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Old 04-12-2015, 01:27 PM   #1
Fifty3motorcycles OP
Glourious Basterd
 
Joined: Apr 2015
Location: Salinas, California
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Veteran Owned Business Request Advice

Good day!

My name is Bob Burnes and I'm finally realizing a dream of mine; opening up a motorcycle shop that restores and services motorcycles. Specifically, BMW motorcycles. While I've invested years of planning, plotting, taking courses, obtaining certifications, I have been career military and law enforcement since I was 20 years old.

When I was active duty, 2002-2008, I served in the USAF as a Special Operations Helicopter Crew Chief on board the legendary MH-53 PAVE LOW. The motorcycles were my way of keeping up my moral and working on/riding the bikes was therapeutic. I decided, then, to open up a shop that would not only provide high quality custom bikes, but also teach combat veterans, like myself, how to service and customize their own bikes. A type of therapy for veterans with TBI and PTSD.

Here's the point of my thread-while I have over a decade and a half of management skills, several certificates in business, and a minor in the business field, I learned a long time ago to seek out wise advice from more experienced persons.

Are there any key lessons any of you have learned about motorcycle maintenace, shop management, or making a business more efficient?

Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you in advance!

"ANYTIME, ANYPLACE"
Robert "Bob" Burnes
Owner, FIFTY3 Motorcycles
Salinas, CA
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:12 AM   #2
Okeedokee
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Hey Bob.
While I'm not a veteran, I do own and operate a 25-man electrical contracting firm in Chas, SC.
I don't have the experience of starting the business- as I bought it from the previous owner- the man I worked for.
What I can tell you though comes from many years of watching how he ran the company and from running this shop myself for 20 years now.

First: TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES THE WAY YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED. This cannot be overstated.

Second: If an employee develops a bad attitude in spite of you doing for him/her all that you can, LET THEM GO, NO MATTER HOW GOOD THEY MAY BE. One bad apple will spoil the whole lot. Bad attitudes are like a cancer. They spread. You don't want to be busting your ass trying to be the best boss running the best place to work and have one guy effectively negating all the good you're doing by constantly bitching. Send him on his way.

Third: Find a good banker. A good one will work you through tough times. A bad one will bust your ass over nit-picking BS stuff and that can be very dis-heartening.

Fourth: Find a good accountant AND LISTEN TO HIM/HER. Not that running a M/C shop is that tricky (guessing here), but a good accountant will keep you out of trouble. A bad one will keep you IN trouble.

Fifth: Do not get hung up paying too much attention to the bottom line. Take care of your customers, your employees and your obligations and the profits should be there.

Thank you for your service to our country and good luck!
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Old 04-14-2015, 02:43 AM   #3
NZRalphy
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Hey good luck.

As above- bad apples will screw the team up. Have regular team meetings and talk about positive stuff way more than the negative. Talk over the negative guys with positive things. This will be difficult to do!

Hiring staff? My experience is .... hire the attitude and teach the skill rather than the other way around. You will build a stronger team but it will take longer.

Want a strong business that people will want to come back to? When setting up policies or hiring staff then the first thing to discuss is getting jobs done quickly. Your team should work promptly and not dilly-dally. You need to get more jobs through the shop and your customers want to keep their bill low!

Information. Your customers will want information. Give someone the task of texting progress...... I use a a great mechanic when I can't do something, and I hate. HATE! Having to ring him every day to ask "what's the progress" if I don't he I would never find out. Why the hell is that?
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Old 04-14-2015, 03:40 AM   #4
ozmoses
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I don't know that being a veteran necessarily changes the approach to running a m/c shop or are you focusing on veteran owned bikes?

In dealing with the general public, my root business philosophy has been very simple: say what you are going to do, do what you said.

No ifs, ands, or buts.
No excuses.

It's worked for 23 years now.
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Old 04-14-2015, 04:41 AM   #5
SnoDrtRider
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I am not a Vet but...

I am a small business owner.

One major thing you need to do when dealing with the public is to project the same attitude EVERY DAY you or your employees absolutely CANNOT be Jekyl & Hyde helpful and positive one day and negative and miserable the next.
It does not matter what is going on outside of the business when you open that door to the public it is show time and you need to be "On" 100% of the time!

Always be neat, clean and respectful to your clients and be happy to see them even if they are "one of those" customers. You would be surprised how well you can train your customers when you feed them honey.

Always be business like to your employees.
Remember... during work hours they are employees first and friends after. You may have friends and family working for you but you need to be able to draw the line during the time they are on the clock.

Never agree to and unrealistic timeline OR BUDGET for a job... Whether it is a simple oil change or a major build agreeing to an unrealistic timeline or budget will only create problems in the end and give you a bad reputation.

Social Media... A two edged sword.

You need to get the word out about your services so a web site and FB, Twitter and Goggle+ are great for that and free! Remember if you have a customer that is not happy they can ruin your business by giving a bad review on these sites! On the other hand if you have customers that are always praising you and your work don't be afraid to ask them to write up a review on your social media.

https://www.facebook.com/IRISContracting

www.iriscontracting.com

I use and app called Buffer to broadcast to all my social media sites at once you write and update and include a photo and it goes to whatever Social media site you have linked to it... a real time saver.


And most of all THANK YOU FOR SERVING and GOOD LUCK with your venture!
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Old 04-14-2015, 06:53 AM   #6
Okeedokee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnoDrtRider View Post
I am not a Vet but...

I am a small business owner.

One major thing you need to do when dealing with the public is to project the same attitude EVERY DAY you or your employees absolutely CANNOT be Jekyl & Hyde helpful and positive one day and negative and miserable the next.
It does not matter what is going on outside of the business when you open that door to the public it is show time and you need to be "On" 100% of the time!

Always be neat, clean and respectful to your clients and be happy to see them even if they are "one of those" customers. You would be surprised how well you can train your customers when you feed them honey.

Always be business like to your employees.
Remember... during work hours they are employees first and friends after. You may have friends and family working for you but you need to be able to draw the line during the time they are on the clock.

Never agree to and unrealistic timeline OR BUDGET for a job... Whether it is a simple oil change or a major build agreeing to an unrealistic timeline or budget will only create problems in the end and give you a bad reputation.

Social Media... A two edged sword.

You need to get the word out about your services so a web site and FB, Twitter and Goggle+ are great for that and free! Remember if you have a customer that is not happy they can ruin your business by giving a bad review on these sites! On the other hand if you have customers that are always praising you and your work don't be afraid to ask them to write up a review on your social media.

https://www.facebook.com/IRISContracting

www.iriscontracting.com

I use and app called Buffer to broadcast to all my social media sites at once you write and update and include a photo and it goes to whatever Social media site you have linked to it... a real time saver.


And most of all THANK YOU FOR SERVING and GOOD LUCK with your venture!
Very nice website SnoDrtRider! I wish you were here so you could help me with my fireplace!
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:11 PM   #7
SnoDrtRider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okeedokee View Post
Very nice website SnoDrtRider! I wish you were here so you could help me with my fireplace!

Thanks! It needs to be updated but it gets the point across. A buddy of mine did that for me and we did most of the consulting either on line or over the phone.

I think I have too many step by step photos for the average homeowner and need to go to a before and after format but I like to show the important stuff that goes on in between.
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Wayne 2005 BMW F650GS... 1984 HD FXRS
Gone but not forgotten...
'80 Montesa Cota 200, '03 DRZ 400s,
'80 Suzuki GS850G, '74 Honda MT250 Enduro
'71 Kawasaki 100,1971 Honda SL70, Sears Mini Bike
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:28 PM   #8
bomber60015
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pay attention to local ordinaces wrt disposal of the waste you are sure to generate . . . oil, brake fluid, like that . . . . .. a buddy got his foot caught in a wringer with the state over that, and it hurt.

Accountant. Get one.

Best of luck, man!
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Old 04-14-2015, 07:56 PM   #9
1911fan
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A very successful guy I worked for told me this: "Hire good people, do what it takes to keep them happy, and get out of the way while they make you money."
And a good trainer told me this: "Never expect what you don't inspect."



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Old Yesterday, 01:03 AM   #10
rtwpaul
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i ran and owned successfull motorcycle business for 17 years that i started from scratch, if you have specific M/C related business questions drop me a PM
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