Nathan Brookes, founder and owner of The Garage in Miami, talks to Business Doctor, Claire Stirling, about his unexpectedly fast success.
In 18 months, Nathan Brookes has established and grown his car servicing and repair business to a turnover which will be close to $3M in its second year of trading. It is an impressive start that outperforms the industry norm by at least double.
You took a large financial risk in unexpected circumstances that has obviously paid off.
Nathan Brookes: We sold our house to fund the business and I had to leave my job. We had the business open in 2 ½ months. The first 18 months were incredibly stressful; even with the capital of our family home behind us we were under-capitalised. But I had absolute faith and dedication in my business idea. I worked over 80 hours a week for 18 months until the business was big enough to employ people to lend a hand. What worked to our advantage was that I already had a successful business model in mind from working with franchisees in the car servicing business.
Did your reputation in the business bring you clients?
Nathan Brookes: Not really – although people who knew of me ended up finding us. Once I was clear on our business model we invested heavily in marketing and continue to do so.
What differentiates The Garage in a crowded market place?
Nathan Brookes: We are about gaining trust from non-motoring enthusiasts. We spend a lot of time demystifying the repair of cars, explaining what we are doing and why, right down to supplying images of repairs. We are totally transparent and upfront about the cost of repairing a vehicle and what is involved. This builds customer trust in a market where for most car repairs the price is not confirmed until after completion of the work.
What tips would you have for someone starting up a business?
Nathan Brookes: You have to have absolute faith and dedication to your business idea. You need to be on deck for the first 2-3 years and prepared to put in the 80-hour weeks. Keep marketing all the time. You will get bored of your marketing before your customers will.
Is there anything you’d like to ask the Business Doctor?
Nathan Brookes: Even with the proceeds from selling our house, we were undercapitalised. Where could you direct a company with a 2-year trading history for business finance?
Business Doctor: OnDeck (ondeck.com.au) was founded in 2007 and started trading in Australia in 2015. They will fund from $10K to $250K for qualifying businesses operating for at least a year with an annual turnover of at least $100K. Data analytics are used to examine the performance potential of the business rather than the credit rating of the business owner/directors.
Do you need business advice? Contact Business Doctor and Executive Coach Claire Stirling at
Author bio:Originally from Britain, Claire Stirling is an independent writer, business doctor and executive coach. She started out in corporate life for Esso Petroleum and Levi Strauss. Her sporting prowess as an international distance runner drew her to Sydney to work for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. After the Games, she returned to the UK to influence change across several high-performance sporting bodies in the UK, before settling on the Gold Coast. Contact her at claire@ stirlingcoaching.com
Are you already successful? Then perhaps this penthouse is for you.