohol content, he used those connections and passion to start a "plow to pint" brewery that's heavy on locally foraged ingredients, supporting local businesses and economies, and making some damn good brew. Now, he's not just growing the number of beers they brew, but also their infiltration into the local market and beyond NC's borders.