As we open our second studio I was reminded of our first studio opening. I’ve learned a lot this year, but these are my top three:
1 – Owning a business is really fucking hard. You have to want this more than anything else. It has to be your number one priority, over family, over friends, over any form of a personal life. If you’re only half way in, you can expect your business to be halfway successful. During the first opening of Southside Taylor and I did the majority of the renovations ourselves. We would stay at the studio until 2AM breaking mirrors and individually placed them on support beams, because at the time that was “fun”. It’s constant joke we could be entry-level contractors with our newly learned knowledge of using a wet saw, plumbing basics, flooring concepts, drywall experience… hire us. We had no idea what we were doing; we just knew that we wanted this studio more than anything else in the world.
2 – NO ONE gives a flying fuck about you (except Jesus) – Now, we cut it close. Our demo took a little longer than anticipated and we obviously were installing the bikes last. They were upwards of 2K each, we didn’t want them covered in dust, old murder blood and whatever other venereal diseases used to be in Margaretville. The day before we opened, our bikes were nowhere insight. I called the warehouse asking if they had shipped, since they were guaranteed to be here a week ago. They shipped all right, but no one knew where. I spent ten plus hours on the phone tracking down our bikes. However, the weird part about this chaotic situation is that I was the calmest I’ve ever been in my life. Now while Taylor is M F’ing people threating distress lawsuits (I’m crying laughing thinking about this) I looked at her and said “That’s not going to do anything. They don’t care.” No one cares. I can’t stress it enough. We ended up getting out bikes at 6AM THE DAY we opened. Needless to say I sent our sales rep a lovely email about how great his customer service was. Here it is…
|Jessica Simms<email@example.com> Thu, Jan 4, 5:21 PM to Brian, bcc: Taylor Hey Brian, I think you’re aware that I’m probably the least satisfied customer you’ve had recently. Taylor and I are looking to open three more 6YCLE studio’s within the next three years. However, its unfortunate that I don’t think I’ll ever order from Madd Dog again. First of all, I was told that regular freight should have had our bikes here by the 22nd, by the latest the 26th. Now, I understand that once you ship something its no longer in your control, however, the company you used is awful. I had to talk to four different people before I eventually found our bikes at Ward Trucking in Columbus. They called me around 11AM and said my bikes were on a truck and had been on a truck for days, but they were backed up so my delivery just wasn’t going to be made. Then they called me hour later to tell me the bikes were actually in Chicago. Then they called my again to tell me the bikes were in fact at their Columbus terminal and I could come pick them up if I wanted, because you know I have a semi truck just sitting in my back yard. I then spent two hours on the phone with R&L trucking. They could have had the bikes to me by 10PM, but then per your instructions I did not complete the order and lost the driver they were sending me. I also tried to call your boss three different times to get an okay from him. Needless to say he gave zero fucks about even answering his phone. So, then I spent another hour on the phone searching third party drivers. Thankfully R&L found someone and sent them to Ward Trucking at 10PM. However, no one knew the dimensions, so the truck they sent was too small. Then they sent a semi at 12PM and just so you know Ward Trucking closes ay 9PM, but they felt so bad for all the chaos they stayed open for us on a holiday weekend. That cost almost an additional 2K in shipping on top of what we already paid Madd Dog. The bikes then finally arrived at 6:30AM on a semi truck equipped with a lift gate and one small delivery driver whom didn’t speak English. The pallets were so heavy the lift gate couldn’t handle the weight and myself along with three girlfriends unloaded 21, 200 lb boxes individually off the tuck and into our studio. And of course, with all the luck we’ve been having, the sidewalk was covered in ice and snow thus making it near impossible to not slip around, while simultaneously being crushed under the bike. Fortunately, no one broke a spine or ankle. Taylor and I then called our families, both whom live over an hour away, to help us build the bikes. Thank goodness we did. Without the help of engineers and contractors in our family we wouldn’t have had the tools or knowledge to even assemble the bikes. Multiple bikes had stripped screws, so I don’t even know how those got put together. Then there was a bike that didn’t have a working handle bar and then another that didn’t have screws for the pedals. There’s still a bike with a stripped screw on the pedals that occasionally flies off. NBD. Now the computers, thankfully my brother is an IT genius and set those up. However, three of them don’t work. We’re going to need those replaced. Additionally, we talked about custom red power bikes and we received blue shift bikes. At the very least, I was under the impression that our bikes would be red, but just wouldn’t have our logo, due to the time crunch. Somehow, we managed to open by 11AM Saturday morning and had packed classes. I am requesting some percentage of funds be returned to us, as well as three new computers, and the payment remitted to R&L. Well Wishes, Jess|
3 – Take care of those around you; be selfless. When times are tight, you need to be prepared to put your self last. You’re the backbone of your company, but without others helping you, supporting you, advocating for you, you have nothing.
If I had to add a fourth, it would be to hire those smarter than you. Spend the money on people like lawyers, accounts, marketing teams. It will save you in the long run.