People: Austin’s Cycle Shop

Austin had received the funding he needed to expand his operations, but now he needed to make some important decisions about how to combine operations in three locations: his current store, a new store, and an acquired store.

 

Austin talked regularly with his own employees about how they felt about working for him and what could be improved for greater customer and employee satisfaction. He surveyed his current customers and customers of the acquired shop and found that they would like to hear more about cycling tips, deals, great rides, and more from Austin and his employees. Austin decided to get the employees involved in creating a regular e-mail newsletter to build a more loyal customer base and give employees an opportunity to be creative and share their knowledge.

 

He needed to spend more time training and coaching his employees in how to create a more complete customer experience, one that was consistent across all locations. He had never created a real training program before, but as he began searching for new employees for the new stores, he knew it was time. An important point of that training would be helping his employee teams work effectively together, in addition to thinking of the employees in other stores as internal customers.

 

He wanted to keep key people for the long term, so he began to look at competitive wages and benefits. And he began a career path discussion with each of his employees to better plan for their future growth, so that his business could grow profitably. Austin needed to make sure the new store and the acquired shop were setup to maximize revenue and profit. The key, he knew, was identifying what customers in these neighborhoods were looking for.

 

He regularly surveyed his own customers, but the needs of his new customers would be different because the demographics of the neighborhoods were very different. In his current shop, he mostly catered to sport cyclists, so he carried high-performance bikes. Near the college campus, he’d be dealing with a younger demographic made up of people who didn’t have as much cash to spend. He reviewed the sales history for the acquired shop and his assessment was confirmed. The inventory of high-performance bikes had a poor turnover rate, but the lower-cost models had strong sales numbers. He decided to keep a few high-performance models on hand but to focus his inventory on a range of affordable bicycles. He would also begin selling scooters, because they were very popular with college students.

In the new shop, he would be in the middle of a highly residential neighborhood. He spent some time in the new neighborhood, watching families who were out and about. Cycling among families seemed common, and so he knew he would need to sell kids’ bikes. It was a fairly affluent neighborhood, and there was a broad range of higher-end kids’ bikes that were highly adjustable and designed to last for a long time. He had also seen some innovative baby carriers from his suppliers that he thought would be good sellers. And it seemed like touring bikes would be a good idea for the adult inventory, with some high-performance bikes and parts on hand for the local fanatics.

 

One thing that surprised him was the number of scooters he saw in the neighborhood. He hadn’t anticipated that. He decided that he would also offer scooters at the new store, which would give him greater leverage in negotiating with suppliers.

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