“Educate don’t dictate” With Morgan Cote of Pedal Pub

Educate don’t dictate: I personally don’t learn well from being told what to do. Show me once or let me figure it out and that job will…

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Educate don’t dictate: I personally don’t learn well from being told what to do. Show me once or let me figure it out and that job will get done. But barking orders and micromanaging is no way to go.

I had the pleasure to interview Morgan Cote. Morgan started in the hospitality industry when she was 14 years old at a small local pizza joint in Auburn, NH. She worked her way up from flipping pizzas to the General Manager position at a high-volume restaurant in Naples, FL. She aspired her whole life to be her own boss and has always worked extremely hard to get to where she is today as the owner and operator of a Pedal Pub franchise.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

· I was working as a bartender at a local brewery and a patron of mine had mentioned our neighborhood was lacking a fun activity and we should bring a Pedal Pub here. That night I went home and researched what this crazy idea of Pedal Pub was and instantly fell in love. The next day I met with my best friend, and now business partner, and shared the idea with him. Less than a month later, we brought two bikes to the community and the rest is history.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

· I think the most interesting story is how we started this journey — just two best friends coming up with crazy ideas over beer and good times! Every Monday, my business partner Colin and I would get together and have “Marvel Monday” with some beers, but that Monday in particular, I had a crazy look in my eye and the crazy idea to start my own business.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

· The funniest lesson would have to be when we first got the bikes delivered on a flatbed 18-wheeler to my front door. The driver didn’t have ramps to unload it and we had no idea how to even drive the bikes. We ended up making ramps to unload them ourselves and then learned really quick how to drive them. This was a great learning lesson on what not to do when loading and unloading the bikes.

Honestly, from day one everything was a learning experience. You can try to write a handbook on this business, but predicting human behavior is where things get challenging. Over time you’re able to adapt and learn different strategies to ensure your business is operating as efficiently and effectively as possible. We know that with every challenge we face, we are supported by the corporate office and are better preparing ourselves and our business for the future — learn from everything.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

· What makes Pedal Pub SW Florida stand out from the rest is the ownership. Colin and I are a dynamic match, a non-stop team and constantly evaluating the business and trying to make it better and grow. We started as a licensee and now are one of the first owners to transition into a Pedal Pub franchise — this has been a journey within itself. We knew we wanted to expand our footprint and grow our business. Now, with the ongoing support of Pedal Pub, we are able to do so strategically with a national brand backing us.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

· We recently changed our name from Naples Pubcycle to Pedal Pub SWFlorida. We chose to do so because we are in the process of expanding into Cape Coral, then we hope to expand towards Fort Myers. We wanted to encompass the whole SWFlorida territory and grow. This is what is great about franchising — the ability to grow, expand territories and become stronger business owners.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

· I think being a female owner is difficult in any industry women step into. It hasn’t been easy and there will always be hurdles when opening your own business whether you’re a male or female. I am an extremely hard worker and so far, there hasn’t been a challenge I haven’t accepted and/or met. But, for my fellow “#LadyBosses” out there, don’t lose sight of the end goal, continue to kick butt, stay humble and don’t be stifled by the higher hurdles that we are forced to face. Jump in with grace and humility and show people that nothing can stop us.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a team?

· The best advice I can give any leader is to lead by example. There isn’t a job that I would make any of my co-workers do that I wouldn’t do myself. Yes, at the end of the day I am the “boss” and they are the “employee,” but we are all here for the common goal of success and the key to being a good boss is to not micromanage, and to work as a team.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

· I owe a large portion of my success to my parents. They instilled a strong work ethic and I was taught at a young age to never give up on things. They have been by my side this entire journey and truly help me stay grounded and focused.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

· At Pedal Pub SWFlorida, we donate to a lot to local and national charities. For our one-year anniversary party, we donated a portion of our proceeds to Visuality Florida, which is a local chapter for the LGBTQ+ community. We aren’t just a Pedal Pub that has beer and good times, we want to use our giant bike for good, too. We also like to donate a tour or the bike for a day to a charitable cause and help raise not only money but awareness on certain issues.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

· Be open to change: just because your business plan says one thing doesn’t mean tomorrow can’t bring new ideas and opportunities. Originally, we thought we were just going to be a Naples branch, but then we decided we wanted more.

· Stay humble: in business, there will always be people trying to knock you down. My theory is to just smile, nod and prove everyone wrong. Everyone (aside from my parents and best friend) told me I was crazy for starting this business in this area — look at me now.

· More than one solution: every problem always has more than one solution. Just because you think it’s the right way doesn’t always mean it’s the only way.

· Educate don’t dictate: I personally don’t learn well from being told what to do. Show me once or let me figure it out and that job will get done. But barking orders and micromanaging is no way to go.

· Don’t be afraid to ask for help: I must constantly remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in one day and an Empire has more than one person. Delegating tasks to employees and coworkers is simply working smarter not harder. When we first started, I was the only employee and the Owner/Operator, so my days were long and endless. I noticed that trying to do everything myself was ultimately hurting the business.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

· I was always taught to do unto others as though you want done to yourself. Nobody is perfect and life has some funny turns it takes us on, but I always try to keep things in perspective and put myself in others’ shoes.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

· I would absolutely love to sit down and pick Ellen DeGeneres’ brain. The way she has built her brand and remained humble throughout her course is inspiring. She cares about humanity and everyone’s well-being; has a great time and knows how to run a successful company. Plus, being a gay female business owner myself in today’s society definitely has some hurdles, so I would love to have some extra tips and insight on how she was able to break the glass ceiling.

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