What are the primary things you wish you would have known before starting your business? I knew what to expect about RUNNING A COMPANY based on my 15+ years of upper management in our same industry. What I was surprised about is how difficult it can be to OWN A COMPANY and thus, be responsible to raise the money (and the banking relationships) necessary to launch a capital intensive business.
Are there any skills or classes you wish you would have taken in school or training before you entered this venture? If so, what were they? I do not have a college degree. I regret that I did not stay in school and earn my undergraduate. I would love to take some high level MBA type classes today (or go to law school), but these all require a 4-year undergraduate, which I do not have. Stay in School! Read everything you can!
What was the biggest obstacle you had in starting your business? Money. People that doubted me and criticized me. What I DID HAVE was an amazing group of people who supported me and prayed for me continually. This made all the difference in the world.
What got you interested in your business? I love the car business because of the huge opportunity our industry has to improve its bruised image. I like the challenge of changing the perceptions people have about our industry. I also fell in love with our industry because I felt like most people do not aspire to be in the car business, and it created a real opportunity for me to succeed.
What are the biggest challenges? Currently the biggest challenges in business is the lack of financing, both in the areas of business owners being able to borrow funds for expansion, inventory and facilities; as well as the tightening of funds availability on consumers seeking automobile loans to purchase vehicles.
How is the economy affecting your business? It isn’t. We just came off of the most amazing year possible. We were the #1 selling Suzuki dealership in the USA for 2009 (out of 380 dealers). We took a vote and decided to not participate in any economic downturn, thus we set our goals and worked daily to accomplish them. We HAD TO do well. We really had not other options. The Lord really Blessed us!
What things do you continue to learn in running your business? That people are the most important thing. If you put people first, then everything else will fall into place. One of my favorite quotes: Love People and Use Money, INSTEAD OF Love Money and Use People (God’s way vs. the Worlds way).
What are the biggest concerns within the next five years? I do not worry about things outside of my control. My concerns revolve around my personal attitude, health and vision. I always have to remember to pray before I act and I always have to remind myself to take enough time to study and think about our business.
How do you deal with slow times when there is not much business? We are an active business. We do not wait for things to happen, we make things happen. We are on the cutting edge of Internet, Social Media, Leads, and Marketing; all of these items allow for our store to ALWAYS be active and busy.
What advice you wish you would have listened to that you would pass on to me? Try to make money doing something you Love to do and are passionate about instead of working in a job or business you hate just to make a paycheck.