Learn who your customer is and create value for them.
A lifelong car lover, Hans Angermeier is the founder and Managing Member of CarCareKiosk, a technology Company focused on producing high-quality and vehicle-specific how-to videos for drivers to fix and maintain their cars. Hans’ expertise in car repair has grown over the past decade through his leadership role in the production of over 60,000 how-to videos.
Hans quickly realized producing individual how-to videos for every vehicle on the road today would take a long time. He decided to leverage his expertise and love for cars to create a robust database with over 3.7MM data points and an accompanying algorithm structure to identify what video to show based on the car a user has queried.
From there, Hans worked extensively on the development of a video production framework for car repair videos that provides a consistent look and feel while allowing for the significant variations from one vehicle to the next. Ongoing efforts to establish best-practices to filming car repair procedures have fostered a simple and clear style that empowers users to fix their cars safely and expeditiously.
Hans has been sought after for his expertise in car repair advice and entrepreneurship experience and has been a source for articles in Lifehacker.com, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Clark Howard, Makeuseof.com, the Awesomer, IB Madison, BizTimes and featured on Kim Komando’s radio show among others. In addition to CarCareKiosk, Hans is a Mentor for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Startup Challenge and a Committee Member of the Sea Scouts Ship 299. Previously, Hans was an investment banker, the President of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society at Indiana University and has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on a 49’ sloop.
Where did the idea for CarCareKiosk come from?
CarCareKIosk is the result of a difficult experience that I had when changing a burnt out headlight on my car for the first time. It took me a while to figure out how to replace the bulb and I broke a few fasteners along the way. I realized that this would have been much easier if someone showed me how to do it and that became the ethos of CarCareKiosk: empowering drivers to do basic maintenance and repair work themselves.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up around 6:30, walk my kids to school and go for a 3 mile run outside. I use this time to mentally chart out what I’m going to accomplish during the day but also let my mind wander. Many of my creative ideas come during this run.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First I try to determine if there is any merit behind the idea. Over 90% of my ideas don’t come to life because they are impractical, cost too much, stray from the core of the Company, etc. For the remaining ideas, I write down the idea, what it is intended to accomplish and then what it will take to do it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The massive downsizing in the amount of capital needed to start a business. As core functions have moved to the cloud (hosting, CRM, back office, etc.) and personal computing has improved its penetration via mobile device ownership, a larger swath of people are starting businesses than ever before. It seems like there are revolutionary companies being formed daily by entrepreneurs all over the world and this is exciting!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Breaking down complex initiatives into executable tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be conservative with your forecasts; then double both the expected expenses and amount of time it will take to capitalize.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
New cars are not harder to work on, they just require different approaches than in the past.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
In both good times and bad, I always look at expenses. I think it’s too easy to obsess with top-line revenue and forget that there are two variables to profits: revenue and cos
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Keeping a shoestring mentality even when growth is good. For example, we only moved from a shared office space to our own office a couple of years ago even though we could afford it long ago.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
It took me a while to understand who our customers are. We are a free service that is supported by advertising clients. When we realized that these clients are our true customers, it allowed us to tailor our services whereby we were able to provide value to our clients and increase utility to our users.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Create a hotel aggregator that incorporates all of the ‘resort fees’, etc. into the price.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I read Wall Street Journal article about a small convent in Le Blanc, France with only 10 sisters, eight of whom have Down syndrome. The article was touching and I felt compelled to donate $100 to the order.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Aside from Microsoft Excel, which needs no explanation, I use a CRM product called Capsule CRM from a startup in London. It is robust and relatively inexpensive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson. Brutally honest and well-written. Many people don’t realize that entrepreneurs come in all stripes – Richard Branson is dyslexic and can barely read, yet he has indefatigable energy and the awesome power to inspire.
What is your favorite quote?
Those who are easily amused are often happy. I thought this was from W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The Razor’s Edge, but I was unsuccessful confirming this…
• Budget enough capital and time to realize success
• Keep an eye on expenses
• Learn who your customer is and create value for them
• Find activities where your mind can wander to things away from your business