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Real Business Owner: Kelly Winkelbauer, Winkelbauer Transmissions

Submitted by on February 6, 2013 – 12:00 pmNo Comment

Meet small business owner Kelly Winkelbauer of Winkelbauer Transmissions. Kelly shares a little bit about his business – how he got his start, what resources and services he finds useful, and what has been working for him in his small business.

Q. What’s the name of your business?

A. Kelly Winkelbauer Transmission

Q. What business/industry are you in?

A. Service / transportation.. I am a mechanic who specializes in transmissions 95% B to B, 5% retail.

Q. Web address?

A. I have a small vanity site on Facebook.

Q. What made you want to launch your own company?

A. The companies I was working for were moving away from my skill set and focusing on areas that required less skill, more low tech. I felt it was time to put my skills to use for myself .

Q. What was your biggest hurdle you discovered when launching your business?

A. Fear of failure. The organizations I had worked for seemed to be shedding customers year after year. I mistakenly felt the demand for my services and my skills was declining.

Q. What was easier than you expected?

A. Keeping the books. And, sales.

Q. Did you write a business plan? Why or why not?

A. Yes. I had a very clear plan of how I wanted to start. The day to day operations and processes I had been refining for 30 years, so I really got to see how correct I was in my business reasoning.

Q. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your business?

A. I wish I’d done a labor market survey. I would have known about the demand, and I might have started sooner.

Q. What services would you highly recommend outsourcing?

A. Higher accounting and tax prep / tax advice. I think anyone who is really working his or her business hasn’t enough time to really keep up on tax changes.

Q. What tasks do you think every business owner should do for themselves?

A. I really feel the body follows the head, in sports and business. The leader of a business should really know his business more than anyone in the company. if you are selling widgets you should know widgets, micro chips you should know micro chips. Me, I know transmissions, and I work them every day.

Q. Which books did you found helpful while getting started? Why?

A. QuickBooks For DummiesHow To Win Friends and Influence People –  greatest sales book ever written!
Shakespeare’s Hamlet – nether a borrower nor a lender be.

Q. What online resources did you find helpful?

A. We rely on tech and schematics so we have several online subscription tech services – two dedicated transmission sites and one complete vehicle site.

Q. How do you find new clients/customers?

A. All of my customers have come from word of mouth. I am a very grass roots person and my customers expect personal service and contact. Conversely I am selective in who my customers are; I only take on customers with similar attainable goals.

Q. What kind of marketing or advertising do you do?

A. The basics: telephone book, light web advertising, and local networking which IMO is the most important.

Q. What piece of advice would you like share with someone looking to start a business today?

A. To really know your business, and immerse yourself in it. And don’t expect any time off.

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