If you are obsessed with automobiles, then you may want to consider starting your own company. After all, cars are an essential part of American life. Nearly everyone owns one, and some are willing to pay big bucks to keep their vehicles running properly. That is why automotive businesses typically perform well, even during recessions.
While you could go work for an existing car company, being an entrepreneur gives you the freedom to set your own hours and make your own rules. Of course, you also need to prepare for everything that comes with running a business. Here are seven steps you need to take before starting an automobile company.
1. Decide What Kind of Business You Want to Run
First, you must determine what type of automobile company you plan to start. If you are a good salesperson, you could create your own dealership on a lot or in your garage. If you love restoring cars, try opening a repair or detailing shop.
Maybe you have a creative mind. In that case, you can develop new accessories that many car owners would want. There are tons of possibilities, so think about what your area needs, and what your passion is.
2. Obtain Capital
To run your own business, you need considerable capital. You will likely need materials and inventory before you are ready to start selling to customers. You may also require a garage or office space.
Once you decide the type of business you are going to start, figure out what assets you will need and how much available capital you have. You may be able to use a Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card to buy some of your supplies. If you do not want to max out your credit cards, consider asking a bank or investor for funds. You could also seek a loan from the Small Business Administration.
3. Create a Business Plan
A business plan is an essential guideline for entrepreneurs. Your plan should describe the automotive industry in general along with all the details of your specific company. A good business plan describes both the subject company and its competitors. It also discusses ideal customers, operating systems and marketing strategies. If you need to secure outside funding, your lender will probably want to see a business plan before giving you money. Even if you can fund the company yourself, a business plan will help you focus your vision.
4. Pick a Location
The business plan should also include a general location for your business. Once you know how much funding you will get, you can begin to research potential properties. Make sure you know your city’s zoning laws. Some streets may be off limits for commercial properties. Depending on the type of company you want to start, you may be able to survive with just a mobile van that travels to customers’ homes.
5. Obtain Licensing
Certain businesses require permits and licenses to operate legally. Contact your state’s motor vehicle department to find out what paperwork is required.
6. Find Employees
When you first open your business, you may be able to do everything yourself. However, you will probably have to find employees at some point, especially if your company grows quickly.
Vetting your employees is incredibly important. You need to find workers who will give your customers a satisfactory experience. Otherwise, those customers could give bad reviews that could sink your business.
7. Market Your Business
Some of those employees can help you market your business. Find talented web designers who can build an attractive and functional website for your company. You should also find search-engine optimization experts who should improve the website’s Google ranking.
Traditional advertisements are important, as well. Place ads in local print and online publications so everyone in town knows about your company.
Starting an automotive business is a complicated process, but it is also quite rewarding. By following the above steps, you can help people obtain and maintain the cars of their dreams.