5 Business lessons you can learn from a Motorcycle gang

image from THINKSTOCK

1. Branding

First off, for any gang, like any business, the name and the logo are paramount. The name needs to communicate the mission clearly. Sons of Anarchy, as an example, was the gang’s name used for the hit TV show, no longer on the air, of the same name. It says who they were. A company’s logo, or “the colors” for a gang, is a type of branding. The colors mean so much and are so important to a gang member, they will go to extreme measures to protect it.

2. Recruiting

The second most important step in building a strong business is hiring the best staff. For a motorcycle gang to survive, it has to recruit people with the “right stuff.” Being accepted into a gang is a very rigorous process. Hiring your staff should be a thorough process, too. Being a gang member or an employee of a company comes with responsibility -- and there is no room for weak links.

3. Attitude

Success is directly related to attitude. If a business owner has either a good or bad attitude toward anything in his or her life, it will show up their business.

However, attitude in an outlaw motorcycle gang is entirely different. A gang member has an image to up hold every time he rides his bike. To be taken seriously, he has to give up haircuts and laundry detergent. When he pulls up on that Harley, preceded by the loud thump, thump, thump of the V-twin engine, people anticipate a nefarious attitude. A biker has to replace his smile with a sneer. Of course in business, it’s the exact opposite.

4. Growth

As the old tenet proclaims, if the business is not growing -- it’s dying. A motorcycle club is always recruiting new members to grow the club. To get really big and have market dominance, gangs merge and sometimes acquire other gangs. Sometimes the takeovers go smoothly and all parties agree, but sometimes, there is a hostile takeover. Of course in a corporation, people are laid off -- not laid out!

5. Strategy

A great business plan or strategy is important in growing any business. There should be a mission statement in place and policies to govern the behaviour of staff members. Believe it or not, many outlaw motorcycle gangs have written ‘laws’ that the members must adhere to.

For instance, many gangs require members to ride only Harley-Davidson motorcycles. In addition, gangs even have a sort of dress code that really amounts to a uniform: steel-toed boots (cowboy boots are ok), wallet with a silver chain dangling, leather jacket with innumerable zippers, dark sunglasses and a tee shirt with a "provocative proverb" such as "Real Men Wear Black."


It probably does not occur to business owners that they can run their business by many of the principals of a motorcycle gang. Now maybe not go out and buy your staff boots, dark sunglasses and a leather jacket, but imagine if you were to use the BRAGS principle to build a brand so strong that your staff would be willing to have the company’s logo tattooed into their skin!



This article has been edited and condensed for the DI, originally on Entrepreneur by Tom Scarda