Jose George, founder of Haybren Adventures
What does your company do?
Haybren Adventures deals in high end imported Bicycles and adventure gear. We have also initiated a cycling club Lakecity Pedalers for the city of Thane.
Founded in: January 2008
You are an entrepreneur because....?
I am Marine Engineer and have been in the Merchant Navy. I have Sailed for 13 yrs. I didn’t find any satisfaction in the job that I was doing as an engineer on board a ship. The money was good but the job was too monotonous and kept me away from my family for long periods of time. I always wanted to be my own boss and learn business as well, becoming a franchisee gave me that opportunity with not much investment.
I wanted to do something different, after a lot of contemplation as to what to do I zeroed on the humble bicycle, as I knew the time for Bicycles will come and there was a great scope for hi-end bikes. I didn’t want to sell the ordinary bikes which are available everywhere
Your most critical moment while starting out?
When I had to choose between business and a secure, well paid job.
My family was quite supportive throughout and without that support, it would have been difficult.
Dealing with competition is like……….?
When I started, there was no competition as such. The other bike shops were the traditional shops selling cheap bikes. However I realized that I needed to build the need for my high-end cycles. To deal with competition I need to build a cycling group. I set up “Lakecity Peddlers” a cycling group by sending 700+ messages to all the profiles which had cycling as their hobby.
I got my first group of people going.
Now infact there are many groups in the city with rides happening almost every day and night as well. This has actually helped create an awareness about the cycles. The buyers began understanding the importance of having a good efficient bikes and also the fact that they don’t come cheap. This shift in thought was the most important factor that helped me sell my product.
Did you really cut it fine at some point?
Yes it was difficult to hold on at times especially during the downturn but I persisted. The results have been good so far with a good growth rate
What did I learn?
I come from a non-business background. I am continuing to evolve but not at the cost of my values and integrity. Dealing and connecting with people had never been mine forte but now I love doing it and getting better too.
Comments on your journey…
It has been a great ride so far. It gives me great pleasure to sell someone a good cycle and see that person take up the activity and continue with it.