Passion into Profit

Mann University: Passion into Profit
By Leslie A Cunningham

We recently finished our January session of Mann University in beautiful Asheville, NC. We, in the Mann Group, always find ourselves amazed with the impact this training has on the managers and owners who attend.

Too often we find ourselves eager to tell retailers about this training, but wonder how to explain transformation!  How do you talk about those “a-ha” moments when a student really understands a new insight that is game-changing for their business?  With Asheville-based Mann University sessions set for February, March, April, May, and beyond, we have committed ourselves to finding out what about Mann University makes it so powerful.

First, a little history: 
Mann University was created to grow managers in the bike, run and outdoor industries. We believe that the manager is the single most influential position to retail success. Managers directly impact their store’s top line sales with their leadership.

But we found this funny trend in our client industries: most managers are promoted into their position because they were good at selling. Too often these great sales associates are not equipped with the leadership experience necessary to be successful as a great manager. This leads to store-wide frustration as a high-performing sales associate becomes a struggling manager. We believe the inherent passion and store-knowledge possessed by these new managers is helpful but they need skills, techniques and experience. Thus, Mann University was created.

“Mann University taught me how to turn my passion into profit.” -Ryan McGuire, Pedal Cycle, Mann University Graduate January 2015

Passion into Profit:   
Retail work is rarely pursed as a long-term career. More often we see people jumping into retail because they are following a personal passion. The trick is to work with that passion while providing experiential learning so the manager isn’t left to figure it out on their own. We are raising the standard in the industry, one company at a time, by helping managers become great managers and leaders.

We believe the best investment an owner can make is helping their managers become leaders who communicate authentically and identify their essential nature for building a team culture, which will in turn make a successful business. There are many reasons why good communication skills are vital when it comes to running a successful business.  Here are some of them:

1. Interaction among employees of a business builds an efficient team. If your manager doesn’t know how to address critical issues head-on, it will cost your business, costing you money.

2. A manager that communicates with authenticity creates a team that performs well in all departments and prevents misunderstandings between people in the workplace. When your manager is clearly communicating expectations to employees, everyone on staff is operating in the same way which creates constancy and efficient teamwork.

3. People who run a successful retail businesses know that the customer always comes first.It is the customer who brings in the profits. If your managers are lacking in communication skill with your employees, you will find out directly from the client and you will see it in the bottom line.

Mann University hosts all types of professionals: owners, general managers, sales directors of manufacturers and their sales representatives, principles and executives. “It’s growing, expanding, receiving rave reviews, and getting results,” Dan Mann said after one of our follow-up calls with our graduates. But rather than hear all about it from us, we thought you might like to see what our January graduates are saying:

“I know how to go back to work and communicate my expectations to my staff with confidence. I hate to admit that I was that manager who had employees who would show up late for work by 10 minutes, no big deal, but then the next staff meeting it happened again. By the third time, I just threw my hands up and let them figure it out rather than addressing the issue straight-on. I had become that manager who causes a big stink, but I didn’t know how to make things better. I had fixed the symptoms but not the problem. Now, I know how to make a relationship better while dealing with the problem.” –David Dorn, bicycleSPACE

“We needed consistency, confidence and technique with our business. As the GM, I didn’t know how to create that or have the time or resources. Mann University is the EVERYTHING training for managing consistency and is what we needed to create the foundation for our three stores.” –Dan J, The Bike Shop

“There is nothing out there to coach, train and give solid steps for immediate implementation like Mann University.” –Bruce Sawtelle, Takoma Bicycle

About the Mann Group


Since 2003, the Mann Group has guided hundreds of outdoor retailers to double-digit revenue increases through its targeted training programs, assessments and consulting services while steering manufacturers toward stronger brand identity and retailer partnerships. With a focus on the outdoor, cycling and running industries, The Mann Group’s in-depth knowledge of this market provides clients with unparalleled insight and custom business tools that achieve proven results.

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