Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing, LLC
William S Beres
Chinese dragon boat races aren’t something you expect to see in Knoxville, Tennessee. But Penny Behling and her business partner were passionate about racing the 46-foot-long, canoe-type boats shaped like dragons, so in 2005 they launched Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing. The company rents out dragon boats and organizes races as fund-raisers for nonprofit organizations, which recruit corporate teams to race.
Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing got off to a swift start, but by 2009, was treading water. The company was in debt, and Behling’s partner wanted out due to family issues. “We were already hit by the recession, and losing one partner was a huge shift,” Behling recalls. “I felt like I was starting over, and I needed guidance.”
SCORE mentor William Beres helped Behling rethink her business model. Instead of producing events and handling every detail herself, he urged her to step back and focus on selling her expertise. Today Dynamic Dragon Boat Racing rents out boats and provides limited services, but clients manage the day-to-day logistics themselves.
Beres also advised Behling to expand her use of independent contractors. She and her husband now run the business with two independent contractors who handle project management and finances. To run the races, “Bill encouraged me to get as many local contractors as possible trained to save on costs,” Behling says. Thanks to referrals from trusted local contractors, the Behlings have a roster of 30 to 40 contractors nationwide.
The changes Beres suggested have given Behling freedom to focus on the future. “I can think about where I want to be one year, two years or five years down the road, rather than feeling like I’m always behind and trying to catch up.”
From six boats and five regional races per year in 2009, Dynamic Dragon Racing has grown to 16 boats and 18 events per year, and raised $600,000 for charities in the first five months of 2014. Within a few years, Behling hopes to double the number of events and start manufacturing and selling dragon boats.
Mass Mutual is not associated with, and does not endorse, the business featured.