Auto’ Repare’ France
I love how the Internet can connect people from across the world. I never anticipated that my career would bring me to having my own radio show, let alone having it also connect me with people from other countries. I was telling a friend about all the wonderful people I have been meeting who listen to Teresa’s Garage Radio Show in countries like Africa, Spain, France, and Uganda, not to mention from across the United States.
So how do these listeners find the radio station I broadcast my show from? Many ways. Of course, they Google “Automotive.” Also, searching Twitter, and Pinterist, will find me. Friends share my Facebook posts, which travel across the internet faster than the news can report it and, maybe they find the show by luck. I really cannot pinpoint just one way since they all apply.
Recently on Twitter, I noticed that an auto repair shop started following my posts, so I reciprocated by following their posts. I always find myself sending thank you messages to followers, and in this case, extended an invitation for them to be a guest on my radio show. I’m constantly searching for new guests to highlight on the Show.
I was amazed to hear from ‘Auto Repare’, an Automotive Repair Business in France. Wow, I don’t know about you, but this just blows my mind that I can connect with other countries in just one click. Ahjon Francois, the owner of ‘Auto Repair’ informed me that he would love to have been a guest on Teresa’s Garage Radio Show, but a few problems keep him from doing so. One, he can’t speak a lick of English, and two, neither can he read or write it. In order for us to communicate with each other, he is using Google translator to do so.
Now I have to admit that in the translation, some words are not what they appear to be, or should be. But if you read it a few times, you get the drift of what Ahjon is trying to express. I took French in High School, but I can only remember a few words and sayings, so no chance of translating it on my end. Thanks Google!
Ahjon Francois, was born in Corsica, France, and from an early age he was always tinkering in the automotive field in electricity and mechanics. He pursued this career by working for several companies as a mechanic. He started as an electrician for Sud Auto Diesel (Technical Centre Bosch Diesel and Electricity), then as a workshop manager, and ended his career there as the Sales Manager at a Porsche/Mitsubishi dealership.
Having the desire to own his own business, he decided to leap into a franchise for the Bosch Car Care Network. He opened his first garage under a franchise. After six years in business, and some achieved success, along with some enthusiastic advice from those around him, he branched out into a second location.
It was at this time he met his beautiful wife, Benedicte, who was working for Panasonic on the commercial side. It was unfortunate that not long after opening his second location, that Ahjon would experience his first loss. According to Ahjon, he had to close his original location due to lack of customers, and bad advice from his accountant.
From the perspective of looking back on it all, he realized that the false success of his first garage was energized by the enthusiasm of the franchisor and lack of attention by his accountant. Ahjon took a year to reflect on all the errors made, which might have been a blessing since he was able to reassess, reflect, experience a short time of depression, and then a bounce back.
Since automotive engineering is his passion, Ahjon did not take this loss sitting down, but used it to re-energize his yearnings to succeed. It wasn’t long before Ahjon and his wife began looking for a new location to open another garage, this time working together to achieve success.
One thing for sure was, this time, no franchise type business; if they were going to leap, it would be on their own and on their own terms. They found a perfect location for their new beginnings, and having reflected on the past failure, Ahjon knew what now needed to be done in order to be profitable.
He also knew that he wanted to make a difference in the automotive industry by being sensitive to his eco-footprint by recycling the used parts not requested back by the customer, specializing in personalized service, and explaining in detail to his customers the work performed. He also knew that the customers’ safety was top priority. Plus, he needed to be competitive, where, as a Franchiser, he was unable to do so, since prices were somewhat fixed and the franchise costs would mean a higher price to the end user.
Ahjon found himself reaching out to the network and social media to promote his newly formed ‘Auto Repair’ business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, and others. The internet also gave him the edge to communicate with other business professionals in the industry to remain informed on market trends.
His business was a success, due in part to the internet, since 80% of his business comes through the internet, all across France. He has clients who travel from afar just to have their vehicle serviced at his shop.
Ahjon’s wife was not standing on the sidelines. Because of her past experience, she was able to bring to the business the commercial side, allowing them to advertise and attract a different clientele. She designed and distributed flyers promoting what ‘Auto Repair’ offers the consumer, along with a coupon offering a 10% discount.
Not only are Ahjon and Benedicte married and partners, but their success is due in part by both of them being on the same wavelength. Although Benedicte is not in any way a mechanic, she comes in handy when 3 hands instead of two are needed on occasion. In turn, she has been able to learn a few tricks of the trade.
This newly developed business has no employees as yet; the hard work, dedication, and every demanding detail of running a business still falls on the owners. Ahjon performs the mechanical repair, and administers the entire internet streaming, while his wife handles the office and advertising. So it goes to show you, it’s not how hard you fall that matters, it is what you do to pick yourself and learn from your mistakes that counts.
To me, success is not measured by how much money or how many things you have, but how you live your life, and the things you learn in life from your failures. I’d say, Ahjon and his wife have succeeded. Failure appears to have made him even stronger. Good Luck ‘Auto Repare’.