New businesses often start from the identification of a customer problem and this was the case for Dan Richards of Lake District Cycling. The Lake District is perfect for cyclists but for anyone travelling by train it’s difficult to travel with a bicycle. Crowded carriages and finding somewhere secure to store the bike while travelling could put people off enjoying the area on two wheels.
Dan, a part-time community cycling officer for Alston, saw an opportunity to provide a service hiring cycles at Lake District train stations but where was he to start?
The advisor was really helpful in terms of compiling a coherent business plan and having someone asking you questions that you have to reflect on is a useful full stop
Dan looked for help and support and found it via Cumbria Chamber of Commerce accessing mentor support via the Business Start Up Support Programme and reducing the financial strain of starting a new business via the New Enterprise Allowance.
Entrepreneurs set up businesses that reflect their passions but that doesn’t mean they have all the skills necessary to run a successful business. Dan commented on this “The advisor was really helpful in terms of compiling a coherent business plan and having someone asking you questions that you have to reflect on is a useful full stop” he said “Unless you have been doing a busienss studies module or done accounting at night school classes there are things that you can’t instantly pick up and have a structured business model to work around.
Dan’s business now provides two bicycle hire points at Oxenholme and Penrith railway stations, designed to allow people to get on a bike as soon as they arrive, he also signposts visitors to local businesses such as cafes, shops and accommodation reflecting the supportive culture of local businesses in the county.
Dan had a lovely surprise when Damian Lewis hired a bike from him with a group of friends while enjoying a short break in the Lake District. The photo Damian kindly took with Dan brought some lovely PR in Trail Magazine which has a target audience matching Dan’s.