Thursday, 17 November 2016

Interview with two students from University Sergio Arboleda from Bogota Colombia

Two Colombian students who are studying business, finance and foreign trade have contacted me for an interview, and I thought I would share with my readers and anyone looking at being a successful businessman.


  • Interview a person who has a great business and ask how did you do to start and things like that!

"Hello to students of the university of Sergio Arboleda in Bogota Colombia. This is  an interview with two of the students Catalina Andrade and Daniela Serrano from Colombia and with me Martin Wilkins from England. The name of my company is Cycle Tech UK. I started the business 9 years ago as a mobile bicycle repair service. The business operates at customer’s home or work place from a mobile workshop And has now grown in to a network of over 50 mechanics know as members"

At what age, did you conceive the idea of being an entrepreneur? 
I think the idea was planted in my mind at an early age. I started by fixing friends bikes before I left school, then my dad gave a me the use of his garage and bought me my first tools. I left school at 14, having already been working part time in a bike shop on Saturdays and holidays and worked on a farm every Sunday. I eventually gave the Sunday job up and worked full time at the bike shop. After 3 years, I decided it would be better to study at college and completed a 3-year apprenticeship as a car mechanic. I stayed at this job for 10 years. Whilst working I also fixed cars after work. In that time, I learnt a lot of useful business skills, how a business operates, organizing jobs, booking in jobs, ordering parts and built up a large tool kit. While working, I come up with the idea of being my own boss and thought long and hard about being a mobile car mechanic and soon started organizing and planning to start a business, researching the legal side, making a list of things I needed to do and buy. 

What characteristics of your personality and character have facilitated you to become an entrepreneur?
Being very organized and commited, I make lists of things I need to do each day. I knew what I wanted to achieve and through taking small steps, being creative and good at managing my time and money. 

How long did it take you to consolidate your company? 
To start the company was quite quick. Once I got the idea and wanted to do this, I first put pen to paper and made a list of what was required to setup a mobile bike business and a list of things needed to run this type of business. I put a free advert on Google, bought a van, applied sign writing to the van and had business cards made. It took 18 months of hard work and finding ways to market myself before the business became solid and I could grow the business. My marketing with Blogger also spread the concept of my business idea to people looking to start their own mobile bike business. Often they were having difficulty establishing a business but through my experience I was able to assist them. I established Cycle Tech UK in 2009, as a network Of Mobile Bicycle Mechanics. Within 7 years the network expanded from running a single mobile bicycle workshop over 65 trucks on the road under the Cycle Tech UK branding. The network operates like a franchise but without the associated costs. There is a charge to join our network and an annual fee. This fee covers regular updating of technical information, business info, trade contacts, business name and logo. The idea is to enable businesses to start off with the very best inside information whilst promoting our network. Customers now buy bikes online and we are well suited to build the bike, service and carry out any warranty issues, all in the comfort of your home where we can also give basic cycling advice, to help more people enjoy cycling. 

What difficulties did you have to overcome to consolidate your company?
Back in 2007/2008 the world was in economic crisis – people were worried and did not want to spend money, unless necessary. Contacts in the trade were hard to find and suppliers were not interested in supplying unless you had a shop. Mobile service to the customer was a new concept! It took some time to establish optimum stock levels for many of the parts and spares that the customers would require. Very soon I realised I had bought a a van that was not large enough to hold my stock and tools and had to move up to a larger van. 

In your family, there is a tradition of entrepreneurs? 
Not really. I have cousins who have run their own businesses, but don’t think there is a tradition in the family, I was different and a go getter. 

How did you decide which products were to be marketed in your company? 
Firstly, I had to decide what were the likely customer’s requirements. Next I had to market the products of my mobile service offering together with. I had to publicise the benefits of the mobile service such as convenience to the customer avoiding the need and hassle of taking bikes back and forward to the bike shop often then waiting some time before having to return to collect in a weeks’ time. 

Did you do studies that allowed you to apply them to your company? 
Yes – I spent time researching what bike shops where offering, pricing and why some people did not want to use a bike shop, so I could find ways to market my business for little cost and often for free. 

Have you run your company since it was founded? yes for the last 9 years is been hard work, even enjoyable, but constantly learning and that I have grown our network of mechanics each year while being a mechanic. 

How do you define strategies that respond to the demands of the environment? 
Through listening and talking to customers, encouraging more people to take up cycling, running bike clinics and providing service at cycle events. 

How did you manage to position your company in the market? 
Very quickly I gained a reputation for offering an excellent value service, giving sensible free advice, helping others and the very best customer care. By word of mouth my reputation soon grew, since cyclists soon tell their friends. The ever increasing network of skilled mechanics helped grow our branding quickly becoming known to cyclists and suppliers. 

What distinguishes your company from the others? 
The unique service we offer, fitting in with the customers’ demands, needs and busy lifestyle. 

What characteristics should an entrepreneur have? 
Motivation, vision, persistence flexibility and willingness to take calculated risks and fulfill promises to customers. 

How do you think an entrepreneur should be prepared? 
Willing to learn from failure/mistakes (How they deal with each situation) make sacrifices to achieve your goal, know what you want, take small steps, know how to manage your time and money. 

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who want to consolidate a company in the future? 
Do extensive research. Know what you want to achieve from owning your own business and the benefits it can offer? (Money, time, health, family) Make major decisions then test them before finally applying them. Make it happen step by step. By immersing yourself with positive people, networking, volunteer to gain knowledge and skills, through yourself in at the deep end and swim, do what you enjoy, be different, knock on doors and sell yourself to gain business. I wish everyone great success and in the future, you are welcome to contact me and network, please feel free to email me

Thank you so much
We had the highest note
Catalina Andrade

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