Mike has had an entrepreneurial spirit since leaving university some 35 years ago. Involved in retail clothing, web application development and now making bamboo handlebars. With the days getting shorter metaphorically speaking Mike has been involved in developing the Passchier brand alongside fellow founder Dirk Passchier. Mikes skills can be summarized as follows; Market development, Partner and team development, Business and strategic planning.
Where did the idea for Passchier come from?
Chatting with my mate Dirk who was making wooden kayak paddles that offered a degree of comfort to the paddler, due to a small amount of give/flex. Dirk being a craftsman wanted help to commercialize these. After looking at the the size of the market I figured that paddles wouldn’t be the best market to target. Being a mountain biker I saw that the benefits that the wooden paddles offered could be of benefit to bikers that do long distant by taking out the chatter and vibration…so handle bars it was.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Get up early, take regular breaks, biking and gardening and work late. In short only work when you’re in a productive frame of mind. The regimented 9 – 5 tradition of work isn’t good for anyone.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Research, talk to enthusiasts, validation of idea…does it solve a problem?
What’s one trend that excites you?
The growth of biking and sustainability as a an tribute that the market is increasingly demanding, certainly amongst bikers. Plus the growth of ebikers and older riders where comfort is increasingly important
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Getting on my bike and clearing the head.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Focus…more focus on one task at a time.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Doing things differently from other people is a good thing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Be pragmatic…have your eyes and ears open and be prepared to shift direction.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
You can’t sell a secret. Getting our bars out to people that matter (influencers).
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Trying to do too many projects. Do less and do it better and take your time.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
ebikes that charge their battery when you’re going downhill.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Giving product away. They become believers and influencers.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Draft email folder with continual brain dumps and ideas
Nimble…tracks and manages all email communication
MSN Teams. Collaboration
Dirty old Excel
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Age of Influence by Neal Schaffer.
Influencer marketing is a credible cost effective way of becoming visible.
What is your favorite quote?
When you’re going through hell keep on going: Winston Churchill.
Everything is temporary: Alanis Morsette
- Be pragmatic
- Surround yourself with talented, nice people
- Don’t be greedy
- Work when you’re feeling productive
- Be realistic and face problems head on.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.