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  • Immagine del redattoreGiammarco Rizzo

Launched in Lockdown: from personal trainer to business owner

Aggiornamento: 14 dic 2020

Ian Oestreich from Wisconsin launched a mobile bike repair shop called Backyard Bicycle in April when he was laid off. By the time his employer offered his job back, business was going so well that he declined to dedicate full time on his start-up.

The business idea

“My fitness participants were my first clients. Then I started making neighbourhood pop-up shops, so that neighbours could just turn up and get their bikes tuned up in the same day”.

The results

The service was a success: with a service price of $75 per repair, Ian managed to fix 600+ bikes in 6 months with an initial investment of $1,000-$2,000.

He has now invested $15,000 in parts, tools, transportation and advertising.

“I think it was the perfect timing to launch this kind of business because everyone was home. Rather than working only over the weekend, I could work all week."

What's next?

"As the pandemic starts to quell and people return to the office, I am planning to pivot my business, hire a new employee and offer a workplace pop-up shop, so even if you’re not home, you can bring your bike to get tuned-up and get it back by the end of your workday. Also partnering with local businesses is a good way to stay relevant”.

Asked whether he would go back to his previous job in the fitness industry, Ian replied: “When I lost my job there was an understanding that I would have had my job back eventually, I just didn’t want to sit back with my hands for a couple of months. Would I go back? I do actually have a Bachelor in Kinesiology, I love movement and exercise and I would love to go back to training at some point. However, owning my business now I don’t think I would go back to working for someone else.”

It’s not the first time that the personal-trainer-turned-entrepreneur hand launched himself in entrepreneurial ventures, having tried before a subscription service, but this was the first endeavour where he has invested in. He says that it was knowing that he would have had a job, should things not turn out well, gave him an incentive to launch this kind of business.

Lessons learnt

This success shows us how intercepting a need and offering a valid solution is the start for every entrepreneurial venture even in the toughest times. I also believe that three other key lessons are relevant from a business strategy point of view that business of every size, from start up to mid-size companies and large multinational companies:

1. Create safe space to boost entrepreneurship:

Ian gave it a go to his idea knowing that he could go back to his job. I’ve seen too many employees in large corporations having the fear to suggest ambitious ideas for the fear to fail and have a reputational damage. The most innovative companies nowadays encourage ideas from all parts of the companies and prefer to launch at speed and fail fast.

2. Start small:

Ian’s fortune was to have an initial set of acquaintances from his workplace that worked as first customer base and that probably allowed Ian to know what the customer was looking for (same-day service, affordable pricing, proximity of the service). Ian kept the same value proposition and adapted to the changing trend when planning for the future

3. Seize the opportunity and pivot with key market trends:

many could say that Ian was lucky at intercepting an uncovered need, but he was good at learning quickly about his customers and at planning the next move, by already planning mobile pop-up shops close to workplace and partnerships with local businesses.

Full interview available here


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