USCA Sidecar Forum

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Business Plan-Input needed

Flip said in part:
"The Sidecarist is really only available to paid members other than ones purposely delivered or distributed by us.

The club isn't looking at the whole picture. It needs to be treated as a business or at least apply the business philosophy.

What does a business need to become profitable? It needs a marketable product or service and the avenues to market that product and the product or service needs to be priced reasonably.Adding color to the Sidecarist (other than paid advertisers' color ad's), at this point, in my opinion, isn't needed or warranted."

I've asked the BOD to participate in developing a Business Plan or at least establish some goals. They seem to be at a loss for ideas. We need some ideas. Where would you like to see the club in 5 or 10 years or are we destined to be no more than we are now?

I am nearly sixty and the only four sidecarists I know in my area are older than me by 5-15 years. What is the average age of a sidecarist? I am guessing that it is over sixty and the majority of us will be retired or close to retirement. Baby Boomers (born from 1946 to whenever) are now buying complete sidecar rigs and/or converting their bikes to a sidecar rig. I get asked about sidecars by a lot of older bikers who are not as steady as they once were and need the extra wheel for stability.We should target this age group for membership. I don't know how to do it or where to start but someone in our membership should know. I would like to see a younger crowd involved too, but I do not think that the younger crowd has what it takes to pilot a hack. Let's face it, it takes a special type of person to pilot a hack. It's not for everyone.As far as color goes in the mag, I would think that a much thinner paper stock would be acceptable to me and then we could add color with the savings on the paper. Even the postal fees would be a lot less if the mag didn't weigh so much. I am not a printer but these changes seem like a quick solution to me to save costs and make a better reading mag.

Hi all,

Yes I believe in having a plan as to where I want to go. Now as a long time sailor I can tell you some times you can not go at it dead on. That is called tacking.

I am taking this time to write this for two reasons. One that I maybe of some help to the board and the big one is where I would like to see Fla in a year and two years. I know some of you saw my report on the 1st year as Fla state rep. when I became state rep we had 33 members I set a goal of 66 at the end of the year. And no we did not make that but did have 43 members and that is up 33%. I knew it was a bit high when I set it. I was told as a kid that it was OK to want anything but the big want was what I wanted to do to get there. This is where I set some smaller goals and there were two 1, to keep the members that we had. I to had heard what Flip had “USCA gains new membership but at the same time looses members and basically stays at the same membership level.” The next was to gain new members.

Now I am not one to re-invent the wheel. So my 1st step was to find someone who had and found that NM state rep. I ask him questions and received his thoughts. No I do not do everything he does but I pick some that I could do and they worked. The first two were in the most part to keep the members we had. This is where the “Florida Sidecaring News” and the “Y’ll Come Rally” came from and they worked. The next was a letter to members that had let their dues drop. I did not get all that I wanted from this one but I did get two re-spouses one had forgot and did send in his re-newel and the other had already and my list was bad. I am re-wording my letter and will put in a form and return envelope because I want to know as much if not more why someone did not renew as why they did. Oh by the way of those 33 that we started with we lost 2 and I may not like it but can live with it.

Now how do I get new members? First off I am but one of 43 in a very long state so I need to help each of the other 42 become the best recruiters they can be. To do this they need the facts not hear say. I have heard the Trike virus Sidecar thing. I am looking for some numbers on the safety thing. Maybe the AMA or state MVR I have not got this done yet. They need to know what resources are in their part of the state. Some of them already know these but others need to know things like the installers, dealers, and maybe even things like the bike events going on. Maybe Bike Nights? I will see to it that any of the members that want them will have the Tri-folds in their saddlebags. This is the greatest thing I carry plus they will get you back on the road. Before I started carrying them it took ½ an hour to put in two gallons of gas. Those of you who know me know I like to talk but ice-cream melts fast in Fla with the Tri-folds I can cut the time and still not be rude.

Now to this point I have been talking about USCA in Fla. some of the thoughts are the same for USCA as a whole. We need to look at the clubs that have done well and there are a number out there. I am going to just talk about one the AMA. You may like them or you may not but they are the oldest cub in the USA. I was a member before but had not re-joined till the other night. This is what I saw that they are doing that we are not. One I joined on line in about 10 min. their dues are higher than our ($39 per year) but have discounts if you sign up for more than one year. Ex $74 for two years, $111 for 3 years, and $750 for life. I know from looking very fast at the ballets from this year that this was not a big thing to a number of our members but someone said the question could have been ask better. I will take the hit for that one it was my question and it could have been better worded. I still believe it will help us as I was asked three days ago by a new person here in Fla.

The next two things I saw right off on the AMA site I had thought of but I have not brought up for reasons. One as a member of the AMA I get discounts one on insurance. I have not brought this one up because I don’t know how to go ab

Hi Richard, nice write up but I have 2 questions for you. (1) When you come across people trying to "recruit" as you put it. What is it exactly you use to promote the club? What benefit does an individual get from paying their $30 or what ever the dues may be, dollar amount isn't of importance with my question to you? If I was on the street with my rig and you came up to me, what is it about this club that would convince me to join? And (2) I'm perplexed to the big push for headcount $$$ coming in vs. what is going back out to the members "across the board". Just curious Linda

LOL,
Any response is a good response. Participation is key. But did you answer my question? No.
(1) It doesn't take membership to get on this website. (2) Members only activities??? What are they?
(3) I am just curious to the benefits of being a member? Is it basically getting a magazine? I'm really not trying to be flip, no punnnnn intended...LOL What is the benefits to being a member? What is it that jumps out at a sidecarist/potential member to want to join? I'm looking for the meat here, not a generic You can participate in Members only things!!!, what are they, break it down, nobody has been able to tell me that, so as a potential new member what is the bang for their buck?

Linda

We are reading this and keep it coming! Just an FYI New members dues are $30.00 but renewaing members pay $25.00 per year so there is a discount in place for renewals.

The BOD of the USCA is actively working to find ways to add value to being a member in the USCA. That's what started this thread. I'm speaking as a member of the USCA, not a member of the BOD.

The only exclusive member benefits that I can point to are The Sidecarist and discounts on the USCA rallies and the regional rallies that the USCA sponsors. Let's look at what the USCA is doing for sidecarists whether they are members or not. We could start with those regional rallies. Personal liability being what it is, it is flat out irresponsible for any one who has a family to consider to hold a rally without insurance. I can tell you that I've tried to get insurance for a rally as an individual and it was just about impossible; the rates I was quoted were staggering and even at those incredible rates, no insuror was interested in writing the policy. So the USCA benefits sidecarists in general by making insurance available so that regional rallies can be held.

The USCA also supports the sport by providing a source for information. When I wanted to get my first sidecar I went from one motorcycle dealer to another and they all told me a sidecar was a bad idea. Those folks also didn't really know anything about sidecars. Folks can come to the USCA to find other sidecarists, folks with sidecar experience and common interests to provide support and help them get started.

Then there's this website; it's "free" but then we all know that it isn't really free, it is supported by the USCA. The USCA allows anyone to access the site because it is good for the sport and good for the USCA to do so. There are other free sites. I was invloved with setting up the most successful of them. Even SCT grew out of the first version of this site! It was created when this site couldn't be maintained. A financially stable USCA made this site possible.

The Sidecarist has become a really first class sidecar publication. Hack'd is great and has a long heritage. We support Chris fully and for a long time Hack'd made The Sidecarist look sick but now there are two really good sidecar publications in the US and it would be great to have twenty.

Folks have spoken on this thread about finances and members. Our finances are in good shape but our member retention isn't what we'd like it to be. The BOD is looking to build the membership so that we can do more to support the sport. An organization like the USCA can do things that an individual cannot.

This thread started because we are looking for ways to add more benefits to being a member. We are trying to build the value returned to members but at the root of all of this is the idea of the sport. I beleive that if a sidecarist values the sport, they will support the sport and the best way that can happen is to be an ACTIVE member of the USCA. When we reach some unknown critical mass we will be able to do more. We are already doing things that were unimagineable for us six years ago.

If folks feel that they have to wait until the club is an unqualified success maybe we never will reach that critical mass. It's a chicken and egg thing. Last month I approached Progressive Insurance about creating a special rate class for motorcycles with sidecars. Their first question was, "How big is the market?" Our club isn't big enough to make a difference to Progressive but maybe all of sidecaring is. We don't even know how many sidecars there are out there.

If you want to see sidecaring grow, make an investment up front, join the USCA. If that isn't important, wait. Maybe things will get better for sidecarists and maybe they won't. If no one supports the USCA, the USCA can't support sidecaring and one thing will be certain, folks will have to find another place to ask about the value of being a member.

Originally written by Al Olme on 8/5/2007 6:46 PM

The BOD of the USCA is actively working to find ways to add value to being a member in the USCA. That's what started this thread. I'm speaking as a member of the USCA, not a member of the BOD. **** AND THAT IS GREAT

The only exclusive member benefits that I can point to are The Sidecarist and discounts on the USCA rallies and the regional rallies that the USCA sponsors. Let's look at what the USCA is doing for sidecarists whether they are members or not. We could start with those regional rallies. Personal liability being what it is, it is flat out irresponsible for any one who has a family to consider to hold a rally without insurance. I can tell you that I've tried to get insurance for a rally as an individual and it was just about impossible; the rates I was quoted were staggering and even at those incredible rates, no insuror was interested in writing the policy. So the USCA benefits sidecarists in general by making insurance available so that regional rallies can be held. ******* (Okay, 1 benefit to those who are near those couple rallies)

The USCA also supports the sport by providing a source for information. When I wanted to get my first sidecar I went from one motorcycle dealer to another and they all told me a sidecar was a bad idea. Those folks also didn't really know anything about sidecars. Folks can come to the USCA to find other sidecarists, folks with sidecar experience and common interests to provide support and help them get started.
Then there's this website; it's "free" but then we all know that it isn't really free, it is supported by the USCA. The USCA allows anyone to access the site because it is good for the sport and good for the USCA to do so. There are other free sites. I was invloved with setting up the most successful of them. Even SCT grew out of the first version of this site! It was created when this site couldn't be maintained. A financially stable USCA made this site possible. ******** (Great site, but membership is not required and varied venue’s online may not be so pricey – as your certainly well aware)

The Sidecarist has become a really first class sidecar publication. Hack'd is great and has a long heritage. We support Chris fully and for a long time Hack'd made The Sidecarist look sick but now there are two really good sidecar publications in the US and it would be great to have twenty. *********(Nice publication, such high quality paper is over kill for black and white, 23 yrs at Xerox-Color Printing gives me that knowledge, nice color is available also without using such high gloss heavy paper)

Folks have spoken on this thread about finances and members. Our finances are in good shape but our member retention isn't what we'd like it to be. The BOD is looking to build the membership so that we can do more to support the sport. An organization like the USCA can do things that an individual cannot. ************* (Hence, value add to members? The push to bring in new members is great if you have some return to members “across the board” for their dues)

This thread started because we are looking for ways to add more benefits to being a member. We are trying to build the value returned to members but at the root of all of this is the idea of the sport. I beleive that if a sidecarist values the sport, they will support the sport and the best way that can happen is to be an ACTIVE member of the USCA. When we reach some unknown critical mass we will be able to do more. We are already doing things that were unimagineable for us six years ago. ****************(WHAT? Supporting the sport isn’t done by an individual club, unless they (sidecarist clubs) are working with, promoting and supporting groups such as, but not limited to; ABATE, AMA, Sidecar Industry Council and any others that work for the sport) just my opinion

If folks feel that they have to wait until the club is an unqualified success maybe we never will reach that critical mass. It's a chicken and egg thing. Last month I approac

Wow Linda, your reply was hard to read but it seems you are very unhappy with things the way they are. You are right that getting people to participate is difficult. We are approaching 1000 members but our ballots and questions only netted 50 responses. I think when I got involved with the BOD in 2002 there were less than 600 members, no web site and little news in the magazine.

Let's see Richard in FL, Tom Hansen in NM, Claude in PA and more myself included couldn't find a sidecar rally nearby so we just started our own. It's fun and you get to meet a bunch of great people too. It can be very rewarding.

OK back to business planning folks!

Linda,

I am sorry to hear you are through with this thread because I for one would like to hear why you did join.

To your question I do not recruit everyone the same and the truth is I spend more time talking about sidecars than USCA. But I do ask if they are member. If they ask for more info that is when I tell them about “The Sidecarest”, the Rallies, and the website. When talking about the website I tell them up front that it is open to anyone but is paid for in part from the dues of USCA members. I am not into hard sales and have walk around the hot shot salesperson and have bought from the nice person.

Now on a personal note the main reason I joined USCA was when I first started think about a sidecar the people on sidecar dot com gave me the help and support that I could not find on my own. I did not want someone coming behind me to feel as alone as I did before I found the site and the people of USCA. And you know as I typed that two things just came to me that is also the reason I became Fla’s state rep and the other is I don’t tell a lot of people this. Hmm I just did tell a bunch. Lol.