Don DiCostanzo is the CEO of Pedego Electric Bikes. Don DiCostanzo is a thought leader, influencer and risk taker and provides the vision and energy that inspired the creation of Pedego Electric Bikes. Don DiCostanzo joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has awarded Pedego Electric Bikes as an Impact Company of 2019, and we are delighted to have Don join us for our Leader Round Table Interview. The Pedego Electric Bikes story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Don about his very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit but also put Don through our popular speed round as well.
Don, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview and answering some questions about leadership, your vision and your Pedego Electric Bikes.
1. Can you describe what the “elevator pitch” for Pedego Electric Bikes is?
Pedego Electric Bikes is the Number 1 electric bike brand in the United States. Our goals are to delight our customers and to empower our dealers to be successful. Our tagline says it all, “Hello, fun…”
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEOs just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
- Build a foundation with a brand strategy. Identifying your differentiation enables you to identify, leverage and profit from what makes your company or product unique.
- Understand your higher value. For example, at Pedego, we sell “Fun.” Riding Pedego bikes is fun. Being a Pedego store owner is fun. Our higher value is transforming lives with fun.
- Create alignment within your marketing touchpoints. Integrate your marketing touchpoints with the same messages across your website, digital marketing and social media accounts for each store.
- Create a consistent brand experience. In every customer touchpoint, whether it’s in person, on the phone or online, make sure you are delivering consistent experience. This helps build a raving fan base with unwavering brand loyalty.
- Delight your customers. Even with business products, strive to delight your customers, not just satisfy them.
- Maximize ambassador marketing. A happy customer will sell more products than your best salesperson. Ensure that your word-of-mouth marketing is stellar.
- Leverage the power of celebrity. Ask your celebrity customers to spread the word. A celebrity social post can go viral and give your business a big boost.
- Empower your distribution channel to succeed. Happy dealers make happy customers. In Pedego’s case, happy customers also become happy Pedego store owners.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as Pedego Electric Bikes, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
As an Apple devotee, I follow Steve Jobs’ adage to think different. Whatever the challenge, think about new ways to tackle it. For example, when we founded Pedego in 2008, we found that traditional bicycle stores did not want to carry electric bikes, so we followed the Apple model and created our own Pedego-branded stores. Today, having our stores sets us apart from other electric bike brands.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Pedego Electric Bikes, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
Creating raving fans is in our DNA. Everyone at our company, including our corporate team, regional staff and our Pedego store owners, know that delighting customers is our Number 1 goal.
5. What is the one overriding belief that Pedego Electric Bikes has about what it is doing?
We are dedicated to transforming our customers’ lives with delight and fun. Our bikes transform the lives of our bike owners, renters and those who take tours and go on Pedego vacations. People who had given up bike riding now have the freedom and fun of riding bikes. They can ride longer, farther and faster than they ever thought possible, zooming up hills and breezing through headwinds. Couples, families and friends can go on adventures, riding together without worrying about trying to stay together.
We also transform the lives of our Pedego-branded store owners, many of whom are in their second and third careers. Owning a Pedego store gives them a lifestyle career in which they can have the pleasure of delighting their customers.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, what do you do to keep up with the changes? What do you read to stay abreast of things?
Early each morning, I read my emails and engage with my social media to see what people are posting about Pedego. I read the Wall Street Journal, Bicycle Retailer and a variety of news and lifestyle magazines and blogs.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Pedego Electric Bikes?
I bound out of bed every day knowing that it will be a fun and good day. Having a positive attitude is key, even when there are huge challenges. I stay in shape by riding my Pedego electric bike, of course. I ride almost every day.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Shoe Dog, the story about Phil Knight’s start up and success of Nike, inspired me to push forward to build the Pedego brand to what it is today.
9. In one sentence, can you tell us what the most important thing about being a leader is?
Lead by example. Delighting our customers and empowering our dealers are mantras that I live by every single day. To stay in touch, I speak with customers and Pedego store owners every day. I visit every new Pedego store (150+ worldwide). I hear what our customers and dealers love about our bikes, what ideas they have and, most of all, how our bikes are transforming their lives with delight and healthy fun.
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as Pedego Electric Bikes?
Follow your passion — and use your experience, expertise and connections to build a successful company. When we founded Pedego, my partner Terry Sherry (Pedego CFO) and I were serial entrepreneurs, but neither of us had been in the bike or retail business. I utilized my knowledge as an automotive industry entrepreneur to run Pedego like a car company, which is unlike any other bicycle company. Terry uses his financial background to keep Pedego financially strong. And always, always, always pay it forward. Be kind, be charitable, and give back to help others be successful.
Don, we would like to have some fun and do our famous “First Reaction” round with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only.
Here you go!
1. In three words or less, what makes a successful CEO?
Passion, Drive, Intuition
2. Describe Pedego Electric Bikes in one word?
3. Describe Pedego Electric Bikes customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee for Pedego Electric Bikes?
Desire — to delight Pedego customers and empower Pedego store owners to be successful
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about Pedego Electric Bikes?
6. In three words or less, describe your Pedego Electric Bikes?
Fun, delightful, empowering
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Unwavering devotion and courage
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Pedego Electric Bikes?
Exciting, surprising and empowering
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Motivated by motivating others
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Don DiCostanzo, thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Impact Player Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others to learn more about your company and what it takes to be a leader. We wish you, your family and, of course, Pedego Electric Bikes nothing but the best. Thanks again!
The Don DiCostanzo Roundtable Interview brought to you by DotCom Magazine.