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Business Plan-Input needed
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Joyce
Posted 8/4/2007 1:12 PM (#28053)
Subject: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 3023
Location: St. Joseph,MO
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?
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ignatious
Posted 8/4/2007 5:10 PM (#28067 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 66
Location: Harbor, Oregon
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.
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RichardMc4
Posted 8/5/2007 3:03 PM (#28118 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
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
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OlBroad
Posted 8/5/2007 4:01 PM (#28122 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Location: Riverside, Ca
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

Edited by OlBroad 8/5/2007 8:28 PM
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OlBroad
Posted 8/5/2007 4:50 PM (#28128 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Location: Riverside, Ca
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
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Joyce
Posted 8/5/2007 4:57 PM (#28129 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 3023
Location: St. Joseph,MO
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.
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Al Olme
Posted 8/5/2007 6:46 PM (#28134 - in reply to #28128)
Subject: RE: Business Plan


Posts: 1732
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
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.

Edited by Al Olme 8/5/2007 6:51 PM
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OlBroad
Posted 8/5/2007 7:41 PM (#28141 - in reply to #28134)
Subject: RE: Business Plan



Location: Riverside, Ca
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

Edited by OlBroad 8/5/2007 8:10 PM
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Joyce
Posted 8/5/2007 8:37 PM (#28147 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 3023
Location: St. Joseph,MO
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!


Edited by Joyce 8/5/2007 8:55 PM
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RichardMc4
Posted 8/5/2007 9:18 PM (#28149 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
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.
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OlBroad
Posted 8/5/2007 9:30 PM (#28151 - in reply to #28147)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Location: Riverside, Ca
Originally written by Joyce on 8/5/2007 8:37 PM

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 and even I 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!

First off. Tom Hansen is an amazing stand up guy who has my total respect. He put on one hell of a fantastic rolling rally (Butterfly Rally III) my first of many in the future in years to come if he'll have me back. Best folks, great times. It was not a sanctioned Rally if I'm not mistaken. A Fabulous Time had by all.

Joyce, I posted originally to Richard just to try to get information for when a member does come across other sidecarist's and suggest they join USCA and they ask WHY, what should be the response (I haven't figured it out yet myself and I am a member)? Poor Richard never got a word in yet, my apologies to Richard for the down hill slide). Joyce, I also asked you the same thing one nite on Chat nite and did not get a response other than (QUOTE: you get a magazine END QUOTE). I'm looking for some detail as to truly what is the value to a member for joining this organization. It is a totally valid question and should not be a shock that someone is asking it. Having an individual write a book with the majority of it with negative overtones it was required to be put back in so I could respond by paragraph, I don't' get talked down to and slither away quietly. You know Joyce, I speak my mind.

Regarding your comment about having that many members (1000) and you only have a handful that participate in any discussion and only 50 responses back on your ballots out of 1000 tells you something. Me personally, I completely overlooked the ballot in the magazine (someone had to point it out to me just the other day) or I would have sent it in, trust me...... Why such a pitiful response? Well, that is for the BOD to figure out regarding non participation, but first the BOD need to listen to what people are saying.
Yes, he got my back up. I'm not shy when somebody decides that standing up to his pulpit talking down to me is okay. When an individual asks questions, (which everyone should) and gets that kind of a response, it doesn't make you want to participate, now does it. It's too bad, my questions were to help understand what this organization is all about and be able to in turn explain to others. So much for that. It started positive, went down hill quick. It's not my thing to be talked down too, twice won't happen. AND more importantly, your organization certainly doesn't need it. Their is such potential in a group like this, participation is critical. No handful of folks makes for a strong organization. My babbling is done for now.

Regards

Linda


Edited by OlBroad 8/5/2007 10:02 PM
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OlBroad
Posted 8/5/2007 9:47 PM (#28153 - in reply to #28149)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Location: Riverside, Ca
Originally written by RichardMc4 on 8/5/2007 7:18 PM<BR><BR>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.


I owe you a response Richard. I'm sorry your thread went down hill, it was for positive reasons I asked the questions of you.

Why I joined? That is a good question I have asked myself a lot lately. I couldn't come up with a reason why I joined. I felt some sense of obligation for using this website possibly. I even now can't give you a reason why I should stay personally. In Southern California it does not benefit me from the answers I've gotten. Riding 2000 miles for a rally isn't reasonable, the magazine is of no real benefit, although I enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but does it get my rig down the road safer, no, does this organization help support legislation through ABATE to support our sport, no. I'm still pondering it all. But even with that, I make sure to suggest and direct folks interested to the website. Very informative I must say.

Richard, good luck with your Florida group I wish you the best I'm on your DL and enjoy hearing your positive news on your 07' rally, and plans for the 08' event.

Linda
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Al Olme
Posted 8/5/2007 10:23 PM (#28157 - in reply to #28153)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 1732
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
I certainly didn't want to cut off discussion or "slam" anyone. It seems that the basic idea wasn't understood. I posted the thing about color in The Sidecarist to get input about what the members wanted. Flip responded to the Business Plan post and we started to get input. Then I saw the "What do I get for being a member?" post and tried to answer that question. It wasn't meant to be personally directed to anyone but rather to provide my outlook and explain why I joined. At my age sidecaring has given me a lot. It has me interested in something again and it's given me something to work for. The sport is very important to me and therefore the USCA is important to me. Six years ago we hadn't had elections in over ten years, we had no resources and the BOD met once a year for about an hour. Nothing got done and we had less than $3 in the bank. We've survived that and now we're trying to get better and deliver more value to the members. What form that value should take is what we are trying to figure out. You didn't think much of the new paper but the response of most of our members has been overwhelmingly positive. I'm personally not wild about the idea of color but the BOD voted to give it a try. I guess that's it, we're trying. The USCA needs folks who agree with what the BOD does and we need folks who DON'T agree. If it weren't for diferences in opinion, no progress would ever be made.

We've done a lot in the past six years and we want to do more. If you will stick in here and tell us what you want it will be a positive contribution to the effort. I'm truely sorry that you took this personally, it was not my intent.
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claude #3563
Posted 8/6/2007 11:19 PM (#28222 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 2471
Location: Middleburg, Pa
Joyce wrote:
>>It's fun and you get to meet a bunch of great people too.<<

This is THE key to ongoing sucess. Have fun and meet likeminded people.
If the ones within the USCA who are on the BOD can recoginize this members will come and will renew yearly.
After a much needed rebirth or revival of the USCA a few years ago the potential of the organaization is very high compared an all time low near death experience. Growing pains are what this thread relates to. To grow food is required and from what I have read here the board is open to receive some seeds of thought. This should be encouraging.
Folks, sidecaring is a great pastime for many reasons. The main reason comes down to the people. This pastime is about people. It is people who have sidecars. It is people who have an interest in others who have sidecars. How simple is that?
What should be promoted then? Right.....People and sidecars!
Who are the people? They are present and future sidecarists. They are those who have been in the sport for years and those who potentially may be interested in coming into the sport. What are their wants and needs? Well, to me comeraderie and education are huge issues. Sidecar.com has helped on both fronts and a good start has been developed here.
The USCA needs to focus on the continued support of sidecarists and the sport. They need to be the 'good guy' in the sport and promote that image and that image alone. Promotion of the USCA itself will be the fruits of these types of efforts along with the support of the organization. Word of mouth is and will be the best marketing approach.
The age old example of reaping what is sown holds true. Seeds sown of support will reap harvests of support.
We are all in this together. If the USCA BOD will make a comitment to support sidecaring in general and become the good guy that all look to for support throughout the sidecar world the aquisition and retention of members will be the result. No it is not what we can do for the USCA that counts but what the USCA can do to encourage and support sidecarsits all over that matters. If THAT image is obtained then the results will be a win win situation for all.
Be THE good guy!
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RichardMc4
Posted 8/7/2007 9:22 AM (#28234 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
OK here is my shot at trying to get this post back on track. Lol.

I know that I am one of those nuts that like to see my name in print maybe not all people are as ego driven as I am. Two of the things that will keep me hanging around is someone saying “Welcome” and “good job.” Yes I get a lot of that but I am talking about the new members and the people that got them here. Here in Fla I send out a letter to the new members, as do some other State reps. I am going to start a new section in our Fla news letter to say something about them. Maybe the Sidecarest can do the same?

Now here is the part I will need help with if the membership application form had a place for where/who the new person heard of USCA. I know this would help me as a State rep and would think it would help the Board to know what/who is bringing in new members.

I know a lot of my re-plies have been of getting the membership up and not about new benefits for members but it is my feelings that as the membership grows then the other will come.

This is a good place for me to say Thank you to Joyce for starting this post and to the other Board members that are reading it. It shows me that the board does care.

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Joyce
Posted 8/7/2007 9:54 AM (#28235 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 3023
Location: St. Joseph,MO
That is a good idea Richard. At one time Al Roach said that almost all of the new member applications were printed from the website. I haven't requested that info from him recently. I'm not sure we need to track this in our database but it could be easily included in your new member emails.

Thank you
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RichardMc4
Posted 8/7/2007 12:24 PM (#28239 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 1141
Location: Williston, Fl
Hmm that most of the applications were printed from the website does not surprises me. Even when I personally hand someone something printer (tri-fold, The Sidecarest, etc) that has an application I point out the web site as a place for more info. What I was looking for was a bit more. How did they find us (USCA or sidecar dot com) I found you with a web search.

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Al Olme
Posted 8/7/2007 2:50 PM (#28247 - in reply to #28239)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 1732
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Originally written by RichardMc4 on 8/7/2007 12:24 PM

Hmm that most of the applications were printed from the website does not surprises me. Even when I personally hand someone something printer (tri-fold, The Sidecarest, etc) that has an application I point out the web site as a place for more info. What I was looking for was a bit more. How did they find us (USCA or sidecar dot com) I found you with a web search.




Richard,

That's probably the say most folks have found us in the past few years. There is some history here too. For a LONG time the USCA couldn't afford to have a website and Doug Bingham had the site hosted at his expense. That was good for the USCA and good for Doug because the domain "sidecar.com" is doubtless the best domain any sidecar related enterprize could have. Doug tied that to the Sidecar Industry Council [SIC] and on through to his own website at Sidestrider. Not every sidecar manufacturer is a member of the SIC and in fact some folks in the business didn't want anything to do with the club and cited our "close ties" to the SIC and Doug. Also, we were having a bit of a struggle getting things updated on our site because the SIC web admin had to do everything and they were charging Doug for every change.

All in all it was deemed better that we went on our own. After that time it took us a while to get up to speed again but now we are back stronger than ever. For the first couplle of years the web site was sponsored by a private donor but the club was able to take it over and it is supported now by dues and advertising.

I feel that one of our goals should be to find ways to leverage our greatest exposure, sidecar.com. I believe that you mentioned a private members only space. That is doable but what would we put there that we didn't want to share with all sidecarists? I think it is a great idea; now we need a way to implement it and that includes content. Anybody got any ideas?
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thekid
Posted 8/7/2007 4:36 PM (#28249 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 73
Location: Paducah,Tx
I was going to stay out of this being I'm not a member, but after Joyce's posting on the Wax thread (I thought upkeep was part of game) I will tell you why I'm not a member then sign off for good. About 18 months ago I was thinking of getting a sidecar for my bike, and came across this web site. A lot of good folks here and I received the info I needed to make the decision and help with the set up.Thanks to all. I've been riding since the late 50's. I never belonged to an organization, one of the few organization I've belong to was the U.S. Military. Only been to one rally and one poker run. My wife and I do most things alone, but thought this might be a fun group to get involved with. Started looking in 2 or 3 times a day. I had some concern about the number of links to X rated sites. Contacted Joyce about it in a personal message, and basicly got back that she had a blocker on her computer and I shoud do the same. We went to the 2006 rally and had a fun time, met some real nice people both members and non. The BOD was a whole different story! When either of us tried to get info. about the USCA thay were too busy, that included the TX. rep. but seemed to have more then enough time to socialize with each other. I will tell you up front my wife and I both drink. One of my concerns was about the USCA having a night run to a night club.Was told we didn't have to go. But if somthing bad had happened as a member would we have been as liable as every one else? The USCA lost two possible member that weakend.

Henry and June Michael, Paducah TX.
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tkpinsc
Posted 8/7/2007 5:28 PM (#28256 - in reply to #28249)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 425
Location: Columbia, SC
In the last 18 months you have posted 76 times, visited the website 2 to 3 times a day, got good information so you could make informed decisions and attended a national rally where you had a fun time and met some real nice folks, both members and non-members. Sounds like enough tire kicking to decide if a membership is worth $30 a year.

I was not present so I do not know the situation with your request for information, what information you needed or who you asked for it.

I do know that as this year's volunteer rally chair I worked 4 straight 16hr days so both members and non-members could enjoy themselves equally, and I suspect 2006 was no different for the rally staff then. I know several folks were discouraged I did not have the personal time to spend with them that they and I would have liked, but time simply did not exist to do so.

Some members of the board are close friends and only have the yearly national to socialize with each other and are not there in a working or volunteer capacity.

Edited by tkpinsc 8/7/2007 5:33 PM
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Posted 8/7/2007 6:03 PM (#28261 - in reply to #28256)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


OMG. I walked away from my computer at least three times shaking my head, telling myself butt out Linda, but I just can't sit back. I am sure your efforts are truly appreciated, BUT.... Have you any idea how that last paragraph sounds to the readers of this site, members or potential members.
IT SPEAKS VOLUMES, UNBELIEVABLE


[Quote: Some members of the board are close friends and only have the yearly national to socialize with each other and are not there in a working or volunteer capacity. EndQuote]

Originally written by tkpinsc on 8/7/2007 5:28 PM

In the last 18 months you have posted 76 times, visited the website 2 to 3 times a day, got good information so you could make informed decisions and attended a national rally where you had a fun time and met some real nice folks, both members and non-members. Sounds like enough tire kicking to decide if a membership is worth $30 a year.

I was not present so I do not know the situation with your request for information, what information you needed or who you asked for it.

I do know that as this year's volunteer rally chair I worked 4 straight 16hr days so both members and non-members could enjoy themselves equally, and I suspect 2006 was no different for the rally staff then. I know several folks were discouraged I did not have the personal time to spend with them that they and I would have liked, but time simply did not exist to do so.

Some members of the board are close friends and only have the yearly national to socialize with each other and are not there in a working or volunteer capacity.


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Joyce
Posted 8/7/2007 6:34 PM (#28264 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Posts: 3023
Location: St. Joseph,MO
Gosh Linda, I thought for sure you were going to ask where to find the x-rated links. Actually Back when, two or three folks went to the user list and started clicking links there. When you sign up you have the option to add a link to your web site and sure enough there were a bunch of things there that didn't belong. I am happy to report that I have gone through all 3400+ users and every morning I log on and dump out the new ones. BUT if I have missed any, just let me know the user name and it'll be gone. These folks usually don't use a valid email address so they never actually log on to the site.
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Posted 8/7/2007 6:40 PM (#28266 - in reply to #28264)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Joyce, I don't find your comment humorous, but only trying to divert attention from my post doesn't change anything. You have totally missed my point, I made no reference to x-rated links, nor would I. Go back and re-read please.
Originally written by Joyce on 8/7/2007 6:34 PM

Gosh Linda, I thought for sure you were going to ask where to find the x-rated links. Actually Back when, two or three folks went to the user list and started clicking links there. When you sign up you have the option to add a link to your web site and sure enough there were a bunch of things there that didn't belong. I am happy to report that I have gone through all 3400+ users and every morning I log on and dump out the new ones. BUT if I have missed any, just let me know the user name and it'll be gone. These folks usually don't use a valid email address so they never actually log on to the site.


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tkpinsc
Posted 8/7/2007 7:06 PM (#28267 - in reply to #28053)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed


Posts: 425
Location: Columbia, SC
I know exactly how it sounds, and I stand by it.

The board is run by volunteers, who pay their memberships like all other members. If they have chosen to go to the national, and board members pay admission, just like any other member at the rally, they have the option of volunteering to work the rally, just as all the other members present have the option of volunteering, or not. Why should they not be able to spend some personal time with friends they see once a year? I don't know all the board members individually, but I do know many. The ones I know would not ignore a question or opportunity to promote the USCA unless involved in a private conversation during non volunteer time. The person complaining about the lack of attention from the board member and state rep has stated they benefited from the web-site, attended the rally, met many folks and had a good time, has not seen fit to join and pay dues to help the club exist, but complains about a lack of personal attention from a board member while the board member was spending personal time with a friend. I wasn't there so will never know the details, but board members and state reps are unpaid volunteers, who make the web-site, rallies and Sidecarist happen. They are not 24/7 servants to the club, even when at a club function.

------------

This thread is about how the club should plan to evolve in the future to best serve the members and the sport of sidecaring.

The very nature of the USCA is it will probably always provide the most value to non-members. It is often the first non brand biased source of information about the sport folks find. Hack'd and scttalk are the other two that come to mind. It is unlikey someone picking up their first copy of the Sidecarist at a motorcycle event, stumbling upon the website, or attending their first sidecar rally will be a member. It would be hard to change this fact of life without becoming a closed society, which is counter to the purpose of the USCA. This is a similar to most special interest organizations.

Some folks have joined the club and volunteered to serve in various ways to payback the folks who came before us and will come after us who provided in the past and will provide in the future the volunteer efforts required to provide the information to newcomers through the web, host the functions where we gather, and write the articles in the Sidecarist. This is the essence of a service club. Others join to have a say in how things are done so they can help move the club towards becoming the organization they would like it to be. Some just think the Sidecarist is neat and a good value for $25. Still others realize the $25 helps keep the website running, pays the postage for the Sidecarist and insurance for the national and several regional rallies.

I benefited most from the USCA before I was a member, while I was searching for information to purchase, assemble and operate my first rig. Now as an experienced sidecarist I feel a responsibility to pay back the sport and the USCA by helping the next new guy looking for information, and helping with the national rallies, so others can relax as I have at the many functions where I sat back and had fun while learning more about the sport.

Many of the suggestions are quite good and I'm sure we (the board) will try to implement as many as possible.

Others who are asking what is in it for them, and what do they get for their $25 don't and probably will never understand the true value of belonging to a club such as the USCA and the personal gratification that can be had by paying back others for the good they have received and will continue to receive from the organization they are part of. Those that complain about the lack of activities in their area are always welcome to volunteer to change that by sponsoring an event of their own. That happened at least twice just last year with the new Florida rally and the Nortwest rally. Others who lament the lack of volunteers at any given event are always welcome to volunteer as well.

Edited by tkpinsc 8/7/2007 7:42 PM
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OlBroad
Posted 8/7/2007 7:50 PM (#28269 - in reply to #28267)
Subject: RE: Business Plan-Input needed



Location: Riverside, Ca
tkpnic, I took this off-line and sent you a mail note. Linda
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