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NAME: Ryan Bouvier
JOB TITLE, COMPANY: Owner, Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting, West Hatfield
WHEN THE BUSINESS STARTED: October 2012. But I started building my business plan 10 years ago, and I told my mom when I was 4 that I wanted to open my own go-kart land.
WHAT YOU DO: I run a 1,000-foot karting course that is capable of racing eight to 10 karts at once. The track features a combination of straight-aways designed for speed and tight corners for more technical driving that will challenge everyone from beginners to experts. This experience is suitable for people from 10 on up. As the owner of the track, I take part in every aspect of the business. I help work on karts, work on the front end and help run the pits.
EXPERIENCE: Eights years in business banking.
THE MARKET: Kart riders from all over the region and beyond.
HOW YOU REACH OUT TO IT: It’s almost impossible to reach everyone with one form of advertising. We rely heavily on word of mouth, however, we do reach out to people in print, social media, television and our street crew that goes to as many events as possible with our show kart.
WHAT FINANCING HURDLES HAVE YOU FACED AND HOW HAVE YOU HANDLED THEM? As a new business, you will most likely always run into some financial hurdles. Managing overhead is always a struggle. Every situation can be handled in different ways. My advice to new or interested entrepreneurs is to have a very very good business plan. It’s step two of success.
KEY TO SUCCESS: Never stop trying to reach your goals. That’s step one for success. Set your goals high, but make them achievable. Don’t let anyone tell you something’s impossible. If you work hard enough, there is always a way. Every day you will be faced with challenges, and the key to success is in how you handle those challenges.
CHALLENGES: Getting the first-time customer in the door. Once people try our facility it’s very easy to get most to come back. The trouble is explaining to people what we offer when they have never been to a track like ours.
MISSTEP YOU LEARNED FROM: The very beginning of our building process. I wanted to have a hand in everything (not advised). I have no building/construction background, and I wanted to learn everything I could. The number one thing I learned is when you think it will cost one thing, it will usually cost much, much more.
WHAT OTHERS COULD LEARN FROM YOU: As stated before, never let someone tell you that your dreams are unachievable. Set goals and keep striving to achieve them even if sometimes you have to take risks to succeed.
WHO HELPED MENTOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY? One of my good friends, Brian Foote of Northampton, helped get me started in my banking career. His commitment to achieving his goals has always been inspiring.
TOP GOALS FOR 2013: Reach 10,000 members.
ADVICE FOR OTHERS SEEKING BUSINESS SUCCESS: Step 1: Have a plan. Step 2: Turn your raw plan into a very detailed business plan. Step 3: Take a chance.
PARTING THOUGHT: Success is possible….Only if you make the effort.
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