Interview with the CEO of Advanced Dealer Systems
David Vaughan founded Advanced Dealer Systems six years ago. ADS is a trusted resource for the Automotive Dealership who wants to generate their own exclusive, down-funnel leads and liberate themselves from the Third Party Lead Providers. Advanced Dealer Systems uses a proprietary Lead Harvesting Platform that is unique and proven. In this interview, Dave shares his entrepreneurial experience and some tips and wisdom for other entrepreneurs.
CM: Tell me about your entrepreneurial background – did you start young or later? What, if anything, in your upbringing led you to entrepreneurship?
DV: My father was a very driven Fortune 500 executive. He was self made and worked his way up from the very bottom. While I never followed his footsteps to the corporate world, I did learn his work ethics along with many lessons about how to work with customers, vendors and employees, how to be a leader and how to provide superior service. He taught me to be committed to the success of my employees and my customers and they will provide me the same commitment – This advice has become my mantra.
I really think entrepreneurs are born and not made. It either comes naturally or it feels completely foreign to you. To me, I have a knowing of certainty that this is what I was meant to do, and I love it.
Who have been your role models, mentors, or other inspiration for you, both in your personal life and public figures?
My father helped me get into massive intelligent action and helped me order and focus my intentions/thoughts. I also share his energy and drive. This drive also helped me to be a top sales performer during the 25+ years I spent working for various dealerships.
Personally, I’m inspired by great athletes who rise to the top of their game. Too many to list here, but I track top athletes in business and in sports to better understand how to create even higher performance in my life.
What specifically led you to start Advanced Dealer Systems?
I became very well known as a successful Dealership Internet Manager over a decade ago. I grew very tired of dealing with many of the vendors who did not have my breadth or depth of on-line marketing experience. I also grew very tired of listening to the geeks who never sold a car telling me what sort of processes, techniques or strategies would work. Being the problem solver that I am, I decided that it was time for me to solve this problem for the entire industry and give dealerships what they really need – fresh, exclusive and high quality leads.
So I went out and I hired the geeks and trained them how the dealership world really works and how to get someone to buy a car. I get to nurture many talented people and make them uniquely successful in an otherwise difficult industry. And as the leader of a great team, we get to help car dealers become incredibly successful at Internet sales and start selling a phenomenal number of cars. So far it has been a labor of love.
CM: How has the business been funded? What has been the upside/downside of how you’re funded?
DV: The business has been grown organically. I have never required any funding to get to where I am today. Although I have been offered funding on two separate and unwarranted occasions by VCs, I have declined each time. It just didn’t seem wise to release my valued customers and friends to someone else who may not have my level of commitment. I can’t let the people down who brought me this far.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Convincing my family to stick with me during the lean years.
I overcame this by ignoring any doubt they brought to my attention.
What motivates you every day when you go to work?
My life is on purpose. How much more excited can you be when you know you are doing exactly what you are suppose to be doing with your life and time!
I’m humbled at the expertise of the talent I hire and honored to work with a very innovative team of web developers, programmers, PPC/SEM marketing experts and highly efficient content editors who take care of daily operations.
Further building our management team also motives me because they free my time up so that I can work on further innovations and creative marketing solutions to help our clients reach their goals faster.
What is the best advice you have for new or future entrepreneurs?
“Do it and stop talking about doing it.” Get into massive action. Learn and read like mad every single day. Listen to your stakeholders and earn their respect by taking an enormous amount of action that proves you’ve heard what they had to say. Create and design a business that allows you to step out of daily operations. If you are running your business, you are a manager and not an entrepreneur. Nothing wrong with being a manager or even an ‘entrepreneurial-spirited manager’, but true entrepreneurs in my mind unlock the creativity and innovation in market potential for their business and industry –they can only do this if they are not involved in daily operations of the business.