ALPHA EXECUTIVE CARS
David is the owner and proprieter of Alpha Executive Cars a transportation service who specialise in long distance executive transport to airports, conferences, hotels, theatre trips, weddings, days at the races, sea ports and rail terminals.
Read more about how David runs a successful business and how he rightly so has become a recent winner of Theo Paphitis' Small Business Sunday.
Find out more about the business at www.alphaexecutive.co.uk
Metachick Online Marketing are very passionate about helping businesses to get seen online and we hope that we are seen to be doing just that, especially when it comes to helping small businesses. Digital Marketing can be a very complicated process and takes a lot of work and effort to get the results that you need to really make a difference to your business.
We decided that it would be a good idea to interview local business owners/entrepreneurs to get their views on how they have tackled online marketing and how they have become successful at growing their business. We hope that the interviews will help guide you with your online marketing and you pick up some good tips.
Our second interview is with David Burke from Alpha Executive Cars.
Please tell us a bit about youself and your business
David Burke, 32, Bury St. Edmunds. I run Alpha Executive Cars, a chauffeuring and airport transfer company, offering something with much higher standards than just a taxi!
If and when you get time, what are your hobbies or what do you like to do to relax or have fun?
I really wish I did get time! Running a small business really does become your life, but also your passion. One thing I’ve realised is that if it what you do doesn’t feel like work, then keep doing it! On the odd occasion that I do find time though, I’m a bit of a gastronome, so do enjoy fine dining. But just having a couple of hours on the sofa with family and/or friends is also more than enough for me at the moment.
What made you want to start your own business?
Money and power! 🙂 In all seriousness though, I’d always wanted to start one, but didn’t know what it would be doing. A chance business trip in my old employed days got me talking to a driver, and he sowed a seed, and I thought I could do it better. Since then I’ve developed such a passion for what I do, that I couldn’t now think of doing anything else.
What advice can you give to help new businesses to stay focussed?
Focus is always hard, with so many distractions. However, always put the customer first… enquiries and bookings/sales should always get your immediate attention, whereas an invite to a networking meeting or similar is a far lower priority. Look after the customer, the rest will follow. Also, these are my top tips for running a small business:
• NEVER sacrifice your standards or quality for anyone – if you live and breathe those standards, your customers will recognise it, appreciate it and stay lotal
• If you don’t have the skills to do something, either go and LEARN it until you can do it effectively, or OUTSOURCE it to an expert – it will pay dividends in the long run
• ALWAYS put the customer’s needs first – if there isn’t a demand for something, don’t do it. If there is a demand for something, find a way to deliver it
• ALWAYS seek and gain feedback from clients, associates, suppliers, friends, family, the pet dog – and above all, act on it!
• ALWAYS ask yourself if you could be doing something better or more efficiently – if the answer is yes, change it
• If you’re not PASSIONATE about what you do – stop doing it and find something else to do. Your passion will be evident to your customers and will rub off on them!
Are there any major obstacles that you have had to face when starting your own business?
Exposure and promotion are the biggest… it takes time to get noticed and generate enquiries, and you have to be patient. The key thing has been to get ourselves known by talking, networking, joining in with things… and above all, not being afraid to speak to competitors and collaborate… you’d be surprised how well that works in our industry!
What is the best and worst thing about running your business?
The worst thing has to be finding that dividing line between work and home life. You never really switch off, so it’s quite easy to be at work for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Make time if you can… your family and friends will thank you for it!
The best thing is the sheer, exhilarating buzz that you get. Again, it stems back to passion… when you love what you do, it’s exciting, and makes you want to do it more. And that means no Sunday night/Monday morning “back to work blues” either!
If you could start again, would you do anything differently?
Yes and no… and I don’t normally sit on the fence! Yes in the sense that I’d have prepared better before launch… a clearer plan, an accountant from the start (to avoid the last minute panic that is your first year accounts!), dedicated cash to throw at more effective marketing, and proper goal setting rather than “seeing how things go”. But no, for one very simple reason… jumping straight in and “giving it a go” has been a roller-coaster ride of learning, discovery, failure, leaps forward, steps backward. And along that journey, you meet tremendous people that will help you, guide you, become clients, and in a lot of cases become great friends. I can’t put a value on that journey.
A fantastic interview from David I think you will all agree and something that I think we can all learn a little bit from. We would also just like to say a HUGE congratulations on becoming a recent winner of Theo Paphitis’s Small Business Sunday very well deserved!