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Old 02-19-2014, 10:04 PM   #28
Screaming Banshee
ObiJohn's Avatar
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: Seattle suburbia
Oddometer: 606
I've never been in the moto business. I did make the mistake of turning my avocation (hunting, shooting) into my vocation for about a decade. My business was nominally successful, on paper, but it took me a couple of years to get to where I was turning a profit, and I never did make back all of the money I invested in the business (mostly due to the fact that I leased a building and put a significant sum of money into infrastructure/TI and the owner sold the building out from under me). I was an avid competitive target shooter and hunter before I started the business... and then I spent most of that decade doing very little hunting and shooting. Dealing with the subject for a decade as a job took a lot of the joy out of it, and to this day my motivation to be an active participant in the hunting and shooting sports just isn't there anymore.

You have to be careful starting a business. You have to be the one to make the nut every month, not your boss/employer. You'll have a couple of partners who, between them, will tell you pretty much how to run your business, get paid something off of the top even if you don't make a profit, and really make running a business a PITA. I'm not talking about the Mob, but about the government (federal, state, local).

I averaged well over $1MM/year in gross sales. I employed between 12 and 20 employees, full- and part-time. I paid out $1MM in payroll, not counting payroll taxes. I'll never own another retail business with employees again. If the system we have today had been in place since the country was founded there would be no America as we know it.

My strong advice to you is, if you can't run it for a while out of your garage/shop and make money pretty quickly without any employees AND while doing everything aboveboard... licenses, taxes, etc., then you can cut your losses on an expensive hobby. But, there's enough name-brand custom bike players out there to make a mighty tough row to hoe for a new business with an unknown... and this isn't exactly a booming economy.

One more thing: if you're going to fail in business, fail quickly. By that, I mean put aside a certain amount of money you're willing to invest (and lose) in the business... and when and if it's gone shut the business down. Don't keep throwing good money after bad chasing a dream that isn't going to come true.
Everything is on its way to somewhere...
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