Real Business Owner: Tim Krone, Pedal
We interviewed Pedal owner, Tim Krone about launching his bicycle shop in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Here’s what he had to say…
Q. What’s the name of your business?
A. Pedal. But we seem to be also known as Pedal Bicycle, Pedal Bicycles, The Pedal and a host of other names. Thankfully, none are offensive and all sound pretty close to the real thing.
Q. What business/industry are you in?
A. Pedal is a bike shop.
Q. What’s your web address?
A. http://pedalbicycle.com (which could lead to some of the confusion surrounding our business name)
Q. What made you want to launch your own company?
A. I like bikes and was pretty sure I could fill a niche in my community.
Q. What was your biggest hurdle you discovered when launching your business?
A. Timing. Bringing together bankers, vendors, builders, signage and employees on a similar timeline.
Q. What was easier than you expected?
A. Nothing. Not that it was all super difficult, but I’m pretty sure I never said, “Gosh. That was easier than I thought.”
Q. Did you write a business plan? Why or why not?
A. Absolutely. How do you know where you’re going without a plan? I used the plan for three main purposes:
- To see if my plan looked reasonable outside of my brain. It was also easy to share with others to get their feedback.
- To work the numbers. I did a couple years of sales and cash flow projections.
- To get a loan.
Q. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your business?
A. I wish I’d had a better grasp on the quantity of time I’d spend on overhead/administrative chores vs. productive work, not that it would have changed anything.
Q. What services would you highly recommend outsourcing?
A. I don’t really outsource anything yet. I have payroll to the point at which it only takes an hour to 90 minutes every other week. I do the books on Sunday mornings. I deal with payroll taxes on the first of the month. Most of this stuff is a total drag, but it doesn’t take long.
Q. What tasks do you think every business owner should do for themselves?
A. The business accounting. I don’t obsess over the numbers, but I do find it helpful to have to look at them on a regular basis.
Q. Which books did you found helpful while getting started? Why?
A. I purchased several documents produced by the bicycling national trade organization which were HUGELY helpful. One document gave a very good breakdown of typical bike shop finances. Another detailed various attributes of bike shops — like the most popular brands, the most popular software (very helpful). This data helped me purchase hardware and software for the shop AND double-check a bunch of the figures in my business plan.
Q. What online resources did you find helpful?
A. Many. I use Google for email, which is cheap and very easy. We’re sort of into social media.
Q. What piece of advice would you like share with someone looking to start a business today?
A. I’d ask two questions:
- Are you going to be happy doing this for a long time? And I don’t mean satisfied; I mean happy.
- How will you differentiate yourself from everyone else doing this in your town/state/country/world?
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