It seems that all of the best retail auto folks, both traditional and Internet, go through a metamorphic change at some point in their careers. They’ve heard all of the bellyaching of their coworkers, and got sick of watching people mail-it-in month after month. It’s the time they had that epiphany about never settling for average. It’s the time that they realize that they’re not really an employee, but a business owner.
As a person who has launched several different products and services, I can tell you that starting a business from scratch is hard. Like swimming the English Channel hard. There are people to hire, and lots of things to acquire. Even when a carefully scripted business plan gets laid out, it often gets chucked out the window after the first six weeks. Hidden expenses pile up, and widgets take twice as much time to develop. Handshake agreements fall apart, and suppliers go out of business. Markets change quickly, and competition can be fierce. Performance milestones must be met, or capital can dry up. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Now imagine starting your own business, except this time you have infinite runway. You have a fully furnished office provided for free. You have free utilities, including telephone and Internet. You have plenty of support staff, allowing you to focus on what you do best. You have plenty of training resources at your disposal to keep sharp, including mentors who are just merely steps away. This is what you start with when entering the world of car sales. Wow, you have it easy!
Let’s look at the pros and cons:
|Selling Cars||Starting from Scratch|
|Zero fixed and variable costs||Wait, office rent is how much?|
|The boss is a dinosaur||I never realized my spouse knew those words|
|Nearly infinite supply of inventory||How many hours in a day again?|
|Weeks of vacation tied to seniority||I remember vacations…(sigh)|
|The receptionist is snippy||I wish I had the luxury of a receptionist|
|Near limitless upside potential||Near limitless upside potential|
|Strict market controls in place||Everyone is a competitor|
|Someone stole your lunch again||Boundless supply of bologna sandwiches|
|People just show up to buy things||How many hours in a day again?|
So, I might be employing a few exaggerations, but you get the point. Going from being a mere car salesperson to a business owner is just a change of perspective. I remember making that decision after returning from an interview at a .com (it was acquired shortly thereafter; dodged that bullet). I remember returning to my desk, and, while looking at my CRM, realized that I didn’t need to fit into someone else’s vision of what car buying should be. I was sure that I had a willing partner in a Dealer Principal. I decided that intrapreneurship was the way to go. I haven’t looked back since.
Your interpretation of your work environment rests solely in your head. You can either be an employee (complainer, whiner, victim), or take ownership of your career. The majority of the tools necessary to create a thriving business are within arms reach at any car dealership. Change your perspective, and be your own business with the kit that you are given.
With all of the expensive stuff out of the way, now you can focus on your core product: YOU.
*Giant purple gorillas not included.
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