Ask An Entrepreneur: Ed Mondello

Mondello’s bikes, sold all over the world, are low-to-the-ground, lightweight wonders that let new riders skip training wheels and go straight to gliding fast and having fun. What’s Mondello’s game plan to keep his ever-so-cool bikes on top? Always being ready to change his game plan.

I work for myself because . . . I’m not really one for being regimented, putting in x hours to get x result. I’ve had the standard 9 to 5 job, but that really didn’t fit my creativity and personality. Sometimes I get my best ideas at halftime.

When I hit a roadblock . . . I look at the problem from as many angles as possible to figure out how to get over, around, under or through the wall. Sometimes I can solve it on my own, or I have other entrepreneurs I can ask for input. It’s an ongoing process. I think, “What do we need to overcome, and what’s the least painful way to do it?” There’s always a solution. Sometimes money is the quickest answer, but that isn’t always viable, especially over the long term. You can’t always throw money at a problem.

The best risk I’ve taken is . . . definitely starting Glide Bikes. I never knew how far I would go when I started this business. I knew I had a compelling idea, but I also knew it wasn’t a profitable endeavor the way I was doing it, building them in my garage – the numbers didn’t add up. So it was a matter of figuring out how to get profitable, get production costs down.

The most surprising thing that’s happened is . . . that the world would embrace the idea of balance bikes so strongly -- and that we would have so much competition. When we started, I thought we had this little niche market and that we’d be the only one out there, but we’ve had everyone nipping at our heels. Many companies are making a version of the balance bike now. It’s a challenge to differentiate our bikes and our brand now that there are so many other versions available.

Change is . . . a constant part of our business. We’re constantly adapting. Product development is something we’re always looking into.

I’m driven by . . . my goal to get everyone on bikes, whether it’s an adult, and older person, a child, a special-needs kid. It’s really rewarding for us to allow someone who couldn’t ride a bike to learn how.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is . . . I’d rather give some advice: don’t let people tell you something can’t be done. The more people tell me I shouldn’t do something the more it makes me want to prove them wrong.

Is your business ready if things change? An emergency fund can provide peace of mind when the unexpected happens. 

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