Block 10 AMK Autopoint #05-09
Ang Mo Kio Industrial Park 2A
Office No : 64811066
Tan Jing Kia’s Engine For Success
The incessant sound of a pounding hammer. The whirring of the sanding machine. The smooth whoosh of spray paint. It’s all in a day’s work for auto repair shop owner Mr Tan Jing Kia and his team.
There was a time in his life when Mr Tan dreamt of giving his family a better life than what his meagre mechanic’s wages could afford. This burning desire fanned the embers of his enterprising spirit, leading him to set up his own shop in 2000. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, nearly 15 years in operation, JingKia Car Services has invited a good number of loyal patrons.
Looking back, Mr Tan recounts that the hardest part of his entrepreneurial journey was in getting the business off the ground. Without any capitalisation set aside, Mr Tan took a leap of faith and sold his flat to fund his business. In those tough times, his wife served as his beacon of strength and hope.
How did this auto mechanic who only graduated Primary 6 make it this far? Mr Tan story is a shining example that one’s perseverance, hard work, and commitment can make bigger and better things happen. He shares important lessons on entrepreneurial success.
Lesson #1: Invest On An Engine Built For Success
The thought of a car easing its way to the shop to seek redress – for a scratch on the hood, a fender bender, or a leaking oil — makes Mr Tan spring from bed with excitement every day.
His passion towards the car repair business, his employees, and his customers has kept JingKia Car Services running like a well-oiled engine all these years. In return for his quality service, Mr Tan wins the loyalty and respect not only of customers but also of his employees. Two out of his five staff have been with him for 14 years, practically since day 1.
Above his ready-to-serve attitude, Mr Tan shares his two-fold secret to longevity in the business: first, investing on the best repair machines and equipment, and second, making a deliberate choice to have only one shop.
Mr Tan believes that having multiple shops may cause him to spread out his resources too thinly, and, consequently, negatively impact the quality of his service. Because of this, Mr Tan believes in being solid and focused: One shop that delivers top-notch job will benefit your clients and your business in the long term.
Lesson #2: Do Your Homework
With his auto shop now established, Mr Tan was confronted with the next challenge: marketing.
At first, he gave away flyers in an attempt to get the word out. Later, he realized that no other marketing weapon was better than word of mouth.
“Treat each customer as your friend and they will help you spread the word about your business,” he said.
Mr Tan learned that none of the guesswork would have been necessary if he conducted a market research first before setting up shop. Thus, he advises young entrepreneurs to do the first things first: research the market and then execute a well-planned marketing strategy to attract the right crowd.
Lesson #3: Choose Your Own Size
How big do you want to grow your business? When it comes to size, big or small doesn’t matter. It all depends on your choice.
Because of this belief, Mr Tan purposefully does not contract with corporations. He cites as reason the corporations’ delay in processing payments. For his type of business, Mr Tan believes that customers that pay after work, day in and day out, will give him the cash flow balance his business needs to thrive.
Lesson #4: Save For The Rainy Days
A wise entrepreneur saves for the rainy days. “If your business is experiencing an upswing, don’t forget that every industry has a downswing. It’s all just a matter of time. Always prepare for the
worst possible scenario,” Mr Tan counsels.
It requires a great amount of discipline to stay away from instant gratification when the business is going good. Mr Tan knows better that a more secure, worry-free, and revenue-steady business is more valuable than the fleeting pleasure derived from items that offer instant gratification. Choosing the long-term value of things is a true mark of a mature and secure person.
Lesson #5: Make Money, No Apology Needed
What are you in business for? To profit honourably. Mr Tan teaches that there is no shame in chasing for payment especially when you have delivered the service or product. “It’s okay to chase for payment and don’t be afraid of losing the client,” Mr Tan said.
So go ahead, remind the client to make a payment. If the client takes this reminder against you, you can be glad to know that you could end the relationship with him sooner than more damage is done.
Mr Tan is living the life he had once dreamt to experience with his family. Now, he can afford to go on holidays, buy his own car, and live comfortably. And it’s not only him who is abundantly blessed; it’s his staff too. In fact, one of the best memories he has had in running this business was the day his staff received two-month bonus! In the car industry, the standard is only one month.
Truly, for the man who perseveres, the reward is sure. Mr Tan has done his part – working 10-12 hours a day when business was just starting – and he continues making the necessary sacrifice to make the business grow.
By taking the courage to make his dreams happen, Mr Tan has seen his entrepreneurial fire set the road to a better life brightly ablaze!