1. Tell us your story of how your company got to where it is today?
The current ownership of this decade old business commenced via an acquisition in January 2015. At that time, Car Clinic performed its business in two different locations, a repair and service shop and a collision shop and a small used car dealership. The car business was fairly new to our entire management team in early 2015 when the acquisition took place. To understand the business and take it to the level we foresaw seemed liked eternity at that time but we analyzed the situation and reached a consensus to make certain hard decisions. More importantly, we had to change the culture from an unstructured environment to a more structured methodical approach that fosters centralized business processes, infrastructure, and willingness to change the “mom and pop” way of doing things to a more “company way”.
We noticed many inefficiencies due to multiple locations, which made it difficult to leverage economies of scale, to cross and to upsell. This triggered the theory of combining all aspects of business under one roof and promote, “One Stop Shop for Auto Body, Collision and Full-Service Maintenance.” This became the focus of our team and Car Clinic took a new life in later part of 2015 when it moved to its new single location. Collocating the business under one roof, was a game changer for Car Clinic. It provided a well-structured facility that is compared to only the elite. It changed Car Clinic’s image and the team continued to improvise on the core value of providing best quality and service.
We centralized Marketing, Accounting, Information Technology, and other possible back office operations and introduced new I.T. system that practically removed all operational paperwork. This integration of systems, introduction of receiving inputs on tablets from customer’s, service lead providing a full diagnostic report with pictures, improved communication mechanism between customers and Car Clinic.
Then came another exciting milestone, launch of Seva Cars in April 2016. The alliance of Car Clinic and Seva Cars allowed possibilities for this team to touch every aspect of the car business ecosystem. The slogan and in fact the vision transpired to “Everything Cars under One Roof.”
2. What would it mean to you and your company to win a Small Business Award?
Receiving this honorary award from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce will be the most gratifying experience thus far for our car business. From inception, just approximately over two years ago, to be even considered as a finalist is something we take dear to heart, as it not only means that our staff and customers see the value in the work we perform, but the community also sees the importance of the services and products we provide. As a business carrying this flag of a finalist has already provided us exceptional recognition, and further being awarded as the winner is something we would be floored with. Seeing and experiencing our vision of having a “One Stop for Everything Cars” come to reality is something that we cannot express in words! This award will further strengthen our business ideology, “if you can conceive it, you can achieve it!” and to see it in reality that hard work does indeed pay off!!
3. If you weren’t running your own business/working at this business, what would you be doing
Pushp – My entire career has been in management consulting for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. This business is an endeavor and just with every opportunity comes risks. If I was not running this business, I would probably join the workforce in Management Consulting but the difference would be I would have said to myself that I tried what I always wanted to try, which is being an entrepreneur once in my life.
Param – In the risk aspect, I consider myself a little more brave then my husband (SHHHH…), so I am actually ecstatic about running this business. But, if I was not running this business with my husband, I probably would endeavor into my passion, which is for having a boutique specializing in Indian clothing.
4. What book are you reading right now?
Pushp – I am not a big reader into fictional books, but I like reading smaller more fact based books that are quick, short and have a meaning. One of my favorites is “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. It applies to my life story, as I grew up in India, and with the start of my career traveled around the world. We then moved to Canada and now landed in US from the past two years. It is a great ride and one that always enforces adaption and adoption to new culture and a new way of life. At almost every step of the way, I have read, re-read, and then re-read again this book to continue to remind me and ask the question, “Who Moved My Cheese?”
Param – I love fiction and was an avid reader during my school and college days. But since life became busier, I got very little time to read but still, I try to read for a few hours in a week before I sleep. Currently, I am reading a novel; though on my phone, ‘The Stranger she married’ by Donna Hatch.
5. If you have 24-hours off, and your family was out of town, what would you do?
A perfect 24 hours off day for us would be sleeping till late morning, enjoying a lazy breakfast at home, shopping at the Mall, enjoying music and barbeque (if allowed) followed by watching a comedy movie on our couch. Of late, it is rare that we get such days as we keep busy with work and our son’s cricket commitments. But if the occasion were to present itself, we would love to enjoy such a relaxing day.
6. What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
We are a big believer of ‘smallest of the things make the biggest of the differences’. In our careers, we have learned to take steps that progressively elaborate the whole environment and make things easier for all. That was done in this business when we simply took the effort of taking a simple paper intake application and converting that into a tablet based paperless form. This started as just the process to capture the customer and providing their input of the problem of the car. This later was adapted into an IT infrastructure change step where now we have the entire process automated; from customer intake, to communicating with our staff and customers, complete integration with our part vendors and, recently with social media. We are now on our way to becoming a complete paperless facility and hope to be a part of the Loudoun County Green Initiative in 2018.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
Pushp – As a child, I wanted to be the person that made a difference and stood out of the ordinary. It was always my dream that while I was born as a common man, I would not leave as a common man but rather a person that leaves footprints.
Param – I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and always dreamt of owning my own business. Growing up, I was so mesmerized by gift galleries that I dreamt of opening a ‘Hallmark’ or ‘Archie’s gallery.
8. Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
It was one of my supervisors who was a self-made man for whom ethics and discipline were the top most priority. He believed in ‘practicing what he preached’ and was always there for his team. Being a very knowledgeable person, he made sure to share his learnings with the team in a way that they would enhance their skills and become better leaders and individuals. The most important qualities which I took from him were to be humble and grounded and to treat co-workers with respect.
9. What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
We feel that Loudoun County is the best place to establish and run a small business. The Loudoun Chamber is very inviting and super easy to get involved in and provides ample resources and supports the growth of small businesses. There are endless opportunities and amazing connections within this business community and it’s a very friendly competitive culture. All businesses help each other by providing recommendations and references to each other’s business. It is humbling to see the many ways in which the people get involved in the local events and are always ready to give back to the community.
10. If you’re not in the office where can we find you?
Relaxing at home watching movies or enjoying our son’s cricket practice and matches.
11. What is your favorite weekend activity in Loudoun County?
Shopping at Leesburg Outlet mall in the afternoons and enjoying dinner at one of the restaurants at One Loudoun or playing Golf at ‘Top Golf’.