Friday, 31 October 2014

Running A Successful Mobile Bike Business

I have been running a mobile bike business for over 6 years now and before that I have been self-employed running a business as a mobile car mechanic for about 10 years. Both businesses have been highly successful and the mobile bike repair business has become known as The Network Of Mobile Bicycle Mechanics. As I have created a network to help and support new businesses across the UK.
In that time I have learned many things of running a business of what works and equally important of what does not work. With this in mind I share the following keys to running a successful business.
Even with all the help, support Cycle Tech UK offer its Members; (with setting up and running new mobile bike businesses, branding and marketing) having money to invest and even mechanical skills. The real success can only come from you, with the following key points:


1. Having a vision: One of the most important aspects of running your mobile bike business or any business, is to have a clear vision of what you want your business to be like.
  • What you want to be known for. 
  • What kind of clients do you desire. 
  • What level of service do you want to provide. 
  • Do you want to be one among many or do you want to be known as a specialist in your field.
2. Develop a plan that ties in with your vision: 
  • By putting a plane together of your vision, you can map out what needs to be done to achieve your goals.   
3. Know your market:
  • One of the most important aspects of running any type of business is to know whom your market is. You can’t be all things to all people. Contrary to what some would like to believe, not everyone is his or her market. There is a very astute saying in marketing, “If everyone is your market, then no one is your market." The clearer you are on who you are targeting the easier it will be to focus your efforts on reaching those individuals and/or companies.
4. Gain visibility within your market:
  • Take a focused approach to reaching your market. Just because you have determined who your market is, doesn't mean you are done. You must now be willing to have a focused approach to targeting your market. Whether that be through direct mail, advertising, newsletters, informational seminars or any number of methods, you have to be willing to keep your name in front of your market.
5. If you fail - try again:
  • The greatest mistake people make in any business, is they try something once and expect instant results. You must be in this for the long term and learn from your mistakes. 
6. Having a positive impact by encouraging more people to cycle: One of the things I most love about my job, is I know that people of all ages can enjoy cycling more. With most people, regardless of the business they are in, is that in some way you can change lives. If you know that, your job becomes very rewarding. Think about the end user of your product or service. 
  • What is it that you can provide that makes a difference to your customers.
  • If you don’t know, ask your customers. You may be pleasantly surprised. It is in the answers you can become clearer and clearer as to your vision and the benefits you bring to others through the services you provide 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Questions Before Starting Your Own Bike Business

Below are typical questions I am asked. 

Please also view our Frequently Asked Question Page

(These and other questions you may have would be talked over in more detail at your first meeting or chat, as everyone's situation and needs vary.
Please email martin@cycle-tech.co.uk for an information pack.)  

"I have come up with some questions for when we are able to have a Skype chat - I know you may be busy so whenever is ok with you would be great."


1. "What resistance (if any) have you found from established bike shops – how have you handled this?"
No resistance, in fact there is plenty of work out there and it also offers the customer more choice. If you setup your business near an established bike shop that has an monopoly, they may feel upset. But competition is also good for any business.    
2. "Was getting a permit for a mobile service easy to get?"
In the UK, you don't need a permit to start a mobile bike business, (might be a good idea). Cycle Tech UK believes in training our mechanics properly. All mechanics are sent through Cytech (or equivalent) training in all aspects of bike maintenance. With nationally recognised qualifications in bike mechanics. Each Member is kept updated regular with training and product knowledge. Each member carries a full professional tool kit, and uses quality parts, enabling confidence to carry out all types of repairs. Also Members spend a day with me going over business plan and what is not taught on the 2 week training course, as part of the package in joining our network.
3. "How many hours per day / bikes fixed do you do in a day? – What is the norm for a full time gig and for those doing it as a part-time job?"
It's like asking; how long is a piece of string! How long you have been in business will also have effect, as with how skilled you are, your location, how much you charge and the job you are doing. As 1 bike could be enough to take up your day and cover costs or it could be 8 bikes serviced in a day if you are working at one location. How old and how much the bike is used you are working on, which may only require basic servicing or you could end up rebuilding the bike. It is difficult to say without showing you figures of past trading years. (If you need to have a business plan for finance) There are many types of bikes and cyclists along with the uses and the bike trade/trends can change from year to year. Once established, you will also have work in progress and other daily duties that may be non productive plus time lost between jobs that needs to be calculated in your hourly rate.  Cycle Tech UK only recommend this business as a full time professionally run. 
4. "What % of income is through the sale of spare parts / accessories?"
This can vary from job to job, spare parts are sold more than accessories and parts can total to more than 70% of the job total being invoiced. Over a year the profit from spare parts can be more then 50% of the gross turn over. By having trade suppliers that give you the best deals when buying stock, inc; bulk buying and stock control will make a big impact to your profit over 12 months. Spare parts will have an minimum of 30% markup to 100 % or more. 
5. "Did you ever regret your decision?"
 No, its a great job with challenges and job satisfaction. It was difficult making a living at first but I would never go back. Often when I asked people what regrets they had or what mistakes they had made, they replied, “I just wish I had done it sooner.”
6. "Have you found that after repairing a neglected bike a person was more willing to use it, especially if they had not ridden in a long time? – Has your business created a positive social impact within the general community and within the cycling enthusiasts?"
Definitely a yes, not only is it a good feel factor giving advice, but more people are cycling due to more cycle technicians and more choice where they can go to have their bike serviced.  
7. "I see that you are willing to teach people the skills through your training courses – has this affected your business in a negative way by sharing your “know-how”?
Our home mechanics school courses are genuinely 1/2 day and only teach the basics; How to change a tyre, general maintenance, cleaning/oiling and how to look for problems. It about getting more cyclists to have a basic understanding how their bike should be running and being safe on the roads. We all need to share our know how more and we will also gain more customers. 
8. "Do you do any partner work with established bike shops? – do they supply you hard to find items? / have you outsourced work for them to do?"
I don't do any work for any bike shop, as I have plenty of my own work. Not saying you can't do work for a bike shop, but if they are busy then so should your business be busy. You can't do both. I have had bike shops put work my way and vice versa, I have put customers in touch with bikes shops when a customer is looking for a typical bike I can't help with. I very rarely buy any parts from a bike shop, as I have accounts with all the trade suppliers. 
9. "What is the number one reason people choose you over an established shop?"
There a number of reasons, but the number one is ease of use. No more putting the bike in the back of the car and taking to the bike shop. 

There is a lot of info on this Blog. Please read first and I will be happy to have a chat and any questions you have. And help you start you own mobile bike business as Cycle Tech UK member or DIY. martin@cycle-tech.co.uk 

If your question has not been answered, please leave your question in the comments box at the bottom of this post.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cycling and Coffee Go Hand In Hand

Since I started giving business support, I have met a number of people who have had the same idea of opening a bike shop that also offers an area within the shop to sell coffee to cyclists.

This has already been proving a success in London with Look Mum No Hands also see this MAP across the UK.

If you already own a bike shop, you can just put a coffee machine in and offer coffee to your customers.
But don't think a £50 coffee maker and packet coffee will work! Cyclist know their coffee and you may end up losing customers over a poor coffee.

Professional coffee machines 


Niche Market 

Coffee is the fastest growing business on the high street, along with a boom in cycling.

Coffee and cycling is open to all ages.

If this is your dream to own your own business; a bike shop/coffee shop.
Then my advice is "Make it happen"

Coffee shops are opening up in the high street, in villages, garden centers and farm shops. Even pubs sell coffee along with petrol stations and supermarkets.

To attract cyclists you will need to offer an atmosphere and of course good fresh coffee. People like to support local businesses and don't mind paying over the odds, as long as they feel they are getting value and a feel good experience.

Ask yourself; what you look for when buying and drinking your coffee:
  • Is it the price that attracts you
  • The convenience 
  • Free Wifi
  • Or the good feel factor 
By giving your bike shop/coffee shop a setting:
People feel at ease and comfortable with nostalgia.
  • Coffee and bikes are associated with Italy  
  • Classic road bikes of the 80's on display
  • Pictures of old school riders and winners
  • Info about the coffee you are selling 
The coffee you sell:

People are more concerned about where the coffee comes from and the impact on the environment. So buying fair trade or direct from a small farmer where you can ask about how the coffee is grown, harvested and roasted. 

One coffee supplier I can highly recommend; is Milly at Exsotic Coffee Roasters Milly is Colombian and buys direct from small farmers in Colombia, who grow high quality arabica coffee beans. Milly can offer you the art of making a proper cup of coffee, espresso, latte at their micro roasting HQ in Oxfordshire.         
   



Monday, 13 October 2014

Its Not All Work Work Work

For those who are running an established business, It pays to down tools and take time off away from work.

In any business there is a changing market, competition and the chance to grow.

You sometimes need to get away and see the wood from the trees. 

To clear the mind and come up with new ideas, you need to get away from it all and do something you enjoy. After all it's your hard work, time building and effort running your business.

"I still put pen to paper and write ideas or things that need to be done"

Before you start working for yourself, you need to think is it about the money, the lifestyle or both?

Some businessmen find it hard to say no and forget why they got in to the bike trade in the first place.


Why it might not be possible for you to take time off yet:

Of course there is mortgage and bills to pay, but if you find you are working 7 days a week just to get by, then you may need a rethink the way you are running your business. 
  • Are you getting stressed
  • Feel under pressure to make x amount of money each week 
  • Can't find enough time in the week to finish all your tasks
If yes to any of the above, then this will be reflected on your customers. 

You may need to think about the following:
  • Charge more per job/hour
  • How to be more efficient
  • Review your business and home outgoings 
  • Find help/support
  • Review stock control 
  • Learn to say no to some jobs
  • Are you getting the best deal from your suppliers

Or are you struggling to find work:
Then you need to......
  • Review your image and branding. (The way you market yourself will have a big impact)
  • Is your vehicle suitable  
  • Is your business being found on the internet
  • Do you consider your business as being professional
  • Do you have the confidence and knowledge
  • Check your location and competition out
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses 

What changes can you make?
These are some of the things that a good businessman will overcome and why some businesses fail.

Start a list of what you need to do or changes need to be made. 

Our Network has the support and inside knowledge, that is shared with our Members. To not only get their business of the ground, but to help run their business and be profitable. 

Once I learnt to say no, I could take time off and do what I enjoy. 
Being in the leisure industry, I find customers like to hear of my cycling stories. 

When taking time out, I switch off my phone and laptop to help forget about work. 

Keep it simple, keep cycling, enjoy your work and the business will look after itself.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Once In A Lifetime Business Opportunity

Cycle Tech UK is offering full business package at discount in the following areas listed below.
Valued till December 31st 2014

You can now have the opportunity to start and run your own professional bike business. With help & support to start and grow your own business.
Even if you are thinking of owning a bike shop, this is a great way to start your business with low setup costs. Build your customer base, stock, skills and contacts then open your dream bike shop and sell the coffee. Our network will make your dream come true, contact any of our Members to see how Cycle Tech UK has helped like minded businesses start their dream business.

It's your business with our great branding, its a win win situation.

Not only are we cheaper than buying any type of franchise, the fee is also cheaper than advertising alone. Cycle Tech UK will also tell you what advertising works and what is a waste of time and money.

We are growing strong by being a cooperative network and not a franchise!!!!!  Customers like us for our unique approach and dealing direct at their home or work, where we can offer advice as well as a mobile service, saving the customer time and money.

We wish to grow our successful network across the UK and support our partners demands for repairs and warranty issues from online sales, as well as a growing demand from private individuals who are our main business.

ARE WE THE RIGHT BUSINESS FOR YOU?

At Cycle Tech UK, we seek to partner with like-minded people who have a strong desire to drive change in the cycling industry.

IN RETURN:

Qualities Cycle Tech UK Seek: 
  • Working under the Cycle Tech UK branding
  • Commitment to being hands on in the business. 
  • Passion for Cycling. 
  • Strong business acumen. 
  • Thrive in a Relationship driven business. 
Are You Ready To: 
  • Be active in your success & failures. 
  • Get involved with your local cycling communities.  
  • Work in a physically demanding environment.
  • Network by being involved with supporting our brand and its Members

The following areas are now available:

Basingstoke
Brentwood
Brighton
Bristol
Cardiff
Central & Greater London
Cheltenham
Chelmsford
Harrow & Uxbridge

Leeds & York 
Maidenhead 
Milton Keynes
Newbury
Oxford
Poole
Portsmouth
Reading
Swindon
Slough

Waterlooville
Watford
Windsor 

Please enquire about an area not listed. See our MAP for all areas available


Business Offer
There has never been a better time to join our growing Network in the UK, with so many benefits and for ONLY £P.O.A At Discount (The above areas only)
We provide a fully comprehensive business in a box (see our information pack) which delivers our Members a proven and profitable business. 
Why is Cycle Tech UK so Unique?
Brand leader.
• We provide our Members with sales leads.
• We help you find clients through our on-line media and direct marketing.
• We provide technical support to help you with those "What do I do about this?" moments
• Low set-up costs and overheads and high income.
• Flexibility within your chosen business model.
• Ability to work from home and generate high income.
• We deliver a comprehensive business in a box
• Extra training is delivered in house and covers technical and practical skills, which involves work experience on the road and business setup help.
 And provide you with on-going support and information as required.
Thank you for interest with the Cycle Tech UK Partnership, please email martin@cycle-tech.co.uk NOW for an information pack which explains about our network, the benefits, links to more info and how to arrange a no obligation meeting or chat.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Martin Wilkins