Your recommended reading list and travel itinerary for the next 12 months.
THIS IS A GREAT business, and I feel lucky to have been involved in motorcycling for 45 years now. Over that time I’ve had a number of experiences I draw upon to write this column. And I’m not shy about sharing my mistakes – for I hope to guide you down a better path than I took.
One mistake I made during my years as a mechanic and service manager was to let experiences be pretty much my only source of education. I didn’t go to college, and I read consumer motorcycle magazines primarily for entertainment. I wasn’t exposed to “trade” titles like Dealernews, and I didn’t attend an industry trade event until my first Dealer Expo back in 1990. By avoiding these sources of education and stimulation, I did my work the hard way and I made many more mistakes than I should have.
So, my friends, I offer you a list of events and texts that I have used for my continuous education and personal improvement.
SHOWS & EVENTS
If you work in the industry you must attend trade and retail events – period. Your owners, managers and your frontline sales and technical staff should participate. Events give your team a much-needed shot of enthusiasm, provide first-hand exposure to new products, and enable networking with suppliers, customers and business associates – all of which prove extremely beneficial to your daily operations.
Here’s your checklist for 2014:
- Dealer Expo, Dec. 5-7 in Chicago. This is the largest all brands, OE and aftermarket dealer show of the year, and is a must-attend.
- Manufacturers’ annual meetings: Ask your district manager for details.
- Distributor meetings: Ask your distributor rep for details.
- Progressive International Motorcycle Shows: there are 12 in the 2013-14 tour, with shows in Michigan; Washington, D.C.; Minnesota; Arizona; Illinois; and Washington State running in January and February.
- V-Twin Expo, Feb. 8-9 in Cincinnati, for a V-twin cruiser focus.
- Born Free Motorcycle Show, June 28-29 in Oak Canyon, Calif.. It’s an entertaining way to see thousands of custom bikes and new design trends.
- Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Aug. 4-10 in South Dakota. Yes, it’s fun, and just about every business serving the V-twin market is there (so it’s educational – honest!). (continued)