Layman SpeakObservationsTips and Tools

Business is like cycling

By April 16, 2015 No Comments

Running a business is like the act of cycling…

… you paddle and paddle and paddle until you reach your destination, before moving off to another.

Do you know that cycling can be a great parable about business operation? Perhaps that’s why more local professionals and business owners are taking up cycling now. They paddle hard, let it cruise on the straight and start to let the mind drift into deep thoughts.

About their next presentation.

Their P&L.

Or brainstorming.

Or that one bright idea for his contact lens marketing campaign.


A taxi stops right in front, covered with an advertisement skin for Brembo brand car braking system. A fine print reads “If you can see this, it’s time to change your braking pads”

Yeah! Idea found!

Ok I made that up about execs and business owners picking up cycling as a sport.

The real story is this.
I bring and fetch my 4 years old girl to school, on a manual mountain bike. She sits on a toddler seat, right above the rear wheel. Its a 5 min sprint, minus red lights, to the school.

Now my little girl is a light weight angel. 10kg and sits quietly still.

If you have cycled with a rear load before, any turn or tilt is magnified due to extra weight that is away from the center. More strength is needed to counter the tilt and it can get wobbly at slow speed.

Next throw in some pedestrians, shielded by their head phones.

A granny with hands-full of grocery bags.

A a mum with a 5 year-old in tow and a 1 year-old in a buggy?

No bell can warn them. You have to avoid them.

Turn left, or hard right or by walk the bike by foot when it is absolutely slow. All this while trying to maintain balance, pick up momentum again before slowing down by yet another Beats Audio headphone adorning ‘audiophile’.

Trickily exhausting?

Now try going up the slope!

A 150m climb to a 6m high flyover.

Any leisure cyclist would know that any climb, even if it’s just a 2-degree slope,  the seemingly never-ending stretch isn’t fun. Especially when there’s an extra weight at the back.

More strength and control is needed.

Paddle slow to a halt and we got to push start for speed.

Lo and behold!

There is the gear shift!

Down the gear and instantly it becomes easier, lighter, and I can just focus on controlling and maintaining momentum. Not having to strain my quadriceps or getting out of breath all the while looking well and good in front of my little girl.

Possible just because I leverage on the gear system.

Is your business like this?

1. Destination = next sales/target/milestone
2. Load = overheads
3. Steering = keeping focused and directing the company to your destination.
4. Paddle = Cash Flow, sales cycle. How easy are you paddling?
5. Gear = any scalable support that makes the operation and sales easier
6. Pedestrians / hump / traffic lights = Daily challenges like urgent quotations, fire fighting, service call, etc.
7. Slope = Competition, market outlook, drop in demand due to better solution etc.

I may not have a solution to directly overcome the competition, market outlook or the lack of demand.

(Wait. If there’s a lack of demand for your product or service, perhaps it could be time to change your game plan)

However, I can suggest an actionable way to increase your sales without ads spending or increasing sales team.

The quick and easy tip on increasing sales without advertising.

Recently I just shared with a friend some quick tips. One of which I thought was obvious. But to him, it’s an eureka moment!

Nothing beats a well appreciated tip for lead generation!


He needed new leads, yet he has forgotten there are already potential prospects from the past. A quick advice, should he implement it, would get him some response. All without adding a single cent on advertisement.

On a bigger scale, it’s always good to invest in an automated email management system to manage all your clients and leads contact. One of the industry standard email auto responder system I’m using is Aweber. Affordable and powerful to get my email marketing work done.

Use their full-feature 30-day free trial to say high to your ex clients, or even lukewarm leads with dripping emails over the trial period (If you use email auto responders, they have an auto unsubscribe function so you won’t frustrate any clients trying to get out of this email loop)

You may do once-a-month email, if you are fearful of annoying them or do not have the resource to do so. For best result, it’s once or twice a week for that top-of-the-mind effect .

Why bother with old list, you may ask.

If they didn’t take up your offer previously, it doesn’t mean they won’t need you again. Maybe the timing wasn’t right back then.

The budget was tight.

They got another solution (or so they thought).

The new staff could do what you offered (but is burning out now)

We won’t know.

Important thing to note in your email marketing effort is this: Avoid the standard greeting followed by your achievements, your service, your new trophy or your new big win.

There’s time for these, but not always. Do them subtly, by-the-way manner.

Give them what they need.

As they find value in your newsletter, they will continue to read your newsletter. Only by then, when they trust you enough, present your offerings or update or what you want to impress upon them.

Be ready for a 10% up in sales from this almost forgotten list.

So, does your bicycle (business) comes with a gear system (scalable marketing support for your sales generation)? One that helps you to increase leads and sales, or to slow down the flow according to your projected capacity?

Be it software or hardware, but more specifically, specialized consultants, do you already have them in mind for your journey ahead?

At Pufferfish, we help emerging business increase leads, nurturing cold leads to ready sales through crafted content and online marketing strategies. Ready to find out more about a customised marketing ‘gear system’ to leverage on for your business?

We are contactable here, for a quick cycling sharing session.

Kok Wai

Author Kok Wai

Kok Wai is a content producing marketer, media trainer at Kelvin Sng Productions, a dad of two and photography contributor to multiple magazines. A sponsor of B60 Charity Run 2017, Kok Wai's goal is to help busy and ambitious business owner focus on running their business even with their limited time and lack of marketing know-how. He especially loves kids, playing the guitar, and exploring with software. You'll find him pondering on the exhilaration of securing two more good clients on a retainer basis. Connect with him on Facebook (thePF)

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