A young university undergraduate shares some top tips for starting a new business- buying and selling cars.
1. How bad do you want it? Since the fame of Eric Thomas, this statement has become somewhat played out. However, it does nevertheless contain, in substance, the elements that are necessary to obtain success in business. Business is tough; you need to want it bad enough to overcome the hurdles and obstacles you will soon face. If you are not particularly keen, you are simply wasting your time.
2. Plan. It is important to have a goal in mind, but what is perhaps even more important is to have a sense of how you are going to execute this goal, as execution is key. An idea is nothing but a day dream without action. Furthermore, you are more likely to come across as naive if you lack some degree of pre-conceived strategy.
3. Research. Do you your research: makes, models, prices, mileages, consumer patterns etc. The best weapon for tomorrow is preparation, in this industry, you do not want to go in blind. See who is selling it for the cheapest and which cars are most likely to sell, be critical as nothing is too minor.
4. Seek advice. The car industry is one of the largest in the world, so mistakes are inevitable, but some are avoidable. Learn from other people’s mistakes therefore seek advice. It will surprise you how many garages and traders will happily give you their time.
5. Concentrate on purchasing your first car. Don’t waste too much time, do not get caught up in the peripherals of setting up a data base etc. Simply go out and look at some cars.
6. Take some time out. You are constantly learning in the car business; however, if you are constantly preoccupied, you will forget to reflect upon the lessons you have learned until it is too late. Mistakes are inevitable, but some are avoidable. Look back at how you have grown, this will not only encourage you, but it will also offer you a retrospective look at how you could have performed differently. We sometimes concentrate on learning from others and sometimes overlook our own mistakes.
7. Make connections. Social capital is important in everything; the car industry is no exception. You want to make solid connections; these will allow you to save time and money. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with established individuals either, paranoia often ruins business.
8. Behave like a consumer. Put yourself in their shoes, buy cars that you would actually purchase for private use, as this will enable you to sell them more easily and with more passion. This is especially important at the beginning, as you would most likely lack some sales competences that only come with experience.
9. Maintain low prices. Do not be greedy, 30% profit is better than no profit at all. Undercut local traders and online competitions. It will seem unattractive at first; however, this will become less of an issue when you have sold 4/5 cars in the space it takes others to sell one or two.
10. Work towards expanding. As noted in tip number 2, always have a plan. In this plan, have something in place which will enable you to grow as a means of avoiding stagnation. Again, you needn’t be grand, rather have something that will constantly push you to work harder.
Photos courtesy Foto75 and Ambro at freedigitsls.com