Savvy business owners know their market and there is perhaps no savvier business owner than Anne Deli of Laconia Harley-Davidson.
I was absolutely convinced that the real hook for being able to speak to motorcylists visiting our state during Bike Week was the fact that State Business Recruiter Cindy Harrington and I would be in business suits on the back of Harleys. The juxtaposition of business attire amidst the sea of black leather would surely be an attention getter. Anne told me that it didn’t matter…..and she was right.
“You will never hear one Harley rider asking another Harley rider what he or she does for work….it doesn’t matter,” Anne said. “What matters are the motorcycles and the love of riding. That’s what binds all of our customers together.”
Still, the sight of two people in professional business attire on the back of Harleys must have been at least a little disconcerting, even if our fellow riders weren’t about to bring that fact to our attention. About the closest anyone came to asking about our non-traditional garb was a female biker who asked if I was a Jehovah’s witness.
What I was was a member of a two-person business recruitment team taking part in the “No Bull Business Run,” a motorcycle journey that left Laconia Harley-Davidson at 11 a.m. yesterday, wound its way to “Rally in the Valley” in North Conway and sped back to Laconia Harley later in the day. The purpose – to hand out collateral material regarding New Hampshire’s great business atmosphere and quality of life to visiting bikers, an upscale and affluent demographic ripe for our message about low taxes and Yankee independence.
As neither Cindy nor I are motorcyclists, we were led on our journey by Nick and Michelle from Laconia Harley, motorcycle enthuasiasts of the highest order. Accompanying us on the trip in a car were Laconia Harley’s Anne and Steve Deli, the most gracious hosts and partners we ever could have asked for, and Monica Bardier from Ping PR who was coordinating the public relations activities for the run.
What did we learn from the “No Bull Business Run”? We learned that riders love New Hampshire – they love visiting a state where the motto “Live Free or Die” still resonates, they love the natural beauty of a state that is traditionally named amongst the most livable and they love being able to shop in a state without a sales tax. We learned that visitors to our state enjoy our non-traditional approach to business recruitment – as one biker said, “This would have never happened in Massachusetts.” And what we also learned is that being on a Harley induces a state of euphoria that is unmatched – it was AWESOME.
As you might imagine, an undertaking of this kind requires a ton of planning and preparation, so much thanks is in order to the following: First and foremost Anne and Steve Deli, owners of Laconia Harley-Davidson (www.laconiaharley.com) and White Mountain Harley – this dynamic duo are two of the best business ambassadors the State has to offer; Michelle and Nick from Laconia Harley for keeping Cindy and I safe on the road; the entire staff of Laconia and White Mountain Harley – your friendliness and assistance was so greatly appreciated; Public Service of New Hampshire (and Pat McDermott in particular) for your generous sponsorship and partnership(www.psnh.com); Monica Bardier from Ping PR (www.mypingpr.com) for doing a masterful job coordinating all PR activities; Nancy Clark and the great gang over at the Glen Group (www.glengroup.com) for designing a kick….um…butt collateral piece for us to hand out – it’s a keeper!; to Meadowbrook U.S. Cellular Pavilion (www.meadowbrook.net) for the free concert tickets and backstage passes to Live and Candlebox – this offer made our collateral piece a hot commodity; to Deb Avery and Leslie Sherman from the Business Resource Center for expertly manning our booth at Laconia Harley; and to Division of Economic Development Interim Director Roy Duddy for trusting me enough to carry out the crazy ideas that bounce around my cranium.
Thanks also to the many bikers we met along the way yesterday. We love having you here as visitors and want you to return as business owners!
- Steve Boucher, Communications & Legislative Director
P.S. To see more photos of the “No Bull Business Run,” join our fan page on Facebook under “NH Economy.”