Weathering it out

Weathering it out

Like every other business on the planet, we're going through a moment that we didn't foresee, weren't much able to prepare for, introduces big and strange disruptions, and that we have no history to guide us through. Awesome, let's go!

It's important to note the difference between macaroons and macarons. I don't particularly care for macarons. Macaroons, on the other hand? I have gotten off my butt and done a 50 mile ride to Simmons and back just for their macaroons. This is an experience I am quite eager to have once life is back to normal. 

Will November make it through this? Absolutely. We're a tiny business, so there really isn't that much to bring through. We have a lease, we have very little inventory which is all paid for, our payroll consists of Mike and me, and that's about it. November started life as a side hustle, and worse comes to worst that's what it will return to being. It's easy to keep things running. 

App Gap, my dear friend, I will see you before long. 

For good or for bad, we never did the "bet big to get big" thing. Mike and I are fairly cautious by nature, and confident in our ability to find ways to apply ourselves as the market wants and needs us to. A lot of this goes back to the proprietary questions of last week. Could we have taken on a s--tload of debt and tried to scream our way into prominence? I suppose.

We'll be back to riding with our dopey friends, telling the same old stories again before too long

One thing that we've never (that I can recall) discussed is how basically tenuous any small cycling business' position is. Shimano, Giant, SRAM, Trek, Specialized, even Campagnolo... any of these companies decides to take aim at our niche and we're shot. You'll probably hear this/next week about a prominent wheel company's entrée into more "value priced" wheels. Do I think an overtly dumbed down $1600 pair of carbon wheels is a great market proposition? No. But do I think they will disrupt the market for wheels in that slice of the market? Yup, and though I'd academically love to compare our value proposition in our market segment to a larger company making that move into ur neighborhood, our reach and voice just gets blown away by the reach of one press release from the big guns. The rounding errors in their sales numbers are what we live and die by, and while we're a pretty good David, the number of times we want to face Goliath in any given year is limited. And if the matchup comes when David gets his ass kicked, we'd prefer to be able to learn what's to be learnt, and move on with life. 

There might be 7000 people racing at Green Mountain Stage Race this year. 

So, though we face some losses from not holding big stock supplies and we've compromised ourselves by not pursuing big promo efforts, neither of us wants to leverage this that hard and face paying off a big mistake for the next decade or so. When we started, we really considered that we had two close peer companies. One's gotten much bigger than we have, though I can't tell you anything about their health, and the other's out of business and the owners are probably at something like bankruptcy. We're small and, for the moment, eminently viable. 

As we prepped to send yesterday's "the pre-order is closing" email, Mike and I agreed to some misgivings about soliciting orders during a complete meltdown. Despite them, we sent it out, with Mike's great title driving a strong open rate. It does feel a bit hinky to bang the drum for sales. It's hard to know what's appropriate and what's tone deaf right now, but if people want to prep for brighter days ahead then we'll help them do that.  

How anyone -company, individual, country, etc - gets through this phase is anyone's guess. November's survival is indistinguishable from Mike and Dave's survival, and again I like our chances. Trying to figure out how to stay up to date with a bunch of debt is something we're REALLY glad not to be doing right now. A bursting corporate debt bubble is a huge economic threat right now, but there's nothing you or we can do about the Fortune 500 facing a vicious cycle of debt downgrades and sell offs and fiasco. We can just be glad we don't have anything like that in November's outcome set.

And yes, Judd - cross will indeed come again. 

Seriously, no one's asking any ask me anything questions, so if you've got one make with it. We're brewing up topics so we should be able to keep the distractions coming relatively unabated, but crowd sourced help is welcome.

Stir crazy beats being in the ICU or putting people there, stay the course (advice which I particularly need to give myself this morning). 

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Some of us will buy from you precisely because you are more akin to David than Goliath, quality product at a fair price being assumed. And frankly, even if those large players did come in, they’d probably do so with house brand hubs, no name spokes, and warranties that are good on paper and less so when called upon.


Bring back the original Superhero kit!


Hope you guys make it and after reading this post I am more determined to purchase a set of wheels from you guys. I love your thought process and hope you guys make it through.

Keith Baumgardner

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