Never leave work for too long. Don’t leave work for tomorrow. Accomplish what must be done and get it out of your head. You’ll sleep better.

 

Fortunes O’Neal is the General Manager for the Central Kia Dealership in Plano, Texas. He has had an expansive journey in the industry in many different capacities over the past twenty-eight years. He has been an owner, a finance manager in sales and a consultant throughout the years. As General Manager for the dealership, Fortunes is driven to assure that his sales and service staff are trained and knowledgeable. Their goal is to provide the best customer experience possible. He is determined to operate a successful business. The finance department provides expert advice for customers seeking financing, his sales staff are provided with the best industry software to assist customers during their car purchasing experience and his auto-technicians are trained and certified to address any requirements needed.

Fortunes started his career when he joined the staff of a local car dealership while he was still attending college, at the University of Texas in 1989. His enormous success at the dealership while still in school, assured him of his position in life directly after he completed his studies.

Where did your interest in the Central Kia Dealership come from?

I got started with the Central Kia Plano dealership when the owner reached out to me. We were competitors operating Ford dealerships. He was interested in working together from 2008-2010 but at the time we did not reach an agreement. It gave me the opportunity to partner with the World Class Automotive Group and they immediately made me a partner. The owner of Central Kia Plano and I remained friends. Over the next several years, he had sold a few dealerships and closed all but one of his stores. In 2016 he approached me with a request for me to run his last location. After we discussed terms, I agreed and became the general manager for the Central Kia Dealership in Plano.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I walk in, the bombs explode, and I start putting out fires! Really, I check the inventory, reconcile the bank balance, make sure contracts are being funded. I check on my finance department to make sure that they’ve turned in all of their deals so that there is nothing in transit. We have to make sure that the car deals that have been made have been paid by the bank. After that, I check in with sales to make sure they have followed up on all of their leads. If the lead count is good, I have to make sure everyone is working. I check on the appointments to make sure we are going to have a good day. I also have to make sure that all of the departments are doing their coaching and training. There are a hundred tasks that have to be done every day. Marketing has to stay on top of our “optics”. We have to make sure that we look good and that we are trusted. The devil is in the details.

How do you bring ideas to life?

With some of the ideas that I want to put through, I just tell them that this is a mandate and we go about implementing procedures. When it comes to technology and social media, I have to ask the people who are in the know and ask if the idea is viable. Sometimes I have to get the input from the team. Other times, I just mandate.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The technology in new cars nowadays is an exciting prospect. The safety precautions new vehicles have are outstanding and only continue to get better every year.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Never leave work for too long. Don’t leave work for tomorrow. Accomplish what must be done and get it out of your head. You’ll sleep better.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell myself to react with less emotion. At times we think things are so pressing so we make little problems into big issues. We turn little situations into mushroom clouds. I would tell myself to react with less emotion and react with more logic and reason. I would be much better right now.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Hard work does not go unrewarded. I believe the effort that you put into your work is commensurate with the benefit that you get out of it. If you give the effort you will be successful.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I would tell everyone to give thanks and to be grateful. Always remember that you are not always in one hundred percent control. You have to give things and you have to be grateful. And stay humble.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

One strategy that I have is a test. If something is not going right, if there is an issue or a problem, I try to immerse myself into it. Rather than having someone try to explain it to me, or try to define to me why a customer is not satisfied, I immerse myself in the issue. I listen to the customer directly and get the unadulterated feedback. Often, we have management or people who tell you what they think you want to hear or the story has been cleaned before it gets to you. I go directly to the people who are involved in the situation for answers. From a management standpoint, it is the right thing to do.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My blessing is my curse and it is a double edge sword. I believe in people and I try to help people. I am personally a fixer. There have been a couple of times in life I have held on to the wrong people for too long. They have made repetitive mistakes and I thought that I could fix it. I realized that their personality and their character follow a pattern of mistakes. You try to make the right decision because you’ve spoken with them and you’ve counseled them, and you think that they will change. I thought I could help them grow through things. Sometimes you have to let go rather than hold on to people and hope for the best.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I believe social media is the best way to advertise. For anyone starting a new business, I think they should go on Facebook to find your target market or demographics. When you find out your demographics, you’ll have a wonderful business platform.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best money that I have spent was on dinner with my wife. We had a great time and left the restaurant holding hands. It wasn’t quite a hundred bucks, but it was great!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

We use Dealers Socket. It is the heartbeat of the business. It tells us how many leads we’ve had, how many people have reached out to the store, and how much follow-up we have done as a team. It then tells us the results of each situation. I can follow each individual lead and the results of the follow-up with just a phone number. I can follow that lead to see every hand that has touched that lead. Dealers Socket is an absolute necessity.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would say everyone should read the bible. It is a handbook for life.

What is your favorite quote?

Be grateful, Stay humble.

Key Learnings:

• In business, react with less emotion and react with more logic and reason.
• When resolving an issue, go directly to the people who are involved in the situation for answers.
• Success comes from the effort that you put into your work which is commensurate with the benefit that you get out of it.

Connect:

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www.twitter.com/CentralKiaDFW
https://www.linkedin.com/company/central-kia-of-plano
https://medium.com/central-kia-plano
https://www.centralkia.com/