In the pursuit of getting more information about entrepreneurship, I decided to carry out an interview with an active entrepreneur. I decided to use Mr. Michael Ford as my interviewee. Mr. Ford is a resident of Florida who lives in Orlando.
Two years before my interview with Mr. Fords, I went on a road trip to Florida. During the trip, I decided to service my Jeep. During my time at the service station, I engaged a conversation with the first person I met as a way of passing the time. That person was Mr. Ford. He gave me his business card as most people in his kind of business did. Mr. Ford is an entrepreneur in the car dealership sector. He specifies in buying cars at auctions and reselling them at a premium. Two years after meeting bumping into him, I decided to contact him to see if he would be available for an interview. I wrote to him to the e-mail address on the business card he had given me. Luckily, he replied warmly after only two days. I replied and asked him if he would be able and willing to undertake an interview through Skype, an offer he readily agreed to give me. And that is how I ended up interviewing Mr. Michael Ford. During the Skype conversation I had with him, I was able to get answers to various aspects of Mr. Ford’s life as an entrepreneur. The summary of his answers follows below.
Mr. Ford’s Background
Mr. Ford ended up as an entrepreneur as a result of his distaste to white color jobs. As he grew up, he developed the urge to be an independent businessman. He believes that a man working on his projects is more motivated and happy in life than a person who works for another person. However, he cites his family as a tremendous source of inspiration and influence towards him pursuing self-employment in terms of entrepreneurship. His family has a rich background of entrepreneurialism. Both his great-grandfather and his grandfather were renowned car auto part dealers in the State of Florida. His father has, now over 70 years, has spent entire life running a car serving chain in Florida as well. So, his venture in entrepreneurship borrows a lot from his family culture.
The Opportunity Leading to Mr. Ford’s Decision to Pursue Entrepreneurship
Mr. Ford’s evaluation of the entrepreneurial opportunity was not very hard. The automobile industry is quite huge, and he was sure that there was still a portion of the industry. With car servicing and the auto-parts niche already filled by members of his family, he identified car dealership as the next lucrative venture. After a SWOT analysis, Mr. Ford decided that purchasing auction cars and reselling them at a premium was the best niche in the automobile that still had a filling opportunity in Florida. He was aware that there would be some risks in venturing car dealership such as the lack of an entry point. In the event that such ended up as the case, he looked forward to using the contacts of his father and his extended family for a smooth entry in the first year of his venture.
How Mr. Ford Turned the Opportunity into a Business
According to Mr. Ford, identifying the business opportunity was not enough. The implementation process was the most important part in transforming the opportunity into a real business. In September 1995, he wrote up the business proposal and plan, and he forwarded it to his local bank. After three months, the credit manager passed the proposal and plan agreeing to fund Mr. Ford up to 75% in January 1996. In February 1996, his father supported him with the remaining 25% of his startup capital. With the entire capital ready, he approached the licensing board in the State of Florida who gave him an operating license allowing him to start his venture starting July 1996. There were a few challenges in the process which he had to work ways of overcoming. The main problem was getting the bank agree to his proposal and fund him. However, the bank recognizes his family as significant customers for a long time, and he used that as leverage for coercing the bank to support at least three-quarters of his starting capital.
Mr. Ford’s Advice on Entrepreneurship
For everybody with an idea he or she thinks is fit to pursue as an entrepreneurial business, Mr. Ford has valuable information. He says that the collection of all vital information relating to the industry under which the opportunity idea relates is highly valuable. In addition, he advises young entrepreneurs to be patient with respect to the growth of their entrepreneurial business. He says that although his car dealership business is quite a success about 20 years after it started, it took him almost five years to break-even.
Factors Leading to Mr. Fords Success
It is obvious how his car dealership business has grown over the years. When I asked about the factors leading to his success, Mr. Ford said that several factors contributed to it. First of all, he states that carried out an extended market research to decide what niche needed filling in. In addition, he complied with all the industrial rules and regulations subject his kind of business venture thus avoiding any legal suit that would derail his growth. Finally, Mr. Ford said that he has always worked with the same zeal and motivation with which he started when he was establishing his business back in the year 1996.
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