Job Title: Small Business Owner
Type of Company: My company is a used-car dealership with a 100 car license. We perform sales, repairs and reconditioning.
Education: High School Diploma, some college
Previous Experience: I have always worked in the automotive industry. I started out as a billing clerk, preparing titles part-time while attending college. Later I was sales administrator for a large franchise dealership. My duties included sales support and inventory ordering through the factory. My last job, before going into business for myself, was as an office controller.
Job Tasks: As the owner of a dealership I am responsible for all aspects of the business. I do bookkeeping, payroll, tax reporting, accounts payable and receivables as well as account reconciliation. I am also directly involved with sales and financing. Probably the most important part of my retail business is advertising, both internet and print.
I am hands-on with quality control, customer concerns, employee hiring and termination, and benefits coordination.
I also do parts ordering and invoicing. For example, a customer brings a car in for repairs; I schedule the appointment, prepare an estimate of the cost of repairs, order the necessary parts to complete the job, print an invoice and take receipt of any payment or payments.
Lot configuration is another key task that I perform. Periodically, as cars are sold, and new cars come in, our stock needs to be rotated so that potential customers do not see the same vehicles in the front every time they drive by our dealership. Likewise, after vehicles are taken out for test drives, they need to be re-aligned. I take periodic walks to ensure all vehicles are securely locked, and that no vandalism has occurred.
Inventory control is another important task. As our inventory sits without selling, it has the potential to depreciate in value, sometimes quickly. Continuous control and accountability of why vehicles are sitting rather than selling is factored in.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I am my own boss. I retain flexibility in my tasks and on deadlines I impose on myself. I can make my own hours. This kind of freedom is very hard to achieve even with long experience when you're working for somebody else.
1. Don't be greedy! There is the potential to make this business very lucrative in good economic times; as with any business, though, there are always downturns in the economy which can spell trouble.
2. Don't imagine that you will be an overnight success! It takes many years to figure this business out, and many years to build a reputation for yourself.
3. Treat everyone with respect and always do the right thing, and eventually it should pay off.
Additional Thoughts: One thing that I would have done differently is continue my education before pursuing a career on my own, just to have something to fall back on. As much as I am hands-on, there are still many aspects of the business for which I have to rely on others.
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