Peyman Rashid | Crain's

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Peyman Rashid

Background:  

Peyman Rashid is the co-founder and owner of Fishers Imports auto dealership in Fishers, Ind. Rashid launched the company with his brother in June 2013. He also founded MaxTradeIn.com and served as president from 2010-2013. Prior to that, Rashid worked as finance director at Butler Automotive Group for four years and business manager at Tom Wood Automotive for three years.

The Mistake:

The biggest mistake at MaxTradeIn was that we moved a little too fast without doing all the testing. We started raising capital a little too early on. It started limiting what we could do.

We brought a lot of opinions to the table and it changed the way we should have moved forward. When you start raising capital too soon and bring investors to the table, they have high expectations and want you to move super fast.

Everybody was worried somebody would copy our business model and kick us out of the game. That was not true. Nobody copied it. The big elephants don’t move as fast as entrepreneurs and startups.

We raised capital and went to the markets too fast, so our overhead started going up. When we couldn’t raise enough fast enough, it squeezed us to close our doors.

We learned the lesson that raising money is not always the best thing.

The Lesson:

We learned the lesson that raising money is not always the best thing. We can start a business without raising money and make a go of it.

We really wanted to integrate the car buying experience with new technology. We wanted one-to-one experience with customers, more of an online experience, minimizing the customer’s experience at the dealership and making the process really nice for the customer.

Everybody has a car, everybody needs a car, and everybody hates the process. It’s a failure process.

At Butler, we could not get the owner to change the way people did business. People did not want to come in and sit for six hours to see what their car is worth and what kind of a deal they can get.

Now we just give easy answers right away, instead of making people wait for hours and hours. The results have been gi-normous. Our sales have risen 4,000 percent over the last five years. We made $850,000 the first year. Now it’s close to $35 million.

The goal was just to make the process easy. You price cars fairly online, have good quality inventory, give people information upfront, and let customers make the decision if it’s a good deal for them or not.

We cannot pressure a customer into buying a car. At the end of the day, it’s their decision of whether they want to spend their money on the car.

It’s worked really well. We’re getting ready to open our second location in the next six to seven months. Our customer base has reached nationwide. We’re selling cars in California, Ohio, all over. The majority of our sales are coming from out of state.

We’re carrying a hugely positive customer experience. It gives them the confidence they can buy online without having to step into the dealership.

 

Follow Fishers Imports on Twitter at @fishersimports.

Pictured is Peyman Rashid. | Photo courtesy of Fishers Imports.