Chris Orsaris is an automotive consultant and successful entrepreneur located in the borough of Queens in New York City, New York. Chris currently runs several automobile dealerships, offering a wide variety of vehicles and other services to his customers. Over the years, he has perfected his business operations, assembling talented teams, creating exceptional systems, and establishing a sterling reputation for each of his dealerships. Underpinning all of Chris’ endeavors is his carefully honed professional philosophy, which focuses on selling only the highest quality vehicles and keeping incredibly accurate records, but emphasizes the importance of superlative customer service above all else.
Chris Orsaris has a great passion for water-based hobbies and sports. In his free time, he enjoys boating, fishing, or any recreational activity that takes place near water.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I’ve always loved cars, trucks, and motorcycles. From an early age, the idea of stylish and well-engineered vehicles just fascinated me. I played with toy cars as a child. In high school, I got my driver’s license the moment I was old enough, and I took auto shop class and learned how engines and various other automotive components actually worked. I bought my first car at a very young age, too. So, when I graduated and the time finally came to enter the workforce, it just seemed like running an automobile dealership was a natural goal for me to strive for. With a lot of hard work and planning, as well as a little luck, I achieved that goal. And not long after, I got another dealership, and then another, and so on and so forth. I couldn’t be happier with the way my career has turned out.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
My typical day features a lot of number crunching and organizational duties, most of which fall loosely under the headings of sales, accounting, inventory, and scheduling. I also send and receive a lot of messages via text and email, as well as participate in a lot of meetings, whether in-person or over the phone. Needless to say, most workdays, my time is at a premium. I maintain my productivity by training myself to stay focused on whatever task is at hand, while simultaneously keeping one proverbial eye on my overall business plan.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Whenever I have an idea I think would work well in our dealerships, the first thing I do is bounce it off my team. As my career has progressed, I’ve realized more and more that surrounding myself with intelligent, effective, and amiable people is the key to accomplishing anything worthwhile.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I think the trend toward electric vehicles is immensely exciting. Recent industry statistics indicate public interest in them is on the rise, and it’s easy to understand why. Besides being better for the environment than the old internal combustion engine-based vehicles, they’re also becoming increasingly affordable. The sticker price is coming down, plus those who own electrical vehicles will save money over the longer term by not having to fill up their gas tank all the time.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
I constantly update both a daily task list and a monthly calendar. I have a lot of things to keep track of each day. If I don’t diligently add and cross off items on my ‘to-do’ list or consult my calendar about when and where I’m supposed to meet various colleagues, vendors, and clients, my productivity definitely suffers.
What advice would you give your younger self?
If I could go back in time and have a conversation with my younger self, I would underscore the importance of hiring competent people and then delegating responsibility to them. I would say, “As an entrepreneur, your instinct will be to try to do everything yourself, but that’s impossible. Your team is your ultimate strength. The sooner you learn these lessons, the better your business will perform.”
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?
The New York Yankees will win the 2023 World Series.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
I recommend that every entrepreneur constantly work on improving their organizational skills.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
The single best strategy that has helped me to expand my businesses has been a perpetual emphasis on high-quality customer service. When a customer is happy with their experience, they tell their family and friends about it, which leads to two valuable things: more customers and excellent word-of-mouth advertising. As I always say to my staff, “There is no downside to excellent customer service.”
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
As I mentioned before, early in my career, I took on too many roles. I was the chief salesman, the head accountant, the marketing executive, and the human resources director—simply put, I tried to do everything myself. After a certain amount of time passed, I realized this was doing the business no favors and was actually a recipe for burnout. I overcame this issue by assembling a great team and putting their talents to work. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
While I don’t have a specific business idea to share, I will say that the renewable energy sector seems poised to absolutely explode in growth in the coming years. Any young entrepreneur would do well to consider creating a business in that industry.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I use spreadsheet software a lot. It’s how I keep track of all the important numbers pertaining to my dealerships, such as sales, overhead, taxes, and the like.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?
I recommend the book The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch. The author’s central thesis is that 80 percent of our results stem from 20 percent of our efforts. It’s a really intriguing idea, and one I’ve found to be quite applicable to the business world.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” — Henry Ford
- With hard work and planning, any goal can be achieved. But a little good luck doesn’t hurt.
- When a business delivers high-quality customer service, its customer base increases and its reputation is strengthened.
- It’s counterproductive for an entrepreneur to try to cover every role in their company all by themselves. It’s much more advantageous to the business, as well as to the entrepreneur personally, to assemble a talented team and delegate responsibility.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.