The Athlete365 Business Accelerator can challenge your understanding of what a business can be.
Since participating in the programme, Eligio Cervantes has learned that creating more social impact can be good for business.
Eligio’s mentors helped improve his social media presence, and his cycling business is now thriving. Sign up to Athlete365 and start your own journey.
I’ve been running my bike shop, KINEIN3T, in Tulancingo since 2009, but it was when I joined the Athlete365 Business Accelerator that things really started taking off for me. During my career as a triathlete, I hadn’t really thought about what I wanted to do next. This meant that, in many ways, I stumbled into becoming a business owner. I didn’t really have the knowledge needed to ensure my business not only existed, but thrived.
This year has been one of ups and downs, as it has for most people. At the beginning of the year, I had a firm plan in place for where I wanted to take my business, branching out into other areas while continuing to promote a positive cycling culture in my town. Regrettably, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, things changed quickly and drastically. But on the other hand, through the Athlete365 Business Accelerator, I have been working closely with my mentors, Carlos and Diego, who have helped to guide me through these treacherous times and really highlighted how I could adapt to the situation.
In gear for social change
Coming into 2020, my business was in a wonderful position, and that is in no small part down to the work I have been able to do with the support of the Athlete365 Business Accelerator. Since I signed up, I have gone through the initial online course, attended a workshop in New York, which fundamentally changed my understanding of what a business could be, and received six months of accelerated mentoring from business experts.
My main takeaway has been how much of a social impact we can have as Olympians running a business. Of course, most ventures aim to make money, but we are not limited to that. I now think of KINEIN3T as a platform through which I can really drive positive social change in my town and on a wider scale.
Learning from different perspectives
I have been fortunate enough to be able to work with not just one mentor, but two, who both offer different perspectives and areas of expertise. They have played key roles in pushing me to ensure my company continues to grow and also overcome the many challenges that we have had to face in 2020.
For instance, one of my tutors specialises in social media, which I didn’t have much experience in, especially with regard to using it as a tool to develop brand recognition. Since speaking with this tutor, I have tried to develop my skills in this area and now post tips on social media for those starting to learn how to cycle, as well as advice on bike safety and the importance of wearing a helmet for the wider public.
Adapting to an unexpected situation
The pandemic has seen the use of alternative modes of transport, including bicycles, skyrocket across the world. It has become one of the go-to ways to get around and, crucially, is a way to exercise while sports centres, gyms and other indoor facilities are shut. With all this in mind, we had to think about what new objectives we could set to take advantage of this rapid surge in demand.
One key change that has long been discussed with my mentors has been moving the shop to a new location. This wasn’t set within a specific timeframe, but I am now close to signing the contract to move my business to a more centrally located and larger space, in order to cope with the rising demands of the sector and increase our exposure. Another development that was pushed through faster than expected to adapt to the pandemic was installing new software on our systems, which will help with shop management and sales to make the whole process more consistent throughout the business.
Looking back, we had one clear vision for where the business was going and how to get there, but we had to wipe the slate clean and start all over again. It has been a very interesting yet difficult process, but I’m very happy with how we have handled it so far.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY HAS BEEN HOW MUCH OF A SOCIAL IMPACT WE CAN HAVE AS OLYMPIANS RUNNING A BUSINESS.