Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hey 2010!... I hope you CHOKE!!!

(just kidding... No. But really.... I hope you do.)

Q:What good's a fricking blog if you don't use it?
A: I... uh.... that is... well.... ummm.... You're Fat!

2010 was an intense year. Across the board.
On the personal side, things transpired that still make me reel. A year of intense change and transition. I've never laughed or cried more.
On the business side, it was a strange combination of massive successes and massive struggles.
Alot happened... The addition of Cannondale and Santa Cruz to our lines.... Record sales one week..... Record lows the next.... The moving on of some employees..... the influx of new ones..... Revelations about peoples true loyalties and worth (not much, it turns out).
It's hard to look back and determine what I really think. Even though it was a better year in alot of ways.... overall, my impression is a negative one, and my inclination is to give the passing year a very big middle finger.
Maybe even spit at it or hurl a little fecal matter its way.
But its gone, right? And whatever successes or failures, alliances and backstabbings, trysts and fistfights occurred and set the tone....They're done. And we move on, hopefully building on what the right things and changing the wrong.
What's the definition of insanity? Yeah Yeah... doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
And without a doubt, there was alot of that. It's funny, because the cliche goes both ways... Life can make you settle into unhealthy.... or maybe better put, unproductive.... patterns. But by the same token, it has a way of shaking up everything you start settling into.
And it did both last year.
But that's gone and my challenge to myself for the year is to move on. Just moving forward. Without forgetting anything that's happened.... but without focusing on it.... without getting stuck in loops. Breaking off and finding a way to forgive myself and others for any failures, professional and personal.
I recently asked the question of a number of my colleagues in the world of bike retail, "What's the viable model these days. With online sellers and chain stores driving stakes into the hearts of the IBD's (Independent Bike Dealers), what does it take for the independents to make it? (Without selling our souls and losing our identities).
Do we need the big brands that bring instant sales? Do we need polished floors and high ceilings? Do we need financial backing? But mostly.... what are we selling? If people can (and they will.... even your most "loyal" customer) get what you sell online or at a faceless, soulless retail outlet for less.... then what do we as shops do to combat that. Or simply survive.
And the answer, across the board, was that we don't sell brands. We sell ourselves. Brands rise and fall. Wax and wane. Its the year of the Pig. Next year its the Dragon. And standing behind companies that don't always stand behind you is a losing proposition. I've learned that the hard way.
So we sell ourselves. Because in the end, that's what we truly have to offer. Not "The Best Deals EVER!!!"
Not "The Greatest Product EVER MADE!!!! EVER!" Not "THE answer to ALL of your nutrition needs."
Just us.
So... the question is and always has been to me: What do we offer you?
I have a pretty good handle on what we do have and what we don't. Where we've kicked ass and where we've fallen short.
And with the passing of one year and the onset of the next, I get to renew vows to build on those successes and do everything we can to make sure we don't fall short.
In one effort to shake things up for the new year, I borrowed from a friend, the nuttiness known as P90X.
It's... interesting. I've never been as sore in my life.
But apparently to make it work, as I'm admonished by the instructor.... I have to "BRING IT!" Or something along those lines.
And in case you were wondering....It's brought.



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