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Deciding When to Pass the Baton

We've now been in business for well over a quarter of a century. Harley Rides in Melbourne was founded in 1993 and to be honest its been a wild ride.

For some time now I've been considering the thought of retiring out of the Harley Rides business. Passing on the baton to someone younger with more energy (I turn 67 this year) is something that pops into my head more often these days.

People often ask me if we're busy. Fifteen years ago we were quite busy, but these days the demand for Harley Rides has slowed somewhat. The only reason why I've kept the business going is that its a lot of fun sharing the Harley Davidson Brand with people. Seeing their reaction to riding as a passenger, or the joy in the eyes of people who rode a motorcycle long ago and are now to old to ride one themselves or people with disabilities who come out with us for sidecar rides, is the Why I am Still Doing it.

Deciding when to retire is a challenge. I'm now at retirement age and maybe its time to close down shop and focus on other things. Today I took an inquiry, that in the past I would have said, "Yes, I can do that." But the logistics of organising what was a Group Activity involved more effort than, at this particular time, I was enthusiastic to accept. These days its hard to organise large numbers of riders, and to be honest I find it preferable to take bookings for just one, two or at the most four people.

So? "Why don't you sell the business?" people ask. Good question. If someone were to offer the right price, I might consider it. But, what price? Can I guarantee to that person that there is value in taking over my operation? Yes, there are customers out there. But, to get them requires huge advertising outlays (which I have cut back to nothing in recent years).

I am constantly surprised that my phone rings as often as it does these days. In light of the current price of petrol I recently raised my prices. But, people appear to believe that my prices are not an obstacle for choosing to book. Maybe we're too cheap? Who knows.

What would someone need to consider if they were to purchase my business? They would need to own their own Harley Davidson to begin with. A sidecar is another imperative (that allows one to multiply ride income). A network of sub-contract riders is important. I have that network of riders who I utilise, but most have a day job and Harley Rides can't provide a regular income. Beyond that requires enormous commitment in time and possible financial outlay to advertise and grow the business. Or, the new owner may choose to use the Brand reputation I have established as a basis to market other products or services (may be suitable to attach to a Motorcycle Hire operation).

What comes with the purchase? A Pty Ltd ASIC registered business name. The domain name/website and a library of images. A 30 year old business reputation. A sidecar that can be attached to your Harley Davidson.

Call John on 0419359628. I can't make any promises. You will have to satisfy me that you're up to the task of taking over the operation.


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