$300K/Year Helping Cyclists Personalize their Bikes with Custom Cycling Components – Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 50:14)
Sponsors & Partners
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components shares his story of building and growing a new concept business involving personalizing small cycling components with custom messages that give the cyclist community greater meaning, connection, and affinity with their bicycle and the sport. Great interview to learn how to create a new niche from scratch.
Brian De Groodt, founder of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components, discusses his background story and how he got into the bicycling business. De Groodt had a successful career in enterprise software sales generating around $250 million in lifetime sales but desired something that he could put his hands on, which led him to acquire a bicycle frame manufacturer. Dispatch offers customized bicycle accessories that allow cyclists to personalize their bikes, such as headset caps, bar end plugs, and other bike accessories. The company heavily relies on word of mouth and organic content generation to promote their brand. Around 25% of their businesses are repeat customers, and the goal is to introduce new designs and expand their product line to offer related cycling accessories. De Groodt emphasizes the importance of taking risks, focus, and making sales, even if mistakes are made in the process.
- 00:00:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt, the founder of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components, shares his background story and what motivated him to get into the bicycling business with Drop Talks host, ERS. De Groodt had a successful 25-year career in enterprise software sales generating around $250 million in lifetime sales, but he desired something that he could put his hands on, which led him to acquire a bicycle frame manufacturer. Through the development of the brand and growing the marketing presence of the company, De Groodt started experimenting in bicycle accessories, which led him to create Dispatch. He explains that Dispatch allowed him to tap into the 17-19 million bicycles sold in the US every year, rather than trying to compete with major manufacturers. Unlike bicycle manufacturers, Dispatch sells customized bicycle accessories, not bicycles, so it requires less capital investment.
- 00:05:00 In this section of the interview, the speaker discusses the challenges of competing with large bicycle manufacturers and the importance of finding a niche. He then describes his business, which offers customized headset caps, bar end plugs, and other bike accessories that allow cyclists to personalize their bikes. The speaker believes that the close relationship between cyclist and machine makes their products appealing to customers who want to express themselves. Although their products are not compatible with all types of bikes, they can fit the majority of modern bicycles. The speaker notes that while there are similar products on the market, their company offers a unique, durable, and customizable option.
- 00:10:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt talks about the inspiration behind his customizable bicycle headset caps and the process of bringing them to market. He shares that the idea came from the wasted space on bicycle frames and the desire to create something unique and meaningful for individual riders. De Groodt explains that the company is self-funded and that they tested the concept before investing in the machines required to create the caps. He also shares that while most of the stock is sold directly to customers, they have a significant wholesale business with bike shops and bicycle frame manufacturers, as well as event promoters using them as finisher awards.
- 00:15:00 In this section, Brian discusses the target audience for his cycling product and how the company has evolved over time. He notes that the majority of their audience is male and expresses a desire to broaden the sport of cycling to more females. The company heavily relies on word of mouth and organic content generation to promote their brand, as they have a relatively low average order value and cannot overspend on social media ads. Direct sales to cycling shops are also an efficient way of conducting business. Additionally, the paid social disruption through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube works for them. They are cautious in investing too much in acquisition to avoid over-investing in a discretionary market. Brian shares that the good news is that customers can make a purchase with an extra $25-$50, and still feel invested in their bicycle.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt discusses how around 25% of their businesses are repeat customers. This is significant because they are not selling a consumable, and the product should last the rest of the buyer’s life. The plan for the business is to introduce new designs to the existing product that sells well, and expand their product line to offer related cycling accessories. They are also considering introducing other products in the future, but nothing is set in stone. Brian does not have any regrets about choosing the cycling industry and enjoys talking to prospective customers.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt talks about the importance of being able to tell your story as an entrepreneur and not getting tired of it. He also discusses the difference between enterprise software sales processes and direct-to-consumer product sales, stating that the former has more of an economic outcome. De Groodt emphasizes the importance of being able to motivate people to take action and pick up the phone or knock on doors, despite the possibility of rejection. He notes that the ability to make contact with potential customers these days is relatively easy due to technology, but the challenge comes in making the most out of a short window to listen to their story and provide consultation. According to De Groodt, separating success and failure in sales depend on disciplined behaviors such as being honest and not trying to force a square peg into a round hole. He further speaks of his transition from sales to full-time business ownership, which he says was driven by the realization that there is a finite nature to abilities and lifespan, and time is precious.
- 00:30:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt explains the importance of taking risks and having a forcing mechanism to pursue new adventures in life, whether it is leaving a job, having a child, or embarking on a new business venture. He also discusses his decision to only focus on domestic markets in his business due to logistics and communication challenges in international shipping. As for his team, he is currently the only person in the business but works with consultants, virtual assistants, and artists on a contract basis. Additionally, he utilizes email marketing to offer a free mystery gift for email captures.
- 00:35:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt discusses the topic of attribution for email and SMS, noting that it can be difficult to determine whether an SMS message was due to attribution or simply because the customer provided their phone number. He also discusses the effectiveness of both channels for communication and their cost-effectiveness. De Groodt emphasizes the importance of focus for entrepreneurs, adding that distractions and opportunities can be real distractions. He advises aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on what they find attractive and effective and stay in their lane. He also stresses the importance of taking action and making sales, even if mistakes are made in the process.
- 00:40:00 In this section, Brian discusses how he was able to generate $30,000 in sales in just two days by turning his idea into a striped checkout page and a 30-second video on that page, emphasizing that it’s not necessary to have a perfect website, product, or process, but rather to receive validation from the marketplace. He emphasizes the importance of having a revenue stream for any business and not overcomplicating things with unnecessary details. Brian also recommends the book “Dishwasher Pete,” which chronicles the journey of a college-educated individual who started from the basic level of washing dishes at restaurants and offers valuable lessons to young people. Finally, Brian expresses his excitement about the focus on Last Mile transportation and emphasizes the opportunities that e-commerce presents for anyone who wants to try.
- 00:45:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt discusses how he uses productivity tools such as Notion and the Peloton bike, however, he finds that taking a ride and getting away from tech is the best hack for solving problems. He also shares his admiration for Gooder sunglasses and their CEO, Stephen Lease, who kept things light-hearted and focused on providing people an opportunity to be better versions of themselves. When asked what business advice he would give to a doctor, De Groodt emphasizes the importance of starting early, not overcomplicating things, and getting out there to sell something to somebody in order to make things happen.
- 00:50:00 In this section, Brian De Groodt thanks the host for inviting him to Trip Talks and wishes the audience all the best. He also offers to help the listeners with any questions they may have about growing their business.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
Book: Dishwasher Pete: Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States
What You’ll Learn
Interview with Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components
|[00:00:08] Welcome to Trep Talks|
|[00:00:23] Guest introduction: Brian De Groodt and Dispatch Custom Cycling Components|
|[00:00:43] Motivation behind starting Dispatch Custom Cycling Components|
|[00:01:00] Brian’s background in enterprise software sales|
|[00:01:27] Desire for a tangible product and a lasting impact|
|[00:02:17] Acquiring a bicycle frame manufacturer as a side hustle|
|[00:02:40] Expanding into bicycle accessories|
|[00:03:00] Tapping into the large bicycle market|
|[00:03:33] Challenges of entering the bicycle manufacturing industry|
|[00:04:00] The appeal of serving the bicycle market rather than competing with manufacturers|
|[00:04:51] American brands in the bicycle industry|
|[00:05:11] Unique products and customization at Dispatch|
|[00:06:01] Personalization and expression through bicycles|
|[00:06:47] Understanding the value of customization for customers|
|[00:07:36] The intimate relationship between cyclists and their bicycles|
|[00:08:00] Expressing individuality through Dispatch products|
|[00:08:43] Creating one-of-a-kind customized bicycle components|
|[00:09:00] Compatibility of Dispatch products with most modern bicycles|
|[00:09:37] Exceptions to compatibility: triathlon bikes and beach cruisers|
|[00:09:57] Bringing customization to existing components|
|[00:10:10] Concept and uniqueness of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components|
|[00:10:33] Unique Customizations for Bicycles|
|[00:11:00] Making Bicycles Meaningful to Individuals|
|[00:11:26] Printing and Engraving Process|
|[00:12:00] Self-Funding the Business|
|[00:12:55] Testing and Validating the Product|
|[00:13:35] Selling Direct-to-Consumer and Wholesale|
|[00:14:00] Collaboration with Bicycle Frame Manufacturers|
|[00:14:38] Partnerships with Event Promoters|
|[00:15:00] Target Audience and Word-of-Mouth Marketing|
|[00:16:00] Educating the Market about Customization|
|[00:17:00] Building a Strong Community of Customers|
|[00:18:00] Effective Marketing Strategies|
|[00:19:00] Balancing Acquisition and Cost Efficiency|
|[00:20:00] Importance of Repeat Customers|
|[00:20:43] Future Vision for the Business|
|[00:21:30] Dispatch Custom Cycling Components’ current business opportunities|
|[00:22:00] Introducing new designs and accessories|
|[00:23:00] Expanding product line and offerings|
|[00:24:00] Regrets and considerations in choosing the product type|
|[00:24:33] Sales skills and growing the business|
|[00:25:00] Importance of storytelling and customer engagement|
|[00:26:00] Sales as a numbers game and handling rejection|
|[00:27:00] Making contact and the art of listening in sales|
|[00:28:00] Transitioning from sales to full-time entrepreneurship|
|[00:29:00] Recognizing the importance of time and taking chances|
|[00:30:00] Leaving a previous job and transitioning into entrepreneurship|
|[00:31:00] Domestic fulfillment and maintaining customer trust|
|[00:32:00] Importance of communication and customer support|
|[00:32:02] Marketing challenges in different countries|
|[00:32:21] Issues with fulfilling orders to international locations|
|[00:33:00] Lack of communication between carriers and postal services|
|[00:33:24] Frustration over not meeting customer expectations|
|[00:33:41] Decision to discontinue international shipping|
|[00:34:00] Team structure and consultants|
|[00:34:22] Email and SMS marketing strategies|
|[00:35:00] The effectiveness of email and SMS marketing|
|[00:36:00] Lessons from getting featured on Shark Tank|
|[00:37:00] Importance of focus and staying in your lane|
|[00:38:00] Mistakes, lessons, and failures in entrepreneurship|
|[00:39:00] Learning from mistakes and failures|
|[00:40:00] Importance of selling and validating ideas|
|[00:41:00] Rapid fire segment introduction|
|[00:41:11] The book recommendation for entrepreneurs|
|[00:42:00] Mitigating risk as an entrepreneur|
|[00:42:28] Entrepreneurs and risk-taking|
|[00:42:59] Learning through entrepreneurial endeavors|
|[00:43:38] Exciting innovative products in e-commerce and tech|
|[00:44:47] The transformative power of Shopify|
|[00:45:19] Productivity tools and software|
|[00:46:00] The benefits of going for a ride|
|[00:46:56] Inspirational business person: Steven Lease of Gooder|
|[00:48:12] Best business advice: Get started early|
|[00:49:00] Business simplicity and complexity|
|[00:50:00] Conclusion and gratitude|
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Dishwasher Pete: Dishwasher: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty State)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Shopify)
- A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: Notion)
- Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response: Notion)
- A peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response: Stephen Lease CEO of Goodr)
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Get started as young as you possibly can.)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: hey, they’re entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant , and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start and grow their businesses.
And today, I’m really excited to welcome Brian De Groodt to the show. Brian is the founder of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components, and this business allows cyclists to make their bicycles one of a kind with customizable head caps, bar plugs, and other tailored accessories
journey strategies used the start grow business. So Brian, thank you so much for joining me today at Trep Talks Really
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: appreciate it. Thanks Sushant. And I appreciate the introduction. You, you’ve, you’ve nailed our products, uh, pretty nicely.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. So I know you, you were just mentioning, um, you were [00:01:00] just saying that, you know, you are coming from a sales background, enterprise sales.
So can you share a little bit about your, uh, backstory and what motivated you to get into this, uh, buying business?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Yeah, sure. So I, uh, spent about 25 years of my career in, um, enterprise software sales. Um, had a very successful career there. Was responsible for, was responsible for about 250 million in, uh, lifetime sales generation.
And, um, you know, it was, I I, I’ve known Knox on the, the software world whatsoever. Um, it has given me my life and my career and, uh, you know, I’m very fortunate for, uh, for the successes that I had there. However, um, software exists in the ether and, um, I just had this really strong desire to have, um, something that I had done that I could put my hands on or that, um, you know, if you really wanna get deep into it, that would outlive me.
And, um, maybe be found by some, uh, archeological, uh, [00:02:00] exploration some, sometime hundreds of years in the future. But, um, software, you know, definitely doesn’t lend itself to that. And I, I just wanted to, to be able to, to be in that physical world. Um, and so I, I, uh, kind of as a, a side, uh, hustle, I guess is the, the term.
I ended up acquiring a, a bicycle frame manufacturer. And, um, through that process of developing the brand and, and trying to grow the, um, the marketing presence of, of the bicycle frame company, um, started experimenting and kind of dabbling in a couple other areas beyond things like hats and t-shirts and stuff like that, and started working to bicycle accessories.
And what was great about it for me was that, um, you know, with the bicycle frame manufacturer, we would sell one, we would build one, we may build 10 at a time and then go sell 10 at a time. Um, but we weren’t really ever going to get to the size of the market that, that the bicycle market truly represents, which in the US is about 17 [00:03:00] to 19 million new bicycles sold every year.
On a good year, maybe we were doing a hundred, right? So we were not even, you know, a, a a a rounding error in, in any manufacturer’s, uh, um, typical annual production. Hmm. But what the headset caps and what ultimately became dispatch allowed me to do was to be able to say, well, there’s 17 million new bicycles plus whatever’s already been sold that are sitting, that are available for us as customers.
And that, that was really the inspiration to, to, to start dispatch and to really run full-time with.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And the reason you didn’t go, uh, on the route to actually creating bicycles like you were creating custom frames, right? And in order to really have the volume, you would actually have to start creating.
You know, your own brand of cycles and, you know, have some sort of a differentiation there. But that would, I, I would assume, require a lot more capital investment. Was that part of the
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I, I think a lot [00:04:00] more capital and, and honestly, the, the forces that are in play in the, in the bicycle, um, world are pretty significant.
They’re hard to co to, to, to defeat, um, to even compete with, uh, reasonably. You see in, in, certainly in the us you know, again, 17 to 19 million bicycles being sold every year. And then there are, you know, maybe five major manufacturers that are doing most of the production of that, that inventory. And, uh, places like Taiwan and China.
Um, and then you have a huge cliff that gets down to, you know, smaller boutique builders here in the US that are building maybe out of a garage or, you know, a, a low rent, um, warehouse type district. And those organizations can exist. They can certainly, um, you know, maintain themselves financially if they’re careful.
Uh, but they’re, they’re unlikely to be able to make a significant dent in the actual economics of the market. Most of those [00:05:00] builders are probably building because they really enjoy building, it’s what they’re really good at as a craft, and they have essentially created a job for themselves. But they’re not going to go into, you know, production.
10,000 frames a year or anything else of that nature, which by the way isn’t even, you know, really significant in, in the bicycle world. Right. So it, it, it, it’s, it’s a very hard place to exist. Um, it’s better to, you know, try to find a way to serve those bicycles that are being sold than it is to try to displace any of the, the manufacturers.
And you see this, the solid time with, um, you know, a lot of American brands, things like g uh, companies like GT Schwinn. Cannondale track, you know, they’re all being bought and sold by private equity groups constantly, and they’re being rolled up into another organization and maybe it performs, maybe the label comes back.
Maybe there’s a retro play on it, but it, it’s very uncommon for somebody to take that brand and say, we’re just gonna be a standalone brand and, and, and do extremely well with it, is probably the only outlier in that, that whole world, [00:06:00] quite honestly.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And when I look at your products, Do you, I mean, it’s, it’s very unique.
Like, you know, I would never have thought this, like, I mean, if you’re selling, you know, headset capital and things like that, but Albert, do you consider your business? Like, what are you really, are you really selling the ability for a cyclist to be able to personalize a little bit? Uh, they’re bicycle, but having these like, you know, little colored, uh, with having like a, some message, um, Is it like, you know, is it really, if you could give a bicyclist, like a customized sticker that they can put on their bike and really make it their own, um, can, I mean, how do you describe your products and what, what are your customers really
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: buying?
Yeah. I, I, it’s, it’s a great question because we don’t exist in a place where we can come to somebody and say, oh, you have this problem. It’s really harmful to have that problem. Here’s the solution to it. Yeah. Ours is [00:07:00] more of. Ego play quite honestly. So do, do you, um, do you want one bike that looks like hundreds of thousands of others that are out there?
Um, or do you wanna express yourself through your, through your bicycle? And in my opinion, and, and certainly in the, in the opinion of a number of my customers, um, when you. When you power a machine by your own physical effort, there, there is an intimate relationship there that is different than, say, get in a car or, um, riding on a bus or a train or a plane or something that, you know, is taking you somewhere under its own power.
A bicycle doesn’t do anything without the human input. Right? Hmm. And, and I think that, that, um, that relationship is something that’s, that’s very special and it, you know, it’s a machine and a and, and a person and being able to show more of yourself in that machine. You know, you, you mentioned our headset caps that are, uh, basically customized with essentially anything you wanna put on the headset cap.
And to be able to look in your, in your, [00:08:00] your cockpit of your bicycle and see that message regularly. Um, or to show it to your friends and your friends think it’s funny or it’s motivational or, you know, a lot of, unfortunately, a lot of our customers have, um, memorials for people that have passed or people that are meaningful to them that they’re no longer with.
And, you know, these are all things. Um, when you’re deep into the cycling world, you know that that is part of the experience that you’re having on that bicycle. And to, to be able to bring that into the, the headset cap or the bar unplugs or, you know, the spacers things of that nature that we do, um, it’s far more durable than, you know, stickers or something of that nature.
And it’s, it’s truly unique. Uh, it, you know, you’re going from one of 17 million bicycles to one of one, literally. And, and that’s, that’s really what we’re, we’re proposing here.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Are there any issues with fit? Like, are these going to fit on every bike or are these geared toward like this specific kinda, uh, cycle?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Yeah. Um, the, the one thing the bicycle industry loves is another standard. So, okay. There’s, um, [00:09:00] that’s a joke, but, uh, okay. By and large, uh, you know about 98% of the, the modern bicycles that are sold in, uh, in the world now. Can, can fit our, our headset caps, specifically barn plugs, much the same. They’re, they’re, they’re pretty universal in nature.
Um, there are a couple of different types of bi bicycles like, uh, tri time trail bicycles or, um, triathlon bicycles, uh, beach cruisers that don’t tend to use the, either the form, so the shape of, of our product or that product at all. They use a, a very different arrangement for their, for the cockpit. Um, specifically, uh, beach Cruisers, which use more of a.
Type, uh, type of option. But, uh, in general it’s, it’s pretty universal. I, if there’s, you know, again, 17 million bicycles in the US that were sold this year, probably, you know, 16,000,500 of ’em are probably, uh, great customers for us.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So was this concept already out there and you are kind of bringing more of a customization, uh, angle to it?
Or, or was this completely, [00:10:00] you know, kind of an aha moment? Like how did you actually come up with. Uh, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s such a unique idea to be able to customize a certain specific component of the
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: bicycle. Yeah. So e every, pretty much every bicycle that’s being sold already has a headset cap on there.
It’s just basically wasted space, right? There’s nothing on there. If you’re riding the bicycle, you probably have a decent view because it’s literally right in front of you the entire time. And so, You know, much the same as the car or anything else that nature. You, you have a, a dashboard and you wanna, you know, see something that’s, um, at least interesting to you.
Right? We have a lot of garments and things of that nature that we put on bicycles. Uh, but there wasn’t anything that was really unique to the individual rider. Um, and the, the first generation of those caps we actually made, uh, as essentially the, the, the crown that would go on top of the bicycle frame that we, uh, we were selling.
So that was, you know, our brand being stamped onto that bicycle. If a customer chose to change it for something else, that’s fine, but. You know, much the same as I’m [00:11:00] sure if you bought a, a track bicycle or something like that, you’re gonna see a track logo on there. Well, you know that, that’s fine. That’s interesting, I guess.
But it’s not really meaningful to the individual. Right. So it’s a, you know, 30 seconds to, to take it off, replace it with a, you know, something much, uh, much more fun like this, this little hits a cap right here that we just, uh, did today. And, um, you have something that’s more meaningful to you as a, as a, as an owner that bicycle.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And, uh, I’m assuming, like creating the, the printing, um, is that like, um, you’re using some sort of a printing machine to do that and it’s, uh, what, what is it called? Printing engraving. What, what, what, actually
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: we do both. Yeah. So we have, uh, for all of our color caps, the ca, the caps that have, um, anything other than a white, uh, engraving on them, we, we use a UB printer for that.
Um, for everything else, it’s laser engraved. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and when you started. You know, in terms of capital investment, I, I know you [00:12:00] purchased a business, uh, previously, but, uh, those kind of machines, uh, what kind of investment that you had to make and did you use your own personal money to do that? Or did you like, uh, get some loans or something
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: like that?
Yeah, no loans. Um, all self-funded and quite honestly, I’m, I’m a big believer in trying to figure out a way to test before you invest. Right? And so basically taking the concept and saying, well, who might be able to do this on our behalf and prove out the theory? Hmm. Um, very common in the software world, obviously, to, to do something like that.
Right. To, to build a, a. You know, basically a blueprint of something that might be functional at some point in time in the future. See if people like it, maybe have very limited functionality and then you develop it into, you know, a much larger product ultimately. But, uh, same for us. Uh, we invested basically no dollars other than, um, you know, a, a little bit to acquire the initial, um, stock for the, the headset caps.
And then we took it to a local engraver and said, here’s the artwork that we would like to [00:13:00] have on this, um, on this headset cap. And let’s just test it out. And I think we did maybe 10 or 15 units of something very, very light. Uh, those sold almost immediately. Um, most of that was brand related. I think it was just brand association.
People really liked it, but it validated that if we had the right content on the headset cap, we could then open up another market for us, for the, for the business.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And your business right now is completely direct to consumer. You’re not, uh, selling it through, um, other like, Mainstream bicycle retailers or you know, to any brands
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: or anything like that.
We do sell, um, the vast majority of our, our, our stock to, uh, direct the customer. We also have a, a pretty significant, uh, business in wholesale that is for shops that want to say, for instance, put their brand or their logo, their shop name, uh, shop information on their, um, their. Demo fleets or on the bicycles that they sell.
Um, and then we have [00:14:00] a, a number of manufacturers, bicycle, uh, frame manufacturers that actually put our headset caps on their, uh, demo fleets so that if they’re, you know, checked out, they have a serial number essentially on the top of it, little branding on it. And if it ever goes missing, it’s a little easier to prove that it’s theirs.
Right. Um, and then in addition to that, one of our, our most significant lines of businesses with event promoters that, uh, put on things like bicycle races and uh, and, and other similar events. Um, you know, I think we’re all kind of, um, Familiar with the idea of getting a lanyard and having the little metal that you take home after the race.
You’ve worn it after the race, and where does it go? Now, some people put ’em up on their garage wall or their office wall. A lot of ’em end up in, um, you know, the, the, the, the juncture of the house, right? They’re just, you know, don’t wanna throw it out, but I don’t know what, where to put it with a bicycle headset cap.
It’s very nice to be able to just say, I, I have my finisher award and I can now have that memento on, on my [00:15:00] bicycle. Uh, you know, going, Awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, I know you mentioned that when you created your like test batch of items, it sold out pretty quickly. Um, how, I mean, I’m assuming that this is more of, I mean the, the people who buy this are definitely diehard cycling fans or, you know, they definitely have.
They’re more into cycling as a lifestyle or something. Um, can you share a little bit about your target audience and how, how did you find them in the beginning and how, how has that evolved over time?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Yeah. Uh, the majority of our audience, unfortunately, is male. And, and I don’t mean that to to say there’s anything wrong with being male, but rather it, it would be nice if we could broaden, uh, the reach of the, the sport of cycling to more, um, more females in, in, in, in the sport.
Um, that being said, Cyclists, uh, especially to your point, you know, people that are into cycling tend to kind of look at other people’s equipment and see, you know, what do you have? What are you using? [00:16:00] How do you like it? Where’d you get it? Um, and so there’s a lot of word of mouth that happens for us. But as I mentioned at the beginning, you know, there there is no functional issue with a bicycle that doesn’t have our product right.
And so we have to do a little bit of interruption in order to get people to know that this is something that they can do. Now if their friend didn’t tell ’em, or they didn’t see at a bicycle shop, or somebody didn’t give ’em one as a gift. Then it’s upon us to, to educate them and, and tell them, you know, Hey, here’s something that you can do to make your bicycle yours.
Um, we have a relatively low, uh, um, average order value, so we can’t overspend on the likes of Facebook and Instagram and places like that where you can acquire traffic at, you know, 25, $30 a a transaction. So we have to be very careful with that. And, and we, we run a pretty efficient, uh, paid social campaign to, to get in front of, um, prospective buyers, but we also leverage quite a bit of, uh, organic, um, you know, content generation [00:17:00] and just, you know, ambassadors, word of mouth, those kinds of things that, uh, that help us to, to spread the word.
I, I’ve, I’ve been, we have a, a couple of customers that have tattooed. Our logos on their, on their body. And, um, I’m, I, I have tattoos. Uh, I do not have any dispatch tattoos. And so every time I, I see that I’m, I, I’m, I’m, I guess, surprised for some reason that, you know, the people are that interested, loyal, committed, whatever you wanna say.
It certainly is a commitment, um, you know, to, to go that far with the brand. Um, it, it’s, it’s flattering, uh, but it’s also, you know, recognition that we, we have a community and we have built up a, a, a strong bond with our customers and, and, you know, hopefully with our, our customers to be awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, I mean, it’s seems, definitely seems like a bit of a challenging problem.
You know, it’s kind, you have educate the market before you know, they, they can even know that, you know, there something like this exists [00:18:00] cause you know, it’s like a unique. Um, are you tapping into like online communities or cyclists and those kind of things? Um, like what is, what is, what is the one thing that’s working really well for you?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: The one thing that’s really working really well is actually shops, uh, direct to, to, to shops is, is pretty significant, uh, amount of business for us. It’s, it’s efficient, right? It’s capital efficient. You, you’re, you’re using basically email and phone. Um, you’re presenting an opportunity for them to make money with what you’re selling, right?
So you’re offering that a wholesale price that can either, you know, charge for it or not. Um, you know, so, so that, that’s a, that’s probably the thing that’s working the best. Beyond that, it, it is that, that disruption that, that, that paid social, um, you know, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, uh, YouTube, all of those things are, are, are good opportunities for us.
And then, you know, from a paid search perspective on Google and Bing and, and similar search engine. Where there’s high intent, [00:19:00] somebody’s already aware of that they can do what we do. Uh, we, we, we essentially own that, that transaction. There’s, it’s very, very uncommon for us to get beat there. So those, those are working well.
Um, but again, we have to be, it’s, it’s a fine line. You have to be very careful to make sure that you don’t overinvest in acquisition because it can look great on a top line, but, You know, by the time you factor in everything that it takes to get the product out the door and the landed cost for the customer, you can, you can quickly turn yourself upside down and that’s, you know, it’s just one of.
I guess the good news, the bad news about the business, right? It’s, it’s, you know, as whatever the economic headwinds that we may or may not be facing here in, in, in the us, um, it’s largely a discretionary purchase. And if I have, you know, an extra 25 to $50 in my pocket, I can make that transaction happen and maybe I get reinvigorated and enjoy my bicycle much more than if I, um, was maybe in a, a much better position and said, oh, I’m just gonna go replace my bicycle and spend another [00:20:00] $5,000 to, you know, $15,000 on a new bike.
Um, here’s a way to kind of, you know, get yourself back into it. Get yourself a little motivation. You spent $25 instead of, you know, $5,000 and, uh, you know, that, that, that’s a good thing. Um, about 25% of our business at any given time is repeat as well, which is significant in my mind because we’re not selling a consumable, right?
There’s no, this, this product should last the rest of your time on earth, right? So, um, having that opportunity to, for customers to come back and, and repeat purchase is, you know, I think that says something about our business.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So as, I mean, as an entrepreneur, how do you, like, how do you envision this business, let’s say two years, five years down the road?
Like there’s definitely, as you said, there’s definitely some risk involved. You know, you have to be, you kind of, you have to walk a fine line, um, so that you’re not overspending in terms of, you know, um, interrupt with your cost and, uh, have [00:21:00] always have a consistent source, source of revenue coming in. Um, do you like, is your plan to continue adding new product base, um, to diversify your revenue so that it becomes a little bit more consistent, have some more of like mainstream, uh, accessories and items that are still in the cycling world, but, uh, that offer more consistent revenue streams?
Uh, or, or do you just want to continue with the product that you
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: currently have? Yeah, I, I think it’s more the latter. Uh, we, we have, um, you know, basically a, a piece of paper, right, that we can put anything we want on that paper at any given time. So I think the opportunity to continue to, to grow the business is a couple couple of areas.
Areas, right? One is, um, can we take the existing product that sells extremely well for us and continue. Introduce new designs and keep people interested in the product [00:22:00] that way. Um, you know, I, I, I wouldn’t say that we’re in a, a subscription-based model where, you know, you need 12 of these things, but. You know, people match their shoes and their helmets, uh, to their bicycles, these kinds of things.
So it’s like, okay, well, you know, the headset cap can also be another accessory that I can literally replace fast so I can put my socks and shoes on. Um, so there’s an opportunity for that, right? So maybe in the spring I start training for a bigger event. That’s gonna be later in the summer. I want something motivational to me.
I do that event, um, maybe I want to taper off a little bit and I want to just have a little more fun ride. So maybe I have something that’s funnier on the, on the bicycle for me. Maybe I have a different bike. Maybe I buy another bike and I want a different color there. There’s a lot of opportunity there to sell to existing customers, the existing products that we have today.
Um, however, we also recognize that there is an opportunity for customers that are loyal to the brand to continue to, uh, buy more from us. We’ve done that through a number of different items, things that are, uh, branded merchandise. [00:23:00] Um, we’ve increased our product, uh, line offer inso, not just headset caps.
We include now the bar plugs and, uh, the spacers. And, um, later this year we’ll be introducing some frame protection that goes on bicycles that allows for the, you know, very expensive investment in many of these bicycles to, uh, to be preserved a little better and, uh, take better care of the bike. So those are, you know, again, things that can, can go onto the bicycle.
Be taken right back off and changed out to something new. If, if, if that’s what they’re into. Um, and then as time goes on, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll look for other areas. We, we have some ideas on some things that we wanna do. Um, we’re not completely ruling out going back into the bicycle business. Um, but it would be in a very different play and a very different, uh, type of bicycle than, than we were doing before.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, with someone who has a background in sales, uh, I. I would say that if you can sell one product, you can probably sell another product also, if you’re, you know, passionate enough about it. Um, looking back, like, do you [00:24:00] think if you had chosen a different category or a different product type, uh, would you have gone that route or, uh, like do you ever have any regrets?
Selecting this specific product type or category. Um, then, you know, I mean, I, I’m curious, I’m sure you’re using your sales skills to, to grow your business, but do you ever think that, you know, if I had a different business that was, you know, which was more, uh, you know, less risky or easier to grow, uh, would you, using your skill, um, that you would’ve
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: pursued.
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, look, we we’re, we’re in a very privileged position to have, um, you know, 17 new, 17 million new customers every single year, right? I mean, that’s, not many markets get a, a 17 million unit refresh on, on, on their market every single year, right? So that, that’s great. Um, that being said, from a sales perspective, the, the good news.
You know, I’m always happy to get on the phone and talk to [00:25:00] prospective customers, uh, especially the larger shops and things of that nature. Um, and I, I don’t have any fear about, you know, doing that. Right. That’s, and I think that’s a very, um, important skill to have as an entrepreneur. You have to tell your story often, and you have to not get tired of it.
You just have to keep doing it over and over and over. Yeah. Um, the, the other side of that, you know, the, the downside from, from an enterprise software perspective is, Uh, when I came into an enterprise software sales process, there was usually some sort of problem that had a significant economic, um, outcome, good or bad, right?
Uh, that, that I was there to solve. And, and I think that that, um, You just don’t have that in a direct to consumer product typically, and, and you don’t get as much of an opportunity to, to create that in in, in D T C. You know, so it’s good news, bad news, right? Uh, these, these are, [00:26:00] these are hard habits to, to try to let go of, of, you know, well, where’s the business problem?
How do I apply the solution to the business problem? It’s like, that’s, it just doesn’t exist here, right? Yeah. Uh, but on, on the flip side of it, it’s like, well, you still have the mechanics of understanding what it takes to motivate somebody to, to take action that you’re trying to make them, uh, you know, participate in.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely, I mean, um, With your kind of background in sales, like, do you, do you consider that sales is more, I mean, if, if 80% of sales really just, you know, making that contact, that’s like, you know, picking up the phone or knocking on the door and getting that conversation going and because I mean, to a certain point, sales is kind of a number of game.
Of course, you know, some people. Have better conversion because, you know, they’re, you know, they have, they’re better at, I mean, I, I would assume some people are naturally better salespeople than other. Some, some people can get better with practice, but a big part of sales is [00:27:00] really not to be intimidated by rejection and just be able to pick up that phone again and make the call.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: I mean, these are foundational, right? So I think to your point, It just table stakes to be able to say, I’m going to do the work that it takes to actually do the work, to even be invited to do the work. Um, so, you know, yes, you have to have some level of, of desire to want to make your presentation to other people and, and, and to, to help them with whatever they’re working on.
Um, But on, on the, the flip side of that, you know, making contact with people at this point in time in the world is pretty easy, right? I mean, I’m sure you go to your inbox every single morning and it’s like, ugh. What? You know, there have been plenty of people who have tried to make contact with me, right?
Why do I respond to the ones? That I do, and why do I not even open many of the others and just delete them automatically. Right. Um, so I, I think, you know, that comes down to almost a technical issue. Like, can you make contact with people? Does the [00:28:00] phone work, does the email work? Does the website work? Yes.
Those all work. Okay, great. Then what is it that you’re going to do with that very small window that you. To tell your story, to listen to their story, to try to help, you know, bring those two together. And I think that’s what separates good salespeople from bad is that, you know, just because. I’ve made contact or I’ve been willing to make contact with you, does not mean that I now have, you know, 80% of the problem solved.
Basically have 20% of it, if you’re lucky, solved at that point. Um, so, you know, now it’s listening, it’s being consultative. It’s, you know, not trying to force, uh, you know, a a, what is it? A, a square peg into a round hole kind of thing. Um, and, and being honest and, and I think. Uh, quotas and, and, um, uh, pressures around earnings can sometimes cause people to do things that are unnatural and, and I think that’s what separates the success.
The most successful people from those that are less successful is, you know, being able to say, this is just not the right [00:29:00] place, the right time, or, you know, the right individual to spend my efforts on. Whatever it may be. Those are hard things to do. Those are, those are discipline behaviors that. You either learn the hard way or you don’t and you just, you don’t have a great career.
At what point
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: did you, I’m assuming you’re not no longer like, doing your sales work. Uh, at what point were you comfortable enough to say, you know, now I can transition hundred percent into my business as opposed to, you know, working and doing the business, having like this as a side hustle kinda.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Yeah, I, I wish I could say it was, um, that I got comfortable enough to go do the thing.
I think it’s more the latter, which is I, I got, I was so uncomfortable not doing the thing that I, I had to, to figure out how to do it. Um, you know, for, for me it was, I think as you, you grow older, you realize that there, there is a, a finite nature to, to your abilities and, and your lifespan. Yeah. And. Um, time is precious.
You don’t know what you’ll have tomorrow. And yeah, [00:30:00] it’s important to, to take those chances. Um, I, I, I, I wasn’t reckless about it, but I, I also recognize that. Much the same as having a child or, you know, going to do some great adventure. Like, it’s very uncommon for the cards to truly just, you know, be perfect for you and you go, okay, this is, this is the best hand I could possibly have asked for, and now I’m gonna go do it.
It happens, but it’s very uncommon, right? And so, uh, you have to have some sort of forcing mechanism. And for me it was, I, I put a date on the calendar and I said, this is the date I’m leaving. Um, I shared that with my employer. They were, uh, uh, not particularly happy. So they offered me, um, an opportunity to stay for a little longer and, and kind of consult back to them on, you know, what, what, you know, basically what I was already doing.
Um, I took that and, you know, that was a, a nice transition to, to, to do what I do now. Okay. That,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: that’s really great. Um, I know on your website you mentioned that, uh, right now you’re only doing domestic, domestic fulfillment, not international. Is that, is that because, [00:31:00] um, is that, is that, does that go back to the fundamental problem of, you know, generating new businesses probably harder in an international market rather than, uh, in the us Or, or is that something else really related
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: to.
It was, it was, so, we, we, I, I pride myself on being responsive and, and coming through on the experience that the customer thinks that they’re buying. Just remember, you know, even if it’s only $25 or $50, um, even a hundred dollars, it, it, that, that may or may not be a lot of money to the company, but it’s a lot of trust that you’ve had to ask from your new customer to, to invest in you.
And so for me, I, you know, I, coming from the tech world, Communication is very easy. It’s, it, it’s, you know, nearly a hundred percent automated at this point, and it’s very uncommon for me to have to sit down on a keyboard and, and, and type out answers to a customer on, on anything. Um, I, I do, you know, there are questions that come that are just, you know, [00:32:00] things that we haven’t covered before.
But one of the issues that was happening on a regular basis, especially as we went into. Was, you know, we didn’t market specifically to Germany or Italy or, or in Japan or anywhere else. Right. We, we, we didn’t, we didn’t even market specifically to the us we just marketed period, right? So whoever got into the, the, the process, that was fine.
Um, but when we were fulfilling orders to, you know, places like, say for instance Italy, um, It, I can, I can create a label here. I can fulfill the product here, I can put it in the mailbox here, and I can see everything that happens until it gets to, uh, an aircraft in Los Angeles. Hmm. And once it leaves there, And this customer’s probably paying $40 for that, that product to be sent to them, right?
It’s very expensive relative to, you know, say US shipping, which is $4, right? Mm-hmm. So we have a $50 purchase, $40 a postage. They’re in for 90 plus, whatever the concurrency exchange is, and this product leaves Los Angeles. And I have no idea what happened to it from that point forward, right? [00:33:00] Mm-hmm. And so the communication between carriers postal services is effectively non-existent.
There are a couple of countries that still do decent, uh, work. I think Canada actually is, is one of the exceptions, but, um, it, it, it caused so many questions, so many problems that. I, I took personally, you know, I, I didn’t feel good about letting people down about, I, I have no idea where your product is in, in, in some rural part of Italy.
I’m so sorry. Right. If it was a real part of the US I could tell you exactly where it is, right? Mm-hmm. Um, and so not being able to live up to that expectation to, to meet our customers’ expectation, to meet my expectation of what we would do for customers. I, I, I’ve just made the decision that we’re, we’re not going to do this any longer, and, and we closed it off.
We’ll handle it on a case by case, you know, exceptional basis. Generally speaking, uh, between exchange rates, uh, c cost of carrier, and then the, the service level is just it to me. It’s, it’s not the company that I wanna develop. Sure.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Uh, in terms of your team, are you the only person in your business right [00:34:00] now or are you, do you members.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: That’s it. I’m, I am, I’m one and only. Um, there, there are times when I’ll bring in additional assistance for, um, during our high season for order packing and production, things of that nature. Um, I do work with a number of different consultants that are on, um, on contract with us. So, you know, things like paid social, uh, paid search.
Um, sometimes we’ll for design we’ll bring in, uh, artists that work with us. Um, some virtual assistance for, for miscellaneous tasks, but, uh, generally speaking as far as, um, you know, ownership or, or on the payroll that, that’s me. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and I don’t think I asked you about any sort of email marketing. I do see on your website you have some, some, I mean, you’re offering free mystery gift, um, for email capture.
Are you doing, um, email marketing or text. Marketing And is it, how, how does it work for you? [00:35:00] Yeah, we do
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: both. Um, attribution on email and SMS is, is an interesting topic. Um, I, you know, oftentimes you may be getting numbers assigned from an attribution perspective to say a channel like sms. Um, that really was going to happen anyway, right?
So if, if you were on the site, the, the only way I got your phone number, you know, or your s m s uh, message was sent to you was because you already landed on my site, right? Mm-hmm. So, you know, is that attribution to SMS or was that I now got a, an offer that was more compelling to me. So a mystery gift in this case.
I gave you my phone number, I used that co that code, and I checked out using, um, you know, using, using the, the mystery gift coupon. So I, I, you know, it’s hard to say, but what I will say is I, I resisted s m s generally speaking because I, I, I won’t give out my personal cell phone number to really anybody, um, unless I know them as an individual.
Right. I have a second number [00:36:00] just for, you know, making sure that I don’t get spammed all day long. Hmm. But I realized that there’s, there, the, the, the audience that we target, uh, you know, a younger male demographic in the us that’s, that’s the way they transact, right? That’s the way they want to transact.
And so we’re, we’re happy to do it. Um, we added into, uh, to the clavio, and it’s been effective for us as a, as a channel. Um, it’s good for communication back and forth too. Order status, things of that nature. Abandoned card has been really good. Um, so from that perspective, it’s. Clavio email was, was just as good if not better than, um, than SMS as well.
So it’s, it’s hard to say that one is better than the other, but both are, are very effective and, and cost effective, especially, uh, channels for us. Have you any,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: any
tactic help you, you, you know, getting featured on Shark Tank or something?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: [00:37:00] No. Uh, I, I, I, I don’t, yeah, it’s funny. Distraction and opportunity as an entrepreneur, especially in D T C, are, are, are real forces to be reckoned with. And I, I think focus is, is, is the real key at the end of the day. Like, doing something, you know, so starting right? Getting, getting something going, and then being really deliberate.
Staying focused on a particular area that you find either attractive because you enjoy it, um, attractive because it’s effective, hopefully both. Um, and then once that starts to hit its peak, then you maybe go look for other areas to layer in, um, you know, like other channels or going on Shark Tank or something of that nature.
Um, uh, If you’re on, you know, DTC Twitter, you’ll see all day long. Like there, everybody has an opinion or an app or a process or you know, some great something or another that everybody has to be doing because this is the most effective thing that’s ever been done before. And, [00:38:00] and that may or may not be true, but what it matters the most is that you pick what you think is most effective for you as the operator of that business, and you stay focused on those things.
Um, there, you know, there’s always more, right? There’s always more that can be done. There’s always more opportunity to do something interesting. But, uh, to me, I, you know, I, I think that’s been a, a hard lesson to learn, um, as an individual. I’m, I’m, I’m prone to distractions in general. So, you know, to see all these things and, and especially if you start doing the comparison thing, you know, where it’s like, oh, well, so-and-so is so successful doing this.
Why? Why aren’t we doing that? Well, because we do this instead. Right? And that’s what we’re really good at. So stay in your lane. In
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: every entrepreneur’s journey, there’s always mistakes made, lessons learned, uh, failures, so to speak. Uh, in your own experience, what has been like the top one, one or two, uh, big mistake, you know, what you would consider a mistake or failure or lesson learned that where you learned something and you know where other people, other entrepreneurs can
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: learn from [00:39:00] your.
Yeah. Um, well, I, I didn’t read the manual when I first got the, uh, the, the first laser engraver that we, uh, we, we purchased. And, uh, I did light the shop on fire, but, uh, uh, that, that’s probably not applicable to everybody, but, uh, read the manual. Um, but otherwise, I think if from in my mind, um, Doing something, which is what I, I I shared earlier, is it starting?
And um, and selling is, is, is the most important thing. Like all the other problems start to go away when you sell something, right? Mm-hmm. Um, and, and if you’re, you’re spending time on. Names and business cards and website design and yeah, uh, legal paperwork and all these other things. These are all distractions and they, you know, generally speaking, they probably have to be done at some point in time.
But, um, you know, I, I was just listening to somebody the other day or reading, um, you know, somebody who had a, a developed audience. So arguably there’s, there’s a little bit of an unfair advantage. But [00:40:00] regardless, he took the opportunity to say, I have an idea of something that I would like to do. Um, turn that into basically a Stripe checkout page and a small, you know, 32nd loom video that’s posted on, on, on that checkout page.
And, you know, I think in two days it’s done $30,000 of, of, of sales on that, on that product. And I think that’s a good testament. It’s a good reminder that, you know, we don’t have to complicate these things, right? We don’t have to have the perfect website and the perfect product and the perfect process for this, that, and the other.
It’s more important to say, can, can I get validation from somebody in the marketplace that this is the right thing to do? And then we’ll go out and figure out how to, how to backfill, you know, everything else that needs to be done. And I’m not saying I’m being fraudulent about it, but you know, certainly not to the other side of it where you’re so, um, yeah.
Pinned down by all these details that you just don’t ever get to the, to, to the real meat of the, the, the problem.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Yeah. I think, I think that’s probably the core, uh, lesson for, for any business, right? Yeah. Uh, anybo. Yeah, it’s like, Let’s see, unless you’re, you have a [00:41:00] revenue stream, uh, you know, everything else is,
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: is less.
Yeah. And then, you know, then there are other good problems to have, like learning how to, you know, look at your books and understand what’s really happening with the business. But that’s, that’s, that’s the second
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: step. Yeah, definitely. So now I’m going move on our rapid fire segment and then the segment.
I’m going ask you a few quick questions and you have to answer them maybe in a, you know, a few words or a sentence or so. So the first one is one book that you would recommend to entrepreneurs and.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Um, this one’s gonna be obscure and I’ll, I’ll, I’ll back up. Why I, I, I’ve picked it, but, uh, there, there’s a book, um, from maybe the eighties called, uh, dishwasher, Pete.
Um, and it’s basically a autobiography of a, an individual who kind of got famous. So I think he got onto like, you know, some of the late night, uh, shows like David Letterman and things of that nature. But, you know, he basically is. Sharing with the readers his journey as, um, as a college educated individual, like [00:42:00] how to survive at, at the most basic level, which is washing dishes at restaurants.
Um, and for me, that was just kind of a, a, a, a foundational book in my life because I realized like, you know, I. People think entrepreneurs are very risk taking people. And the truth of the matter is, generally speaking, most of ’em that I know are not, we’re all looking how to mitigate risk, right? And so having that, that, that knowledge that, you know, come the worst case scenario.
I, I can walk into, you know, probably the back of any restaurant here in, in, in the city I live in and say, do you need a dishwasher tonight? And walk out with some amount of money? Like, I’m, you’re not gonna go homeless. Uh, you’re not gonna starve, you know, uh, you know, yeah. You might have to swallow your pride a little bit and yeah, maybe it’s not exactly what you wanna be doing, but.
It was, it was a great confirmation of that and I, I really enjoyed that book. And he went on to actually write another book about, uh, cycling in, um, uh, in Holland actually. So, um, it’s funny enough that it would be, it would come full circle that way for me. Awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: [00:43:00] Awesome. Yeah, I think that, I think that’s a good, good lesson to Louis, especially for, you know, young people, um, to know that.
Uh, I mean, if, if anybody can take the risk with a young, young person, and, you know, even if the fail, there’s always, uh, a backup, like you can always do, you can always, you know, one, one learns more in the, uh, in the launching of an entrepreneurial endeavor than, you know, you would ever learn like a corporate situation.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: yeah, absolutely,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: absolutely. An an innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retailer tech landscape that you feel excited.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Um, I dunno if it’s e-commerce related, but I, I’m, I’m really. Pleased to see how much focus here in the US is going into last mile transportation. And you know, I think that, that, you know, that may be commerce related, certainly commerce related for me because we, uh, played well with e-bikes as well as, um, you know, regular bicycles, human power bicycles.
[00:44:00] Um, but I, I’m, I’m pleased to see that. Cause I, I don’t think that cars are as necessary as we’ve made. Become in our lives. And you know, I think these, these shorter trips, especially in, uh, places where the, you know, the weather is good, um, you know, we should be thinking of more things like, you know, riding a, a one wheel or a bicycle or a scooter or walking or, you know, things of this nature.
So, uh, from, from my perspective, I’m very excited about that. Uh, specific to e-commerce. Um, I, we use Shopify. I, I, you know, I’m, I’m sure probably 95% of your interviews use Shopify, but the, the, uh, the, the whole Army and the Rebels concept of Shopify and, and the, the, the opportunity that, E-commerce in general presents to really anybody that wants to try to give a a shot, I think can be life changing.
And, and I think that that’s pretty exciting that for, you know, $29 a month and, you know, whatever, two weeks of free trial, if you were truly down and out and you had an idea, you could stand this thing up and maybe work yourself out of a hole pretty [00:45:00] quickly. So I, I think that that’s, that’s transformative and that’s amazing.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: uh, definitely leveled the playing field between like a single person versus like a big corporation. You can pretty much do everything, uh, a business or productivity tool or software that you would recommend or a productivity.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Um, I heard one of your, uh, your, your other guests, uh, say sleep and, and, and I’m a, I’m, sleep is non-negotiable for me.
I, I, I’m usually in bed by nine or 10 o’clock every night and up at five 30. But, um, so I agree with her, but, uh, you know, from my perspective, I, I use Notion, uh, pretty much for everything as, as a, a repository. I, I migrated a number of years ago from Evernote. I’m horrible at using it, but I, I do recognize the power that.
Has for me to be able to keep things in place and hopefully to keep myself on, on, on task. Um, but I, I find honestly the things that work the most for my business is going for a ride and just getting out and getting away from tech [00:46:00] and, and everything else. Um, we have a, a Peloton in our house, a Peloton bicycle, and.
What I’ve noticed with that is that it, it’s very easy to sit on that bike and even if you’re working out pretty hard, you can still have the iPad in front of you. You can still have the phone by you, you can look at things, you can check emails, you know, these kinds of things. And that’s something you really can’t do when you’re out on a ride, you know?
And, and what I am fond of saying is every time I go out on a ride, a problem that I had before I left usually comes back solved. And that’s just a function. Getting out of every other distraction that you have. Getting the fins flowing, getting the heart rate going, getting your mind going, and coming back with that and, and focusing on that solution that the problem, and then coming back with solution.
To me, that, that’s, that’s the, the best hack I could ask for. It’s better than any email program or calendaring.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: No idea. I think that’s a great one. Yeah, for sure. Uh, a peer entrepreneur or business person whom you look up to or someone who inspires you.
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Um, there’s a company, I don’t know if they’re, they’re up in, in Canada or not, but, uh, there’s a [00:47:00] company down here that does sunglasses called Gooder, G O O D R.
And Steven Lease is their, uh, their c e o and I think founder or co-founder. Um, and, and I, I, I really enjoy. Them because they’re, they’re, they’re pretty lighthearted about what they do. Um, they, they make glasses primarily for runners and then, you know, other sports like cycling, things of that nature. But, um, you know, I think they’ve kept themselves in check and understand like they’re, they’re not.
You know, they’re not solving cancer, but they’re, they’re providing people an opportunity to get out and be better versions of themselves. And sunglasses happen to be that, that, that mechanism that they use, um, and they run their culture that way. And he’s very, uh, very good about, you know, sharing and, and his podcasts and things of that nature.
You know, what, what, what the culture is like, and, you know, the mistakes they’ve made and the things that they’ve done. And from my perspective, um, they sell a very similar. Uh, average order value that we, we have here. And so to see their success, to see what they’ve grown and to know that, you know, with the margins and the a o v that they [00:48:00] have, we also are, are, are decently positioned to be able to do similar things.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. Last question. This best business advice you have ever received or you would give to other entre?
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: Um. I, I, I, you know, as I grow older, I, I, I wish I would’ve started earlier. Um, for sure. Uh, I think the risks are lower and, um, the, the opportunity to make multiple mistakes and still have an opportunity to figure it out is, is there, um, And I would just say, get started, you know, and, and get started as young as you possibly can.
Don’t overcomplicate it. These, you know, there’s, there we live in a world where I think, uh, we’re looking for the most complex. Problems to solve regularly. And we apply very complex solutions to those complex problems. And that that is not the majority of life. The majority of life is pretty simple. Right?
And, and I think it’s something that we do to complicate it that causes it to become more difficult to solve than it [00:49:00] really should be. And business to me, there’s a great book called, um, What the c e o wants you to know, and it basically is, you know, examining the c e o of a, a fruit stand and through the lens of like, what is a business that is as large as you could possibly imagine, or as small as you could possibly imagine.
We’re all going through the exact same things, right? We, we, we have to source a product, we have to find a customer, we have to sell it to them at a margin that works for us. We have to pay ourselves, et cetera. Th this is, we do this over and over and over, right? And. Um, it doesn’t have to be that complex, uh, but you have to do something.
You have to get started. You have to, you have to get out there and sell something to somebody in order to make that happen.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. And I think these, uh, It’s easier than ever. As you said, you know, Shopify makes it so easy for anybody to start, you know, put a product and start selling. Well, those were all the questions that I had, uh, today, Brian, I really appreciate you sharing your, uh, entrepreneurial story and sharing, uh, you know, some, some of your strateg and, and tactics that you’ve used to [00:50:00] start grow your business.
So thank you again for joining me at Trip Talks and, uh, yeah, I wish
Brian De Groodt of Dispatch Custom Cycling Components: you all the best. Yeah, I appreciate it. I hope it helps, uh, your listeners and um, yeah, by all means, feel free to reach out if you have any. Thank you. Thank you so much.
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