You want answers? -I want the truth!

So friends here I am late in the evening typing feverishly.  Freshly settled in Chattanooga, TN and a few delicious beers into the game.  (Big Thanks to Community Pie for the refreshments.)

The previous post I made was clearly a bitching session.  A classic WTF moment.  Honestly, it felt good just to release my own unorganized “Bike Industry Banter” into the world.  Now… Here I am lamenting over the things I should have mentioned.

Mostly, I’d like to give a shout out to a friend and colleague, Andy Corson, for calling out my weak ass attempt at my blog post and asking me…

“So what IS happening Greg?”

and

“What’s happening with IBDs?”

Corson et al.,

Onto your shit-eating-grin questions…

  1. Damn you Andy. Kenneth J. Bloggins.  Don’t be a dick.  I love you. Wanna guest post?
  2. IBDs and suppliers are not in alignment.  At least not in most cases.  Bicycle retailers are struggling.  They are on the ropes.  Most of which have opened a shop because they like bikes.  Not because they know how to manage a retail store or the host of other responsibilities that come with owning a bike shop.  IE: HR, accounting, purchasing, AR, Cash Flow Analysis, social media rock stardom, staff training, merchandising, selling strategy, proper punctuation, and-the-list-goes-on.
  3. Every shop owner and employee I talk to feels out of touch and out of sync with what’s happening in the wonderful world of bicycle retail.  Mind you, these are Bicycle Retailers who have no idea what in the hell the future holds.  How is it possible that the salt of the Earth people who create the bicycle industry, day in and day out, have no fucking idea where we’re headed?  That just seems super fucked up.  Are you serious Clark?
  4. Bike shops are closing left and right.  And good ones.  On top of that, a few really great shops are losing key people.  Why? Because they are not making enough money or finding legitimate solutions to their problems to continue forward.  Hello, Tobie D. and Jeff K.
  5. The bike industry is approximately 5 light years behind the curve when it comes to using technology.  At least according Sam, a long time Chattanooga bike shop dude.  I have to agree with Sam here.  When’s the last time a manufacturer, supplier, distributor actually invested in the retailer as a part of their retail strategy online?  And no, I’m not talking about the we’ve-made-a-corporate-decision-to-sell-bikes-and-shit-online-and-in-order-to-placate-you-as-a-retailer-we-are-going-to-offer-you-some-money kind of way.  Is it really that hard to include the retailer, the most important aspect of the bicycle industry, into the decision making process?  If, as an industry, we’re going to through a billion dollars at strategy, it might make sense to look beyond the walls of the building you go to work in every day.
  6. I’m tired. 5 points was enough.  I have shop visits to do tomorrow.  Mark my words.  I’ll be back.

Go away, I’ve been asleep for hours by the time you’ve read this.

Greggers.

Okay Okay Okay…

Education, Alignment, Investment, and…Support?.?  Maybe those are productive topics.  I’m out for realz this time.

#editwhat?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bike Industry Banter

Holy shit.  Bicycle Bizz Behemoths have made major moves in the last couple of weeks.

Shimano slashes prices across the board at MSRP and for their retailers.

Giant announces direct online sales to consumers.

Heads roll over at Specialized.

Chain Reaction Merges with Wiggle.

What are we seeing here?  Obviously, our industry’s largest forces are retrenching and preparing for a brave new world.  In back room meetings and over expensive lunches heads of state are contemplating and executing their new strategies.  Meanwhile, bicycles dealers are chomping their Triflow stained fingernails down to the quick and wondering how or if they fit into this new and dynamic landscape.

I ask…

Where’s all of the communication folks?  Where’s the transparency?  The partnership?  The appreciation for the men and women who work everyday on the front lines?

Come on already.  What the hell is happening?  I could literally spend all day talking to dealers about what we think is “really” going on, why this or that happening, and what these implications mean for our beloved Independent Bicycle Retailers.

The real question here is, why must we speculate?

The IBD brings incredible value to the bike industry.  Our nation’s bike shops serve as a hub of cycling culture in every community.  Even a shop in a sleepy rural town, where sales jerks like myself never visit, means something to someone.

Bike shops are special. They are the heart, soul, and personality of the cycling universe that I want to live in.  Each of them housing an eccentric group of people who do a job because they have a passion to share the joy that only a bicycle can bring.

Also, bike shop employees are experts.  At least the good ones.  They connect a forum trolling-review obsessed-online slave network of people to the things that really matter.  People, community, the coalescence of metal and rubber that make up a bicycle.

So, come on friends.  If we’re going to make big moves, let’s make them together. Fuck.

 

 

Your Bike Shop is a D20

I had a great conversation today with a good friend of mine.  It started as a dialog about his shop, the barriers to success the store was facing, how he was choosing to move forward, and also how it was affecting his life as an entrepreneur.

So, yeah, important shit.

The thing is, if you’re reading this, you probably deal with similar stresses everyday as and IBD.

Think of your business as a D20…Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 4.02.25 PM

 

There are so many facets to running a bike shop today.

  • What do you stock?
  • How do you train your employees?
  • Can you manage cash flow through an off-season?
  • What the hell is our Strategy?
  • Where do I find my ideal customers?
  • Why did I open a bike shop anyway?

…I think you get the picture.

So you’re still reading? Okay, take a minute to look at your own business. What are the individual pieces that make up running a bike shop?

We start by taking the questions from the list above and creating a series of pieces that create a whole.

Seriously make a list.  I’ll help you get started..

Stock management, training employees, managing cash flow, creating a strategy, identifying and reaching ideal customers…see how easy that was.

Now, what are you good at?  Where do you need help?  What has gotten away from you?  Will focusing on one piece effect another? How?

If you have the time, please share your list with the rest of us.  The goal here isn’t to answer all of the questions or derive a silver bullet solution to running a standout bike shop.  What we want is an understanding of the foundational pieces that make up a living breathing bike shop.  Moreover, to build a frame of reference from which to start a conversation that is sorely missed in our industry today.

Thanks for playing.

 

 

Planet Bike revises third-party sales policies

Bike and Bike Accessory manufacturers are changing distribution and sales policies almost daily.  Are they placating Bicycle Dealers or drawing lines in the sand against the “Race-to-the-bottom” online retail strategy?

We all know that shopping online is here to stay.  What does that mean to the IBD?

In the meantime, BRAIN announced, Planet Bike is addressing the point with a policy revision.

Vote with you dollars.

 

MADISON, Wis. (BRAIN) — Planet Bike has revised its sales and pricing policies to prohibit sales of its current model year products on auction sites.Effective April 1, the brand wil requires dealers to get authorization before selling its products on third party sites.

Source: Planet Bike revises third-party sales policies