It is so much easier to build a business around a passion than it has ever been before. The internet has brought so many communities together and allows a niche business to flourish. Years ago a small business like a bike shop would rely on foot traffic. Now, it can thrive without even having a physical store location.
If your passion is bicycles then starting a business building bikes is a great way to make money from it. Bicycle enthusiasts are always looking for interesting bikes. And for every rider there is an ideal that they would pay top dollar for.
Tap into this market and build bicycles as a business. In this article, we will go over what you need to do to build a successful business making bespoke bikes.
Find a niche
Thanks to the internet, your market is much bigger than the area where you are going to be building bikes. In fact, it is too big unless you are smart about your approach. This means that you have to find a niche in which to operate. You can’t just build any bike as there will be too much competition.
What should be done is to look for a small sub sect of bicycles which you can master. If you have a narrow niche then you can be seen as the best in the business and have people seek you out for their custom bikes.
An example would be using different carbon fiber tube sizes to make lightweight racing bicycles. Or, you could be the leader in bamboo bikes. If you have a certain interest in a sector like mountain biking then you could focus there since you understand the market better than anybody.
It sounds limiting, but it will allow you to be very creative in ways that make your bikes stand out in a sea of competition.
Set up a website
A website is going to be the engine that powers the whole business. It is on one hand a powerful marketing tool and on another a good way to make sales.
The site should be functional so that visitors understand exactly what is being offered and how to order their bike. Ordering a bike should be intuitive and interactive. Make sure the site is set up in such a way that it can take the user through the entire process from picking colors, materials and styles so they can get the bike exactly as they want it.
It should also have easy ways to pay online. Give plenty of options since people will want to know that they can pay in many different ways. For instance, accepting Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency will give you a competitive advantage since many people like using it for online payments.
Be a good marketer
The way the internet works these days is that you set things up so that your market can find you instead of the other way around. Rather than try to run ads to display to your target market, you can use inbound marketing techniques in which your market comes to you.
Using social media is the first step in the process as building a presence with content that people in your audience are actively searching will have them find you. Find out which platform your ideal customer is using and focus there. Then create interesting and helpful content that people enjoy reading and sharing.
Building an email list will allow you to really target the right customer when the time is right so focus on building a list from your website. This puts them into your sales funnel and moves them from the research phase right through to the sales phase.
Become an authority in the field by having a podcast in which you discuss all things related to your type of bicycle which will bring in people to your site and email list. Finally a Youtube channel will also help you build a following that can be turned into customers.
Excel at customer service
Customer service is important in any bicycle business but it takes on more importance when you are building bikes. People want to make sure that they are getting exactly what they imagined and ordered.
There should be a rigorous process that involves input from the customer throughout the order from ideation to construction. Make sure to address concerns before they become problems and allow room for making changes.