I have a lot of admiration for people starting their own business. It is not an easy road to travel but can be oh so rewarding I am sure. Here is an interview with a bike shop from Slovenia. Extremely smart guys doing what they love, but is the reality always what you expect… Have a read!
What business are you in? Where are you located?
We own a bike shop, not just a regular one. We do custom built bikes, conversions, upgrades, stylish uplifts and usual services. Basically we use our knowledge to build the bikes that will fill every need of our customers. We’re located in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.
Who works for the company? What are their tasks inside the company?
Hard to answer this. Two guys on pay-check but many more working. The Pici Bici is a bike shop doing the technical stuff for people. We promote cycling through different events and projects. In the shop I (Andrej) take care for sales, accounting and all of the necessary bureaucracy, Klemen is the mechanic that builds the bikes and advises people what should they do in terms of getting their bike to be the best bike they’ll ever have. We founded a cycling club last year, with 20 members, the club’s job is to do all the organisation of events and promotion of alternative cycling, so I guess all of the members are involved in promoting the company – which is promoting a different lifestyle, so I have to give everyone credit of making PB what it is today, everyone involved is basically doing some kind of work for the company and the company does work for them, supplying them with component’s you can’t get in any other shop in the region.
How did you end up forming the business?
In the beginning we were a group of 4 guys who wanted to build themselves fixed gear bikes, but parts were nowhere to be found. I just finished studying entrepreneurship and wanted to run my own business. Opening a bike shop was a logical thing.
What qualifications are needed for running a business?
Many 🙂 but there’s only a few I’d like to point out. Always know how much you’re spending and how much you’re earning. Never do stuff for free. Keep your customers happy and they’ll return.
Are you striven by the work you do or your pay-check?
If we’d be working for pay-check the company wouldn’t exist longer than few months.
Does the work match your expectations?
Not really. I wanted to do creative work, build extraordinary bikes, connect as many people as possible who produce bike oriented stuff and offer a platform to sell their stuff in our shop. Reality is different though. I’m overwhelmed with paper work, writing emails, stress about money and figuring out how to expand. I really don’t have enough time to do what gets me excited. Although I have to say, when I get to sell a bike or find a customer that wants us to build them a bike, all of the boring work pays off. It’s like meeting a new friend.
Describe a basic day at work. Does it vary day by day?
Our shop is open every weekday between 10am till 6pm. So the first thing we do is make some coffee, tidy up a place. I go through emails and write notes of all the things I have to do through the day. Klemen starts working on the bikes in service, I take care of the people that come through the door. It’s basically the same every day. From time to time there are things we have to do I don’t consider day to day routine, like taking bike frames to sand-blaster or to paint shop. Or just for example, last year we had a customer racing The Transcontinental Race from Flanders to Istanbul. He passed by Ljubljana and stopped in our place, we had to do Formula 1 like service, so he could continue as fast as possible, that meant Klemen had to disassemble the bike and tell me what parts does he need. I rushed to get the stuff, in the mean time another friend made us the tools for installation of new bearings. The guy took a quick nap and he was ready to hit the road in about two hours.
What is the most exciting thing about the work and why?
Meeting new people who ride same style of bikes we do. I never thought there is so many people thinking alike.
What do you get asked about your business by friends and family?
You look tired, do you sleep enough? Do you have enough money to get by? It doesn’t matter what I answer they always say »Get some rest and eat healthy!«
What is the best part of your business?
Not having a boss.
Do you have bad days or moments? Why?
Sure. I considered closing the company countless times. There are days you feel you’d be better off working behind conveyor belt for a dushbag boss in a factory producing garbage, but as days pass by, you realize no matter what, you do what you love, and live the life you choose.
Do you have any advice for people considering starting a business?
It’s going to take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get you where you wish to be. Be patient.
Thank you guys! Best of luck with your business!
To visit Pici Bici’s webshop, click here.
To visit Pici Bici’s blog, click here.