John Robinson was burnt out from a career in the banking industry that required him to travel constantly. When his company decided to lay off 15 percent of its workforce, Robinson realized he’d had enough of the corporate world. He’d been moonlighting on nights and weekends in bike shops and decided to follow his passion by opening a shop of his own.
Robinson started by attending an industry show to gauge interest, and then began searching for a storefront and preparing his business plan. In 2018, he opened Johnny Velo Bikes in Columbus, Ohio, where he offers bikes for sale, services and repairs, bike clinics, and community rides.
Robinson developed a business plan and successfully incorporated and launched in March 2018. Already, his first month’s revenues exceeded his projections.
SCORE mentor Susan Sommerfield worked with Robinson as he planned and launched his business. Robinson says, “She reviewed my business plan, demographics and financials and provided advice on areas that needed to be tweaked.”
Robinson advises other potential small business owners to talk to experts. “I met with many bike shop owners, Susan, my SCORE Executive, accountants, bookkeepers, many different manufacturers, friends, etc. for advice. Be open-minded, but be prepared when you meet with them,” says Robinson.
He also says it’s wise to be strategic about publicity. “Don’t give your competitors time to adjust to you coming into the market. Catch them off guard,” says Robinson.