Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Focusing

Macro or micro. Why is it that macro photography is shooting close-ups of small things yet macro typically is associated with the big picture? Doesn't make sense. And it really doesn't make sense with the focus of this here blog unless, of course, you know what your big picture is and can therefore focus in on the small segments that allow you to achieve your goals.

I want to open and run my own bike shop. Cool. I can stop right there. Done. But it isn't done. Besides all the details required to establish a retail location, there's the business plan. However, the business plan, in my opinion, is simply a guide that can, and should, be deviated from as required to survive. During my process of developing a business plan, I stumbled on a book called "The Art of the Start" by Guy Kawasaki. Very good book that made a lot of sense. Early on in the book, he emphasized creating a mantra for your company. Go ride your bike is mine. It's simple. It's supposed to be. I want people associated with the bike shop to go ride their bike.

When people ask me what bikes I plan on carrying, I shrug my shoulders and say "none." Well, that's not totally true. While it is true that I don't plan on carrying the traditional complete line of bikes, I will have to have access to a line of bikes where I can get kids' bikes as well as some popularly priced adult bikes because I want to service the community where I also live. The shop is for them since it is the only game within at least a half-hour's drive. Point Reyes Station is rural with only 350 residents. Major strike against me. However, there are roughly 3,000 residents with a 5-10 mile radius. Make that a minor strike against me.

What Point Reyes does have is a major bike magnet in the form of incredible riding that draws riders to its epicenter - currently the Bovine Bakery, but soon to be Black Mountain Cycles ;-) . My macro focus for the shop will be on Northern California bike companies, therefore putting my shop into the "boutique" arena. In addition to the plethora of incredible components and frames that are made in or designed in Northern California, I plan to add my name to the list. Yep, Black Mountain Cycles won't be just the name of a bike shop, but the name for a series of frames/bikes that I plan on sourcing from either the States or Asia as needed.

Why? Well, for one, by sourcing my own framesets or complete bikes I can exactly meet the demand of my customers by having available what they want and, hopefully, when they want it. I also believe that it will draw cyclists in because the bikes I am planning won't be available anywhere else but Black Mountain Cycles.

I believe that the main thing a bike shop has to sell is itself. The shop is the brand that should be sold. You want customers coming to your shop regardless of the bikes you carry because it is the shop and the experience of the shop that you are selling. The shop I first worked at had a customer base that extended up to 300 miles away. We had customers coming to us from 300 miles away just because we knew our stuff. It also helped that we carried the cutting edge of mountain bikes in the mid/late 80's. That shop was the brand that drew customers to us.

That is my goal as well, to have the shop be the brand I am selling. Combining the brand of the shop and the brand of a bike will only help reinforce each other and enable each to grow. At least, that's going to be my focus.

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