Here is our ragtag setup at the Flagstaff Farmer’s Market a few weekends ago. Art Babbot, a Flagstaff city council member and organizer extraordinaire welcomed us to set up a booth under the auspice of educating people about Electric Bikes. We were instructed to be low key on the marketing and focus on the educational aspect. This approach resulted in us looking like a table surrounded by a bunch of bikes. The crates full of Bike Shop Hub T-Shirts didn’t really look that great either. Despite or perhaps because of the casual nature of our booth, we got 20 or 30 people to take demo rides and sign up for our newsletter.
We do have 3 more opportunities to figure this one out this summer. Round 2 will be next weekend. We will be bringing the tent this time (with the sandbags that we forgot last time thus not being able to set it up). I’ve also had the inspiration to bring my rollers as a sort of spectacle to draw people in. Does riding an ebike on rollers count as exercise?
It’s been a summer of maturing as far as the business philosophy and approach is concerned. We launched our show room and our ebike sales. And while we’ve had more people coming in the door, I can’t say it has been a huge success. Online sales have been continuing to ramp up tremendously with bike bags and bike trailers flying out the door. Even with this growing volume of sales, we are struggling to be profitable. I’ve realized that we need to continue to grow sales to an even higher level while reducing costs to transition back to being a profitable company with the larger profile and overhead that we’ve taken on. As with many growing business, we are cycling (no pun intended) between focuses on growth and profitability. The current transition back to focusing on profitability is perhaps the hardest one to knuckle down into, but also one of the most essential ingredients to developing a strong healthy business.
Our main focuses are now circling back to continued growth within our profit centers and cost reduction. Growth for us means continuing our strong online marketing efforts and adding in more product lines. Our biggest pushes for new product lines will be in launching the new BikeTechShop.com by the Fall and adding in 2 or 3 brands to our most successful shop, BikeBagShop.com. Reducing costs mainly means that we will be updating and improving our accounting, inventory management, order fulfillment and other customer service related operations so that we can efficiently and effectively handle our expected continued increase in volume without adding more employees to our payroll. I know this sounds like the problem behind the high jobless rate in the US with corporations trying to find every efficiency and not hire. For a small business like ours, this strategy is essential for shifting back towards being profitable. I question this type of strategy for corporations that are already raking in the profits as it seems shortsighted. But hey, that’s Capitalism. (I think I’m going to start ending every post where I wander off into business strategy with this easy way out line)