It’s a fairly easy process. I come up with the idea. I pitch it to the team. I ask for feedback. Then, we put it into play. From there, we adapt, adjust, or overcome any hurdles that pop up.
Jay Wiener is the CEO of High Tech Locksmiths, the nationwide leader in transponder, remote, high-security, and keyless entry services for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs. The Miami-based business specializes in lost key generation, duplication, and remote programming for the auto industry, with field technicians in 39 states.
Where did the idea for High Tech Locksmiths come from?
High Tech Locksmiths started as A-1 Lock & Key in a small storefront in Miami, Florida. We initially cut keys for cars and houses, working solely with brass and doing whatever it took to grow the company. When keys with chip transponders started to flood the market, A-1 shifted its business model to keep pace with the evolving technology.
At this point, I saw an opportunity to break free and do something big with my business. I wanted to focus solely on car keys. I had some bitter fights with my business partner at the time over this proposed pivot. His parting words have stuck with me to this day: “You’ll be out of business in six months. There’s no money in car keys.”
Millions of dollars in profit later, I have never forgotten my journey. To this day, a plaque hangs in my office that reads, “There’s no money in car keys.”
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
I like to start my days with some sort of physical activity — ideally with someone else from the High Tech Locksmiths team. Whether I’m swimming laps in a pool, sweating it out at a gym, or cruising on my bike, I begin each day with exercise. I do my best thinking when I’m on a long ride or run, and the exercise reinforces my commitment to the team I’ve built.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s a fairly easy process. I come up with the idea. I pitch it to the team. I ask for feedback. Then, we put it into play. From there, we adapt, adjust, or overcome any hurdles that pop up. Flexibility is a core principle at High Tech Locksmiths. Things do not need to be perfect from the start, and we are willing to rip up plans and tweak as necessary.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
We don’t follow a trend. We set the trend in our industry.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Plenty of Cuban coffee. The days can be pretty long, and we get extra energy with the help of this Miami staple.
On a far more serious note, I’m not afraid to take risks. Fear fuels failure, but risk-taking leads to creativity, innovation, and progress. What’s the worst thing that happens if you fail? You try again. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in life is not trying.
What advice would you give your younger self?
This is a great question, but it’s difficult to answer. Anything I would go back and change might alter the outcome of my life today, and I couldn’t be happier about how things have gone. I prefer to look at life through the windshield and not the rearview mirror.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I strive to take care of my people and truly know each member of my team. If you take care of your people, they will take a bullet for you. In turn, they’ll give the same level of attention to your customers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had many. As I mentioned earlier, I view every failure as a victory. Why? Because we learn from failure. What’s far worse than failing and learning an important lesson is never taking a risk.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
$100 for every person on the High Tech Locksmiths team. We had a nice month financially, so we shared the love.
What is one piece of software or web service that helps you be productive?
My IT geeks. They keep me current and updated.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read?
I had the team at High Tech Locksmiths read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni. The book teaches readers how to build stronger teams and how to hold team members more accountable to one another.
What is your favorite quote?
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
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Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.