Every cyclist has dreamed once or twice of owning their own bike shop. You get to make your own hours, talk about bikes all day, ride bikes, and your after-hour business events are group rides. Doesn’t get much better than that, right? Well, of course not, but sometimes as cyclists we forget that it’s still supposed to be a business. It is easy to be so passionate about our discipline of cycling that we tend to forget that not everyone loves that style of riding. What! How can that be? Doesn’t everyone want to hear about how awesome my new full suspension Marin Rift Zone 29er with Shimano XT components and Easton wheels performs? Maybe, but if you’re a mom and dad with three little ones who came into the bike shop to purchase a child seat and are hoping to get in and out of the store before one of the kids attempts to climb up on that $4000 carbon road bike and knock it over, you might not care about my mountain bike.
It’s very easy for a cycling enthusiast, turned bicycle shop owner to get so caught up in our own passions that we forget about other people’s needs. We tend to treat our shops as our own personal hobby shops. Unless you don’t care about making money, then that probably isn’t the best business plan. How do we avoid this mistake then? Easy, by remembering that your kind of cycling isn’t everyone’s cycling. Avoid this mistake by remembering that the family bikes and hybrids are just as important as your carbon road bike or mountain bike, and most importantly, by treating the person fixing their $150 bike with as much respect as the person buying a $4000 bike.
Ok, so now you’re probably thinking….it can’t be that easy Erin. Well, yes it can. If we place the same amount of importance on every single person who walks through that door or is about to walk through the door, our whole business will reflect this ideal. The bikes, apparel, components and accessories we stock will truly be the best options for the customers’ needs. Our quality in service will reflect how important our customer are to us, and which will ultimately be reflected in our sales.
In short, what are the do’s and don’ts of opening a bicycle shop?
Don’t be a snob, because my beach cruiser is just as important to me as your race bike is to you.
Don’t undermine the importance of beginner, recreational, or weekend cyclists.
Do be passionate about cycling; it’s easy to go to work when you love what you do.
Do treat every discipline or cycling with the utmost importance.
Do treat every customer with a high degree of respect and professionalism.
Do have fun! Have your group rides, your clinics, and your tour parties! Cycling can make us cringe from the pain of your workout, but it also makes us smile. So, get out there ride your bike and smile!