The popularity of middle-aged men getting on their bikes is growing. Wearing lurid jerseys, calf-hugging tights and going for a leisurely Sunday spin, they are as the acronym attests, mamils – middle-aged men in lycra. This community has been the uptake in the older generations. But what is the drive of being part of mamils?
Instead of basking in the joy and glory of cycling, bicycle trader, Koo You Lock proves us that having an unwavering profession and spending precious family bonding time are ultimately the significant things in his life.
Are these the only things a man needs in his life?
To Koo, it is an affirmative yes.
GRASPING THE NECESSITIES
Everyone is motivated by needs. Our basic needs are inborn, continuously evolving over the decades. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs argues that people aim to meet basic needs all the way to the highest level of needs. It still continues to have a strong influence on today’s business. Undeniably, this idea concerns an employer’s responsibility providing an environment that encourages and enables employees to fulfil their gratifications.
Meet shop owner, Koo, who is approaching fifty, enlightens us with the concept of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs with his experience in his 30-year business. It was in the late 60’s that Koo’s retired father established Lian Xin Enterprise, a shop that caters bicycle-related items for the town’s basic needs. Its multi-segmented service caters from electrical products, kitchen utensils and other goods that people in the Ledang Town need for their daily lives.
Dealing with the fundamental needs for its regular customers over the decades, Lian Xin Enterprise sells a large range of bicycle products varying from mountain, road and fat bicycles, kids’ bikes, accessories, components and cycling apparels at affordable prices.
Koo clearly knew that he was not passionate about running Lian Xin Enterprise, let alone an interest in bicycles. The opportunity to take over his retired father’s routines was nothing close to his ambition. “The handover in this business just automatically transpired, if I didn’t do it, the business had to be closed down. This was why I had to run it, to serve the community and profitability.” Koo explicated.
Having taken over his father’s line of business, he did not know a thing about the ins and outs, but learnt by observation throughout his teenage years by helping out in the shop. Despite Koo’s reluctance on following in his father’s footsteps, he had to agree as they needed earnings to sustain the food and shelter for the family as well as the “pride of continuing running the business”.
FEEDING THE NEEDS
When the family’s psychological needs are met, Koo’s attention turns to security and stability. Koo clinches his bargains through proper planning and resource accumulation.
“When there is a demand, I will supply. Give the customers the products they need, at the right time, place and price, selling will be done quite inevitably.” Koo explained his business scheme to us. Apart from selling bicycle-related products, Koo can interpret his customers’ basic needs, therefore offers a helpful basis by supplying household essentials.
Lian Xin Enterprise is a great reminder of benefiting others and a foundation of acquiring customers’ basics. During festive seasons such as Chinese New Year, Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Deepavali, Koo would reduce the quantities of bicycle-related products. Seemingly, Koo comprehends his seasonal business according to different periods.
“Customers need cooking appliances during the festive seasons and electrical goods for a makeover of their houses. Likewise, festivals are about offering warm embraces by striking alluring settings of blissed-out activities, for instance, visiting friends and relatives. You don’t sell bicycles to customers who are celebrating festivals! Conversely, bicycles and related products will be sold on the rest of the days.” Koo explained as he continued elaborating on salespeople from different distributors would have to fathom his style.
While illuminating his pricing strategy, Koo claimed that “I don’t have to set the prices high, because quantities matter more. With all the other products besides bicycles, customers come to my shop to buy things they need.”
Social needs become imperative when survival and safety needs are fulfilled. Once a person feels the sense of belonging, the needs for self-confidence, self-esteem and recognition arise. Earning a living being his ultimate purpose, Koo, however has frequent customers visiting his shop from other places which include Raub, Melaka and Penang for his cheaper charges. Koo believes that the amounts he charges for bicycle products are a lot lower than other concept stores. In a nutshell, he has gained a reputation amongst his customers.