Tuesday, November 29, 2011
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN HAWTHORNE
HAWTHORNE TIRE AND AUTO SERVICES
877 E. RANCHEROS DR. SAN MARCOS, CA 92069
Good day this is the 2nd part of my interview with John. If you missed the first part go to last weeks.
I want to again start this with John's view on the LOA and out of respect for him I will put this quote at the beggining of each of these posts:
"Regarding the Law of Attraction: I believe first and foremost in a sovereign God who is in control of something as grand as the universe, and also in control in something as minute as the individual aspects of circumstances in our lives. While I respect certain aspects of the law of attraction, I don't believe it's a science. I do believe in cause and effect, and "you reap what you sow" but I don't technically believe that I can create certain outcomes based in my life based on my beliefs or true desires for those particular outcomes. In the end, this is because I believe it takes away "control" from a sovereign God."
Now part 2:
AJ: What lessons did your parents teach their children at home as far as business? There are a lot of families that consider talking about money as taboo. What was it that was talked about in your household when you guys were at the kitchen table coming from a background where your parents were business owners?
JH: That’s a funny question because my parents did not spend allot of time talking to me about business. For my family it was more about morality, life lessons, and just generally dealing with people and bonding with people and what not. I do come from a Christian background where my calling is to love my family and love my customers as family to the best, in a realistic way. I am not gushingly loving anybody who is a customer. I can’t possibly do that, but I think in terms of love there are a lot of different ways to describe that. It really is just treating them fairly, and serving them, being honest with them; that goes along way. And letting people know that you appreciate them. There is a lot of general dynamic in our industry and others too where a customer walks in the door and the business owner or whoever is the face of the business instantly thinks that “Oh I am doing you a favor because you walked in my door”, but really it is the other way around. That was the big thing that my dad really tried to teach me, and that was that” customers can really go anywhere they want for the business. There are allot of people that can put a tire on a car. There are allot of people that can put brake pads on the car, but they’re doing you a favor by coming to you and you need to always remember that and so you always want to make sure your prices are fair, that’s one thing. You don’t over charge people, but you could be fair. You don’t always have to be the cheapest but you have to be fair and you always have to back up what you do and really let people know you appreciate them. “
AJ: Sounds like good foundation. Now you said when you were in college you had a discussion with your father and he offered you the opportunity to BUY the business. What I am trying to get at is that people that have inherited the business without actually keeping it businesswise and separate the business and family have not fared so well. Was that something that you knew was coming? What expectation did you have?
JH: Actually I was in college and was working here. I was going to college 3 days a week and working here the other two, that was my college job if you will, and I didn’t have the expectation of taking it over. I was going to college for business. I eventually just grew in my role here. I started off just turning wrenches, and working on cars. Of course being part of the family customers would know me as my dad’s son and one of Mike’s boys and couple of my brothers worked here too, and it was a family experience and so I always made it a point to get to know the customers and do a little more than just to turn the wrench here and eventually I got to work behind the counter and work with him and communicating with customers and sales and what not. Then it just came to a point where I think my mom was pushing him to retire. She wanted him to get out of the industry and take a break and he had been doing it for 25 years, and he was in his 60’s and he came to me one day and just said if you’d be willing I like to train you up to run this place and if you want the opportunity too we could work out a purchase on it, but you’re gonna have to do it full time and let me tell you that you will get a better business degree behind the counter than you will get at any college. (Laughs) Not advocating not going to college here by saying that , but that’s what he told me. So I know opportunity is only… it’s very hard to start a business and I wouldn’t mind starting one myself someday, but it’s great to have had that opportunity. Being that it was in the family I wanted to keep it alive and see what we could do with it. Bring a new generation to it. So I spent a year behind the counter with him just learning the ropes of accounting and learning the ropes and ins and outs of actually running a business not just selling and working on cars, and getting to know the customers at a different level and what not. Eventually he felt comfortable and we worked things out and here we are.
AJ: What do you think was the key to make this business a success when your parents were running it, and what do you think are the keys that you are using to make it a success in this economy?
JH: The key to make it successful for him was repeat business. Generating new customers are great but your customers are your best advertising and I don’t think that will ever change. He built it up over time just through the word of mouth. He never advertised other than a spot on the yellow pages, and may be a quarter page ad or something like that. People are so inundated with advertising these days that it’s just in one ear and out the other. I mean every add looks just like the other so I mean you can’t built trust through advertising and you can’t built repeat business through it either. You just draw the people in just by doing your diligence, and doing good work, taking care of people and letting them know of course that you certainly appreciate their referrals. Over time that’s what he did. Of course you also have to have your work on cars stand up for itself too, because no matter how nice you are if you can’t fix a car you won’t be fixing cars for a living. So there was a high standard of character and high standard of workmanship. So we focused on that. My focus now days just through this economy is using allot of modern technologies to continue on that word of mouth. I’m not a heavy advertiser myself, but we do know that no one really uses the yellow pages anymore. Obviously we’re all internet based, so we focus allot making sure we have a good reputation on line for the most part. One of the biggest thing is that we appreciate when one of our customers leaves us a good review online because people more and more these days go online to look up businesses and see what other people are actually saying about them. Every business in the world will tell you they are the best, if they’re not then they shouldn’t be in business, but it means something else when someone else who is not paid to say it is actually saying that they are good. That is a huge thing for us. So just really foundationally the same thing my dad is doing back then is taking care of every person that walks through the door to the best of our ability, and really making sure that people leave pleased with our work.
AJ: What advice do you have for business owners today and also people who are looking to start their own business right now either because they are forced to or because they want to?
JH: It’s so risky right now. So hard because of this economy. On a practical side of that I would say if you’re going to start a business right now make sure you are in an industry that is needed. There is always auto repairs. It is pretty safe right now as long as you do a good job, because people still need their cars, and need their cars running and they need maintenance on them. I would say it is great to be bold and if you’ve got the capital or the intuition and the drive to do it START. You know it’s definitely worth it, it’s definitely a good thing to be able to do. But I would say on a practical note make sure you’re in an industry that you feel will be kind of a need industry for some more time until this economy fixes itself.
AJ: What about owners currently in business, any advice for them as far as succeeding?
JH: For small businesses, your customers are your best assets. Got to really take care of them. Make sure you know that you don’t have a business without any customers so you can’t really lose focus on appreciation of them. You don’t have to go out and buy them gifts, but you just want to let them know you do appreciate them and that goes along way. As a business owner if you are not in the position to be the one in communication with customer like I am, you have people that are in that position and you make sure they know that too. I think that is the biggest key right now. They (customers) can choose to spend their money anywhere they want if they have the money to do it, and you’ve got to make sure they know they are appreciated for their stewardship with you.
Join us next week for the final part of this interview
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
INTERVIEW WITH JOHN HAWTHORNE
HAWTHORNE TIRE AND AUTO SERVICES
877 E. RANCHEROS DR. SAN MARCOS, CA 92069
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a local business owner in my town and I am sure you will find this interview very helpful and insightful. I want you to concentrate on the positive message and the sense of confidence that John Hawthorn exhibits in a sincere and honest manner. I also want you to realize how easily his faith guides him to making natural decisions and acting in line with the universal laws like the Law of Attraction even though I did not discuss the law of attraction in any way with him. In fact John wanted to me to put this before the interview:"Regarding the Law of Attraction: I believe first and foremost in a sovereign God who is in control of something as grand as the universe, and also in control in something as minute as the individual aspects of circumstances in our lives. While I respect certain aspects of the law of attraction, I don't believe it's a science. I do believe in cause and effect, and "you reap what you sow" but I don't technically believe that I can create certain outcomes based in my life based on my beliefs or true desires for those particular outcomes. In the end, this is because I believe it takes away "control" from a sovereign God."
AJ: Today I am interviewing John Hawthorne the owner of Hawthorne Tire and Automotive Services in San Marcos California.
John good morning, and thank you for your time this morning. Tell me a little about how your parents started this business and then how you became involved in it.
John Hawthorne: Well we have had this family business for 30 years this year, so we have been here since 1981. My Parents met in 78-79 and got married pretty quickly. They had each worked in the automotive industry before. My mom in particular. Her parents had opened and operated two tire shops in the LA area from 1950-51 and on which are still open today. So my mom literally grew up in that atmosphere and met my dad at a social function between two other local shops. Long story short, they met, got married and they decided to branch out and open up one of their own. They moved here to North County and decided to open up Hawthorn Tire. So they opened it up. They had me about 2 years later. Literally my mom raised me here in the shop. There is a little, what’s now a storage, that was my nursery room. Really early on so I think I was literally raised here and I probably never really left it seems like. So other than schooling and what not I ended up back here. So it was a pretty established business for the most part while I was in college. My dad and I discussed this, he came to me when I was in college and wanted to retire and gave me the opportunity to purchase the business and long story short we ended up doing that about 6 years ago so I have owned it 5-6 years now.
AJ: Why did your parents go into owning a business as opposed to working for someone else? Did they ever discuss things like that with you while you were growing up?
JH: What my dad always said was that “yes the liability is always higher of course of owning your own business, but the responsibility and the onus is on you and you can control your destiny to a degree as a business owner. With hard work, with effort, with a little bit of grace too generally you are in control of your own destiny to a degree. He was drawn to that. He was a real entrepreneurial spirit, much like I am and he got the opportunity to open his own shop. They each had the experience he and my mom and wanted to provide a family atmosphere for the customer, and so that’s what we continue on here today, but I think the idea of ultimately being able to have control over how much income you can make is what drew them in.
AJ: How about any challenges when they started off?
JH: Back in the 80s when they first started off there wasn’t as much competition as there are today, but granted there wasn’t as much population in San Marcos that there is today too. Not long after that the University opened and so I think that started to draw in a larger population and what not, and grow the city of San Marcos in lots of ways, but the challenges of course are always getting your name out there and letting people know that you are out there so you can get the opportunity to do some work for them. I know that was their biggest challenge starting off, so what they did starting off was to open up as a wholesale distributor and deliver tires and deliver parts, and then started doing service on vehicles with in a couple years after that. After they had casted a wide net and got to know allot of people and then built up a reputation for having a personable type of business where character is highly valued and the customers really appreciated it. So after they grew the desire to have customers actually work on their cars they started doing that too.
AJ: Did either one of them have a MBA, or business school experience or was it the school of hard knocks?
JH: No my dad did not graduate college. My mom graduated college about a year ago at the age of 61.’
AJ: WOW congratulation.
JH: So neither one of them opened the business with a degree of any kind let alone a business degree. I myself dropped out of college and am running the business for myself.
AJ: You have done well.
JH: I am a college drop out.
AJ: Most successful business owners I have met and spoken too, education as far a traditional education has not been a significant factor in their success or their failures.
JH: In my experience, yeah, talking with customers and getting to know people over the years and building relationships with people who have MBA, Bachelors, Masters and all that, really it is a door opener, it’s good to have, and I like to have one myself someday because I do value education, but business owner that I talk to value experience highly, highly, highly and people who like you referring to in the school of hard knocks, I mean people who get it in the business world are very highly regarded too.
AJ: So that brings up a question that I had not thought about. Do you think that a traditional business school prepares people to be employee mindset, as opposed to getting that education in the house from a parent that has a business and getting the real experience?
JH: I would say a traditional business degree will give people a fair foundation. It will definitely be an asset. I think allot of employees of businesses will make pretty good business owners in the end mostly because through experience you kind of end up knowing what it takes and what you need and expect from employees to be able to run a particular business. So I think a good business degree is valuable. Yes it is not everything. Because every business is its own entity. Each one has different needs. Each one is like a different person in a way. There are certain things that is required to survive and each one is different. So I can say even a trade school sometimes, is even more valuable to a degree. I know trade schools are really on the rise now. There is allot of generated interest from recruiters and what not. People are thinking of trade schools as a more cost effective option for allot people. Given job openings if they know someone is specially trained for certain fields, that actually is really nice. So you can go and get a business degree and possibly fit in to allot of businesses, but allot of businesses want someone who fits in perfectly. So it does help to have a degree; it does open doors because in my opinion when I see people with a degree and what not it tells me that they have done their due diligence, they have put in the work. They know how to put in the time and what not. Because they have committed to that to get a degree but it doesn’t mean they are going to make it pay or play so it’s not the end all.
Join us next week for the 2nd part of this interview.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I hope you are well and are getting ready for the holiday season. As the holidays are approaching I wanted to go back to a blog post I put out very early in the history of this blog about giving. I will put a link at the end of this post for you to read it.
I want to encourage you not to forget those who are less fortunate than you in the next few months. Specially this year where people are concentrating on “things being financially tough”. Use the concepts you learned in the Law of Attraction to change that mind frame in your life and bring more success by giving. That’s right. Today more than ever you need to live from where you want to be not from your current “illusion” of reality.
Give with a joyous heart. Give with a smile. Give without expecting anything in return and see in the next few days how things will change for you. When you give you are sending out the vibration to the source that you are prosperous and successful and more opportunities and circumstances will come your way to keep you feeling that way i.e. successful and prosperous. Which is after all what you want.
Take a look at this earlier post on GIVING. Take a look at the reasoning and the logic behind it so you can convince yourself it makes sense, then pick a cause or a person to give to. Do not judge. It is very simple to judge, but you want to give from your heart with the good vibration of giving. Judging will nullify that vibration. Do not give from a place of lack either. Do not think if I give I will have less. That is not the way to do it. In fact it is better not to even give if you are going to do that because you are sabotaging your effort. Give from a place of joy with the earnest want to help.
I hope you enjoy this blog.
Here is a link to the blog post on Giving: GIVING
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Good day all,
Today I hope to start a post that will generate some discussion. We have all heard the saying “the clothes makes the man”. I want to discuss that in the concept of success and the Law of Attraction. Having worked for myself, as well as in the corporate world I have some definite ideas on the subject and will share them here to start the discussion.
I really don’t know exactly when or how I went from preferring T-shirts with logos like Bon Jovi on them to wearing French cuff dress shirts, but it seems like it happened instantaneously. It was not a gradual change. It was deliberate and decisive. I don’t have to dress up today in my work but I really do prefer to do that. What exactly changed from wanting to feel comfortable to wanting to look really good, or professional, I can’t put my finger on. What I can attest to is that cleanliness, or style was not a part of it. There are some really great looking, stylish T-shirts out there, but I prefer to wear a dress shirt in most cases.
Maybe it is because I think first impressions are really important and I want to come across as professional. Does that mean that wearing a T-shirt does not look professional to me. The answer is yes. That is because I work in a field that I deal with Business people. Even in my own business when I am doing speaking or coaching I feel like I have to present an image of professionalism that I cannot convey wearing a T-shirt. Note that is my personal preference. When I am dressed up in a nice dress shirt, and wearing a sport coat in a crowed that is under dressed I feel more confident and I also feel I am setting myself apart to be noticed by opportunities.
Now let’s take this into the realm of The Law of Attraction. The feeling of confidence and professionalism that I exude wearing a nice suit is sending out that positive vibration to the universe, and the source will come back to me with more opportunities to feel comfortable and professional. That may be in the form of having a great performance at a speaking engagement, or getting increased sales, or meeting people that will bring new and exciting opportunities for collaboration. It also helps me make great first impression because that is what I believe will happen.
For years I wanted to think that the worth of the man should not be based on his clothes but on his performance, but in my experience you get a few seconds in most cases to make an impression and appearing professional suited to the environment, by wearing the appropriate attire is a big part of that first impression. Note I clarified the fact that you have to be appropriately dressed. For example I will not be wearing a suit to visit a meat packing plant. But at the same time I will not be wearing overalls either. I try to think about the average appropriate attire and then take it one step up just to set myself apart, but at the same not be out of place.
In the end it is how you feel. And you have to remember that no matter how much you want to think that you are unaffected by what people think, it is very difficult to tune out other people’s evaluation of you. Most often it is the nonverbal cues that you may not even be aware of that will knock you off of your positive vibration. Have you had times where you were feeling great but then met someone or had a conversation or an interview and knew in the pit of your stomach that things did not go as well as you wanted to. It is hard to turn those feelings around on a dime.
Dressing well and above the general crowd’s standard, like it or not, has an ability to tip the odds in your favor most of the time. That is my opinion and because I believe in it, it has become my reality.
I welcome your experiences on this subject, and I am sure the readers would benefit from alternate point of view. Please click the comment section bellow and either sign in or comment anonymously.
To your success.