Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nate Lessnick, Owner of Flow State Bike Co., located in Guelph, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Flow State Bike Co is Guelph's first and only boutique bike shop, licensed coffee bar, and community hub under one roof. We are on a mission to redefine what a bike shop looks and feels like by creating a welcoming space for all riders to gather. Being located next to mountain bike trails and on a main intersection for gravel and road riders, we are ideally situated to become the go-to hub for all things cycling in Southern Ontario.
Tell us about yourself
I fell in love with mountain biking in my early teens. Nowhere else have I found the sense of freedom, adventure, and flow it provides. In my mid-twenties, I found my dream job working for a bike travel company called Sacred Rides. The job afforded me the opportunity to travel to some of the most incredible destinations on earth, including the Azores, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Peru.
Through these travels, I got to visit many bike shops. Some of the best bike shops I visited abroad all had something in common — they all created a sense of community. These experiences stood in stark contrast to the bike shops closer to home, where unless you needed to buy a part or service, there was little reason to stop in.
That's where the idea of bringing the bike-shop-cafe-concept close to home came from — a place where you can grab a steaming cup of coffee or an ice-cold beer, meet with friends, and plan your next ride.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment to date has been securing our dream location for the business in the fall of 2022.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Flow State is a multi-revenue business with food, beverage, and retail. As a result, my attention is constantly pulled in different directions. I need to constantly ask myself if what I'm focusing on is pulling me towards my goals or distracting me from them. The question: "Am I chasing mice or hunting antelope?" hangs above my wall.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Invest the time in wording your mission, purpose, and values. You'll attract staff and customers who believe what you believe and want to see you succeed.
- Adopt an "everything is figuroutable" mindset. Obstacles will come at you daily, but if you care enough about your mission, you'll figure it out.
- Hire a great bookkeeper who stays on top of your books and keeps you on track.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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