Q: Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Ans: CycleSimplex is a manufacturer and retailer of trike and bike racks for cars, trucks, SUV’s, RV’s and motor coaches. We are located in Topsham and Brunswick, Maine
Q: Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Ans: I am a graduate of a well known engineering college with a Bachelor’s of Science degree and also a Masters of Business Administration. Before starting CycleSimplex, I held positions of Manufacturing Consultant and Director of International Sales and Marketing in Fortune 100 companies
Q: What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: It has been said that “necessity is the mother of invention.” My wife and I each had a bike that required transporting to trails we liked to ride on. I could not find a rack that I liked, so I made my own. One day we were at L.L.Bean’s in Freeport, Maine and someone asked me where he could get a rack like mine. Told him that I had the only one. He asked me to make him one and it is from here that the line of CycleSimplex Bicycle and Tricycle Carriers received its foundation.
Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Be original, look for your niche and stay with your plan
Q: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: You need personality, knowledge of your product and marketing skills to build a business
Q: How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: In the early days I worked many long days building a business while also holding down a job. Now, I have the business streamlined to where I oversee the operations in a semi-retired status.
Q: To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: I found a niche in the marketplace and brought innovative products to that niche.
Q: How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: I sell only via the Internet and my marketing revolves around search engine optimization and superb customer service.
Q: Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: WE are a privately held corporation and are self-funded.
Q: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Satisfied customers
Q: Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: Over the past 5 years, we have been growing at a rate of 15% to 20%. I expect that growth to continue.
Q: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Q: How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: Good employees are the foundation of any successful business. It is these great people who have allowed me to reach a semi-retired status.
Q: How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: You have to go with your “gut Feeling”. As soon as you think it is not going to work, cut your losses and stop. There is no tie-frame on that.
Q: What motivates you?
Ans: Satisfied customers and money
Q: How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: I listen to what my potential customers are asking for and turn those requests into products.
Q: How do you define success?
Ans: Increased sales
Q: How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: A high level of customer satisfaction and word of mouth marketing.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: I make my own decisions…good or bad
Q: In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Q: If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans: I would have started CycleSimplex earlier
Q: What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Ans: My greatest fear is that a supplier I am dependent upon goes out of business or drastically raises his prices. I manage this by having at least two suppliers for critical parts.
Q: How did you decide on the location for your business?
Ans: I located it where I wanted to live, even though logistically that made no sense
Q: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Ans: Henry Ford because he was the father of making repeatable products
Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Ans: Not having enough capital early on.