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30th Anniversary - Lessons Learned Along The Way

06 October 2020 | By Automotive Art
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 The Automotive Art brand has been etched into the landscape of Barbados over the last thirty years of its existence through our commitment to providing exceptional customer experiences and building on innovation. As we celebrate our 30th Anniversary we took time to reflect on the past thirty years, and discussed what lessons have been learned along the way.

Take the risk while you’re young, and do what needs to be done.

When Automotive Art was established in August of 1990, Hugh and Dereck were young men newly married, with small children. They shared a single Suzuki van which Hugh would pick Dereck up in every morning and drop him back in the evening. Everything that they could get their hands on was put into establishing and growing the company. The years of sacrifice and long hours have thankfully paid off, but it requires a commitment and a willingness to sacrifice time away from family and friends in order to grow a business from nothing.

 

Expect failure

As we grew throughout the years we made many mistakes, but oftentimes, as cliche as it sounds, we learn so much from those mistakes. Don’t be scared to take (calculated) risks and don’t expect every risk to pay off.

 

It can’t be just about the money.

Chances are, if you are making decisions or chasing goals purely based on money and “getting rich” you might be missing out on following a real dream that could provide greater levels of happiness and success!  

 

Choose your partners wisely

We worked hard and prioritized building long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships with all our partners. In the long run, it’s always paid off!

 

Surround yourself with world class people.

Exceptional people will deliver exceptional service. A great company is built by great people. We remind ourselves daily just how important each and every single person across our company is. Without them, we couldn’t do the things we’ve done.

 

Traditional education is important but it’s not everything 

There’s no doubt that having an educational base is important, but there is a lot of value in experiences as well. While, of course, there are certain areas of the business where specific skills are required, it doesn’t mean that there are no opportunities for someone who may not have a complete traditional education. A personal willingness to learn, grow and develop goes a long way!

 

Write a simple mission statement, and live it.

Every decision that you make should be based on your mission and values, and you must really believe in what you are doing. 



Don’t just talk about what you do, talk about why you do it.

Change your focus to ‘why’ instead of ‘what’. Why are you in business? Why do you sell what you sell? Why should customers come to you instead of another business? 

 

Innovate

This doesn’t always have to be complicated - innovations come in all sizes. Over the years we have worked to innovate in as many areas of our business as we could! From internal process/procedures, to purchasing to product development. We encourage our teams to always challenge the way we do things and when we find an area to improve on, we act fast and make the changes.

 

Deliver exceptional customer experiences

The world is a small place, and anybody can get the same kind of products anywhere. It’s important to provide high quality products, but the most important thing is the experience that the customer gets when they come to your business. Whenever you make a decision as it relates to a customer, think about if it’s going to be an exceptional customer experience at the end. If it is, you’ll have made the right decision and it will be the best thing for the company.

 

Value your customers

Your partners, suppliers, and customers are critical to the success of your business and you must value each of them regardless of what type of customer they are, whether franchisee, distributor or somebody buying a product.

 

Follow your passion 

If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Passion is the energy that will fuel you when things get tough.

 

Value all employees, from the top to the bottom

Every single person in our company has the opportunity to make a difference and an impact. We strive to give our teams the freedom and support to step up and make a difference. Without them, we wouldn’t have a story to tell!



Invest in the personal growth of your employees 

Your employees and team members are what allow you and your company to grow and develop. Without them, it all falls to pieces. Just as you invest in your brand, you absolutely need to invest in your team. We prioritize ensuring we offer ALL of our teams access to world class training in everything from customer service to leadership and sales. 

 

Dereck says “I remember once being asked why Automotive Art spends so much money in training it’s team members. The gentleman asked me “you spend all this money training and developing people across your company...but what happens when they decide one morning that they are going to leave?” I simply replied - ‘What happens if you don’t train them and the stay”

People are always worth the investment, even if they leave.

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