Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Business Planning - Mobile Bicycle Repairs

This is my view on making a business plan and it works for me. I also use a plan for personal gain, before I take time out to travel, start weight lifting, kitting a work van out or converting a van to a camper.
Building a shed or garage, by drawing a plan to build a workshop to a scale will give you a create idea of how much materials required and to calculate the cost. A drawing to work to will make life so much easier then just doing it and see what happens - usually means it will take longer and cost more.

"Make two lists; 1. of setup costs and 2. running costs. Your plan should be of your business ideas, you don't know until you put your van on the road. Having it set in stone will stop you doing what is good for your business"

Your first time in business is about making mistakes and learning from that, this can be time consuming and very costly. On the other hand being prepared and calculating the risks by making a business plan will give you a better start. This will mean doing research or even better still is to visit and talk with those who have already done it.

"Starting without a simple plan is a temporary solution. Sooner or later, you will be back at the drawing board"

Many people who start on the cheap or without a clear plan often fail - I have seen those who buy a small van and when they get busy need to take a few bikes back home and their shed workshop is in the rear garden and need to carry bikes, tools and parts back and forth from the van.

"You cannot expect to be effective and successful in business unless you truly believe in your business and in the goods and services that you sell"

They say a business plan is a written document that describes your business. It covers objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. Also a business plan is to secure investment or a loan from a bank.
While that is all very true, first we also need to look at our end goal, especially if this is your first time going in to business or your business has failed in the past.

"Success is the journey and not the destination"

Q. The reasons why and what you want to achieve working for yourself?
A. Because having a good reason for doing something makes planning much easier.

Business Planning Mobile Bicycle Repairs - Put Pen To Paper

What I tell any would be business owner if they haven't done so already, is to first put pen to paper and write your plan, ideas and why you want to go in to business.

"A great business owner knows to recognise where his weaknesses lie and to address them"

Business Plan
Make a simple business plan that covers your goals and how you will achieve them, on paper.
To predict the market and likely success of your business.

1. Reasons why?
Description of your intentions:
  • Not happy working the 9 - 5 grind for someone else
  • Want the chance to earn more money
  • Lifestyle change
  • Have a business that is local
  • To be debt free
  • The ultimate goal is to have the money work for you - think early retirement or less hours for the same money!
  • Or some other reason?
Q. How are you going to achieve why?
A. Make a list of your needs

2. Ask yourself:
  • Do you have fear in working for yourself?
  • Is there anything stopping you from starting your business?
  • What are your strengths and talents?
  • Do you enjoy your own company?
  • Can you solve problems?
  • Are you willing to train and practice what you need to make your business a success?
  • Can you manage money wisely?  All business owners must become wise money managers to ensure that the cash keeps flowing.
  • As well as being a very good mechanic, can you also be the secretary and accountant? Answer the phone and book in jobs. Or the salesman? Remember that marketing, advertising, or promotional activities are completely worthless if you can't sell your service's or goods.
  • Customer care - are you good with people? Your mobile business is not about the products or services that you sell. Your mobile business is not about the prices that you charge for your goods and services. Your mobile business is not about your competition and how to beat them. Your business is all about your customers, or clients.
If you don't enjoy what you're doing, chances are you won't succeed.

3. How much money will it cost to start your business?
  • Van - The mobile workshop
  • Tools
  • Training
  • Sign writing and stationery
  • Other
Q. How much capital do you have to invest?

4. How much to run your business?
  • Insurances
  • Van running costs
  • Stock
  • Web
  • Other
Q. How much will you pay yourself?

5. Sales - Where will you find customers?
One of the toughest questions if you are new to business start-up, is that we can work out our overheads but to work out profit/loss we need to have some idea of sales - the amount your business turns over each year. To help you read: How much does a mechanic earn
  • Private or corporate?
  • How will you market yourself and be found?
  • What type of bicycles, bike shops and shops are in your area? Will give you an idea of what the customer will spend on repairs and service
  • Are there cycle clubs?
  • Self-promotion is one of the most beneficial, yet most underutilized, marketing tools that the majority of mobile business owners have at their immediate disposal.
  • Become know as an expert, how will people seek you out for your expertise?
  • A good reputation is unquestionably one of the home business owner's most tangible and marketable assets. Without trust, you won't have a good reputation.
Q. Do you know how much you will charge per hour?

6. Business name and type of business?
  • What will you call your business?
  • Will you be a sole trader or Limited?
  • Will you register your business name?  
  • What will be the nature of your business? Mobile, workshop or both?
  • Will you offer pickup and drop off service?
7. Other things to include in to your plane:
  • When your business starts, what other commitments will you have that could interfere with the day to day running of your business? What can you do to limit this or what changes can you make?  
  • Training to level 2 or level 3 and any further training in mechanics or any business training?
  • Tools and parts - Tool list what to buy and what parts to stock? and where to find suppliers? 
  • Van - the mobile workshop, what type of van, size, buy new, used or lease?
  • Insurance specialists?
  • The key to staying organized is not about which type of file you have or whether you keep a stack or two of papers on your desk, but it's about managing your business.
  • Carefully plan and design your mobile workspace to ensure maximum personal performance and productivity.
  • Don't multitask, learn to do one think at a time and do it well.
  • Be assessable - Will your business be part time or full time? If part time how will you manage answering the phone and replying to email enquires? Making it easy for people to do business with you means that you must be accessible.
8. Borrowing money:
  • Businesses needs capital to setup, so carful planning and research is required if you need to borrow. Not only to were you can get the best bank loan, but also where you will spend the money on.
  • Borrowing within your means, so you can afford the monthly payments and still live, you have not started a business to get stressed and get in to debt. I have seen many business men, borrow money to setup their business and after 9 months, turn to the bank to borrow more or look at what assets they have and sell. Before you sell anything "think" do these assets have value or are they things you don't need anymore or cost money to maintain?
"Planning every aspect of your mobile bike business is not only a must, but also builds habits that every mobile business owner should develop, implement, and maintain"

For more on planning, starting and running a successful mobile repair business. See Index for links to related posts.

Any questions you have can be answered in a Skype chat or meeting with me, helping you put your business out in front. Talk to me first to decide if this business is for you!
“Starting your own business can be a daunting process. Research shows that many people who want to run their own business may need more help when they’re starting out"

Q. Do you have over £10k to invest? And you want the freedom of being your own boss but with the support of a national network, working in one of the fastest growing leisure sectors please do get in touch with Martin Wilkins at martin@cycle-tech.co.uk for an information brochure.

Boutique Colombian Coffee by Cycle Tech UK

How many cyclists do you know that like to drink coffee? Do you yourself drink coffee or stop on route while cycling for coffee or even visit a bikeshop that now serves coffee?

Always on the lookout for opportunities that others don’t see.
  • Finding non-traditional ways to compete
  • Staying focused on what matters most to your clients
  • New products and services that make people’s lifestyles more enjoyable
  • Not losing sight of how your product or service can make a difference in the world
  • Great business owners who seek to discover new opportunities are fearless when embarking upon new things and will continually test different methods to get the formula right 

Like I have said before "You have to have a business to be in business" then you can add new ideas to your business and grow, were if you have no business you cannot expand and market those ideas.

Basically you have a platform where by you can expand on the hard work you have put in to a business and using the branding that people recognise and known as a quality service or product. Also having a Network of mobile bicycle mechanics across the UK, you will share and expand rapidly by marketing direct to customers nationally.

Don't think it's easy to sell coffee - like any business there is more to it than one first thinks. Buy a coffee machine that uses pods, is a cheap easy way to make a poor cup of coffee, it does the job you may think, but its also part of your business and you are putting your name to it. Once you understand the importance of cup quality then you know that you are on the right path.
 "Coffee is more than just a product. It's a story and it starts from the green bean origins"
Having the money and business name work for you, from what you have learnt from building a business now can be put to good use. People need to love your coffee brand, then you will have more customers and more sales.      

Colombian coffee beans

Having direct relationship with the coffee famers who have pride in their speciality coffee
So after spending time in Colombia (Sorry to say no cycling) learning a lot about coffee, not just making and drinking a good smooth cuppa, but also where the very best coffee is grown to make that great cuppa. Most Colombian coffee growers live in fincas whose coffee cultivation's plots do not surpass 2 hectares (5 acres) on average.
  • Coffee grown at 1000m - is poor quality 1300 to 1700m - normal coffee 1800 to 2000m - high quality, more concentrated and organic as no herbicides are required at high attitude - the coffee "bean" is also smaller and takes 3 months more to grow before it is ready to be picked.
  • Coffee enthusiasts & aficionados identify as the dry, bright & sparkling sensation that sets a high-quality, high-grown coffee apart from a mundane, lower-grown coffee.
The coffee I discovered as the very best coffee grown between 1700 - 1900m and from small farms "Fincas" that are owned and run by small families is grown on the Central Andes from the small town of Bilbao Planadas Tolima Colombia. 

Coffee machine inside mobile workshop with Cycle Tech UK branding coffee mugs
Packaging designs experimenting while in Colombia 
Being associated with us will help you gain a name for yourself in the industry. Our name & branding is also recognised in the trade, making it easier to open trade accounts and gain better discounts. Cycle Tech UK is also approached by events organisers, for our services of event support across the UK also those who sell bikes online looking for a mechanic to assemble.
You too can start a mobile van service business and expand on our brand or strengthen your business by re branding and enjoy our susses. Cycle Tech UK is looking for like minded individuals across the UK to join our network and continue to grow our unique business.
Any questions can be answered in a Skype chat or meeting with me, helping you put your business out in front.
“Starting your own business can be a daunting process. Research shows that many people who want to run their own business may need more help when they’re starting out"
Do you have over £10k to invest? And you want the freedom of being your own boss but with the support of a national network, working in one of the fastest growing leisure sectors please do get in touch with Martin Wilkins at martin@cycle-tech.co.uk for an information brochure.

Friday, 22 July 2016

How To Start a Mobile Cycle Business In 3 Easy Steps

A few additional thoughts to share with you about starting as a mobile cycle mechanic, one of the most rewarding forms of business there is.

Despite what I tend to talk about on this blog, starting and running a successful business does not have to involve spending years planning, life savings and then embarking upon a long-winded odyssey of self discovery.

"The only way you are going to be in business is by being in business"

3 Easy Steps

1. Get a van. It doesn’t really matter which one, as long as it’s big enough, but you won’t get far without it.

2. Quit your job. You’ll need a few years for this, so write a letter to your boss explaining that you’re sorry but there’s something you have to do.

3. Open for business. You can’t run a mobile bike business without opening. So sign-write your business name and phone number on your van, load you van with tools and parts, list your website on Google and start fixing bikes.

Once you have accomplished the above three steps, the rest will work itself out.

Always make time for a coffee

Optional additional steps

Do research. You could spend several months collecting information about businesses and bike shops in your area you wish to work, how to market your business, where to find customers.
But equally you could start now, take it day by day and figure these things out on the road, trusting that instinct.

Training. You could go to the bicycle school and attended two or 3 weeks training and have the qualification to call yourself a professional. Alternatively, you could gain an equal (or higher) level of education by working on bikes all day, every day, during your first few weeks on the road.

Spend time saving money. You could put tens of thousands of pounds in the bank to create a feeling of security. Or your could sell everything you own right now, start at the end of your notice period, and then simply buy parts that you need for each job. You’ll accept all types of jobs, and avoid time off (you can do that when you retire). Simply use the skills you didn’t know you had to earn more locally.

Get loads of fancy equipment. You could blow a few grand on the best bike tools and a new van. Tools like spoke tension meter, where you can learn to feel the tension with your hands, bottom bracket facing tool, can always take the job to a shop who has the tools and add a percentage to the final bill. But equally you could buy used tools from ebay, parts/stock from a shop that's gone bankrupt.

Start a website, Twitter account and Facebook page. You should get up to speed on websites and blogging and social media and use all of these things to communicate your business in real-time from the road. Or better still stop using social media and spend more time putting your business on the road.

Working on the road:
There are so many ways to make long-term mobile bicycle business more complicated than it could be. Avoid trading one rat race for another, ensure that you enjoy your new lifestyle without simply transferring the stress and overwork.

Any questions you may have can be answered in a Skype chat or meeting with me, helping you put your business out in front.
“Starting your own business can be a daunting process. Research shows that many people who want to run their own business may need more help when they’re starting out"
Do you want the freedom of being your own boss but with the support of a national network, working in one of the fastest growing leisure sectors please do get in touch with Martin Wilkins at martin@cycle-tech.co.uk for an information brochure.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Make It Happen - Your Mobile Business A Success

The best way to succeed in business - is to be in business and all that's holding you back from starting your own successful bike business, is the knowledge to do it.

Starting a mobile bike business is a tempting prospect – but that’s the easy part!
The real challenge is to find out how to get that knowledge.
To make your decision making a bit easier, Cycle Tech UK will help you.................

"We all started with limited resources, but want to encourage anyone who is interested to be confident that they can make good honest money from this businessand are within the grasp of anyone who applies themselves" 

So you really like to be a mobile bicycle mechanic, something you can live and breathe. That's good to hear, as this is a great business idea and it isn’t just one that turns a profit. It’s one that’s a good fit for you personally? for your target market, and for your location?
You’re going to be in business for the long haul, so you need to make the right start.

"By doing what you love success will follow"

Many UK mobile bike business owners struggle, not only in starting their business, but also running and planning for future growth.

Only you can make it happen, it must come from you - even with having all the support and advice, it is down to you and if you really want to make a living from this type of business "then you can do it" 

“It’s essential you do as much research as possible to ensure your business has the best chance to succeed. Being confident in yourself and your idea is excellent, but you should still ensure you get as much advice as you can, from multiple sources.”

This post (and Blog) is not supposed to dissuade you from starting your own business. Rather, it’s here to get you thinking and planning. In order to start a successful business, passion alone isn’t enough.

The first thing you should ask yourself:

Why do you want to get in to this business and work for yourself?
  • Why do you want to start a business? Is it money, freedom, more time cycling, health reasons, creativity, or some other reason?
  • How much capital do you have to risk?
Why? Because having a good reason for doing something makes planning easier.

"It’s the mark of a great business when all the elements of a good business plan are being leveraged to their maximum capability."

You need to plan, set goals and above all, know yourself
You can make a firm plan to start your business, and you can put this plan to work right away.
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How will these affect day-to-day operations?
  • How much money and effort will it cost to deliver the value you would like to be offering?

It's better if you can enter a market you like and that you know well. As you get started, your business will likely dominate your life so make sure that what you’re doing is stimulating and not dull. I see my job as a working holiday, I enjoy what I do, being outside and meeting cyclists, for me that brings rewards of a good feel factor and that in turn customers get a happy mechanic working on their bike and they soon tell their friends.

"Remember you’re going to be in it for the long-haul"

Other questions to ask yourself include:
By asking yourself questions will get you thinking about your goals and about what motivates and inspires you.
  • Why am I going in to business to work for myself?
  • What things really matter to you?
  • Who do you admire in business? Perhaps in the industry you’d like to go into? Why do you admire them? What can you learn from them?
There is no cheap or quick way of starting and running your business successfully. While people have taken this route to start their new business, without any planning or thought it ends up costing them time and more money in getting it right. I have seen many start by buying cheap tools and then think they can make money, until they get a job or bike that they have to say "sorry sir I am unable to work on your bike" in fear of damaging it. It could also be they lack the confidence in working for themselves for the first time or don't want to invest too much money if they are thinking they can't make a living from this business by wanting to test the water first.

Why not first:
Being prepaid by researching and making a plan shows that you are on the right road to making it happen. By putting your business idea before everything else in your life is the only way it will happen and become successful.
  1. Research the market and the bicycle trade. I am always surprised that a lot of business owners when struggling and can't work out why they are not busy or making any money - never did any research!!!  
  2. Make a Plan - to start, run and for future growth. Where will you find customers? Private or cooperate?
  3. Finances in order (Personal and organise for your business)
  4. Talk to someone in the trade like me, to tell you the strengths and weaknesses of running a mobile bike business, also spend time on the road with me to give you the confidence in day to day job's of running your business.
This will give you an understanding of what to expect and what to charge. (Pricing in any business is hard to get right, it's your time, investment, stock and tools that need to not only make a return but a profit and the image of you and your business,- this will make a huge difference to the type of customer, so the customer will return and for them to tell their friends) Talking and spending time with me is unviable information to the success and growth of your business...........

Those that have failed often blame "that people in their work area don't spend money on a mobile mechanic and take their bike to a bike shop"

Those who failed, struggled with at least one business area when they started out:
  • Not being found "Marketing "
  • Poor image - great mechanic, but did not know how present them self's
  • Unable to manage time
  • Poor money management
  • Had family or work commitments else where
  • Running their business part time or as a hobby and not planning on moving to full time
  • Not having a large enough shed or garage to store bikes/stock and do repairs from. Doing them in the front room, is not the answer, not only is it not professional, you are not organised and customer is too close for working in comfort.  
  • Pricing - to cheap
  • Lack of financial knowledge
  • No budgeting for the future - if you can not save, you can not plant the seed and grow
  • Comfort - Choose to only grow to part of their full potential
  • Excuses - Always have a good reason not to do those things that need to be done 
  • Give up to easily
Are you someone that starts many things and never finishes them or do you plan for the future? If NOT you need to have a rethink, start today by transforming - taking small steps, develop a routine of good habits and be the best you can be.
    "Knowing what to spend your money and time on, is key to your business start-up and rapid growth"
 Our top highly successful businesses:
  • Made a plan
  • Decided to make it happen
  • Make sacrifices in the short to term to make long term gains
  • Believe in themselves and think about their goals
  • Can visualise they want to run their business 
  • Birds of a feather - mix with those who are successful
  • Asked a lot of questions
  • Have a routine - form good habits
  • By having the trade information and trade contacts will give your business a bigger start.
  • Got involved - with our network support, networked with other Cycle Tech UK Members, and supported local and national cycle events
  • Brought or leased a large van
  • Know how to present and market themselves
  • Able to organise day to day running of business - good time management
  • Able to make a decision
  • Good stock control
  • Know where to find technical help and business support
  • Think of their customers needs
  • They run their business full time
  • Have the right attitude
  • Being honest - letting the customer know when things go wrong
  • Planning for growth and any changing market
  • Mind set tell themselves positive words - When there is a problem that needs solving, its now called a situation, challenge or opportunity.  
  • Self discipline - By having a routine to make yourself do what you should do when you don't feel like doing it. 
  • High energy - By having a routine of eating healthy, avoiding poor foods and doing regular exercise

"To be very successful you need to fail many times - but only if you learn and deal with each situation as a challenge"

Can you identify yourself from the list of things that successful people tend to do from the way you live your life? If yes then the your chances of running a successful business is very high. If not then by being in business you will learn and then will have the knowledge which only you can then decide to do or not.

The van "The Mobile Bicycle Workshop" is your main tool and the image of your business. Customers are more likely to use you, return to you and happy to spend money for the ease of our service, by dealing direct with the mechanic, by being shown what's wrong with their bike and direct straight forward cycling advice. Then take their bike to a shop or a mobile guy working from the back of a car.

Where would you take your bike for a service?

Being prepared:

The training schools are a start, but wont tech you everything in a 2/3 week course, it takes years of experience and learning from mistakes. If it's your first time running a business then is going to be a big learning curve that could be costly if you don't do your research. Get some hands on experience.

Each pro mechanic/business owner only knows 20% about bicycle repairs and how to run a mobile bike business. There is also 20% of things he does not know and 60% he is constantly learning and finding new ways to overcome everyday issues successfully.

Business owners % knowledge running a mobile bike business. We are constantly learning, its how we deal with new problems challenges and how we can organise ourselves better to be more efficient, that will make our business more successful.

"when you was young and you wanted to learn something, you practised and practised till you could do it with out thinking"

People often say to me "A bike is a bike" If only it was that easy! Well we need to look into what makes a bicycle. It's not a simple toy, it is a complex means of transportation and a complex piece of engineering. The bicycle has evolved for over 125 years. There are over 1000 individual parts in a basic geared bicycle. To cut a long story short. It needs to be built well to run well. It needs correct assembly and needs a skilled & experienced bicycle mechanic with great product knowledge to maintain all the different types of bicycles, old and new. "Bicycles have changed a lot in the last 25 years and are not as simple as one first thinks! If you haven't set foot in a bike shop recently you will be amazed at how much has changed. Full suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and carbon frames are now common. (There are also hydraulic rim brakes, internal hub gears, electronic gear shift and electric bikes) If you think you can learn everything in a 2 week course you will be wrong! It takes years of experience, continues training courses and product knowledge before you can run a successfully business."

Whether you’re starting your first or your third business, expect to make mistakes. This is natural and so long as you learn from them, also beneficial. If you do not make mistakes, you do not learn what to do less of and equally, what to do more of. Be open-minded and creative, adapt, look for opportunities, and above all, have fun! The great thing about owning your own business is that you get to decide what you want to do and what direction you want to grow in.

Are you ready to put your business on the road?
  • Are you confident that you understand the market when you launch you business?
  • Will people be able to find you and know what service you offer?
  • Are you confident to work on all types of bikes onsite?
  • Have you got your pricing right?
  • A strong brand is the key to customer loyalty and higher sales. If you think it’s just for big business, think again; a brand is critical for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
  • Do you have the support from your family?
  • Market and launch your business by networking, networking and networking

Insider knowledge
I often work with new mechanics who want to rocket headfirst into a business, when in reality it's important to pull the breaks and master the basics first.

Cycle Tech UK can help you to get the right knowledge to start and run your business, by our strategic approach:
  • Networking within our network of mobile bicycle mechanics
  • Contacts in the trade
  • Welcome pack with information to start and run your business
  • Group support - Closed fb group page for technical and business help
  • Day on the road with me
  • Understanding of customers needs
  • Plans for future growth
  • Supplier relationships
  • Market knowledge
  • Trade exhibitions
  • Knowledge sharing
  • Extra training

Any questions can be answered in a Skype chat or meeting with me, helping you put your business out in front.
“Starting your own business can be a daunting process. Research shows that many people who want to run their own business may need more help when they’re starting out"

Do you have over £10k to invest? And you want the freedom of being your own boss but with the support of a national network, working in one of the fastest growing leisure sectors please do get in touch with Martin Wilkins at martin@cycle-tech.co.uk for an information brochure.