Joe Fabiani is the founder, President & CEO of Fabspeed Motorsport. For the past 27 years, Joe, a lifelong car enthusiast and Racer, has been an innovating pioneer for developing and manufacturing Ultimate Quality exotic car performance parts and systems for Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Corvette, and BMW. Fabspeed’s mission is to offer World class exotic car exhaust systems, intake systems and tuning systems to enhance these cars and to put a smile on the drivers face. Through his dedication, Joe has built Fabspeed into an industry leading USA-based manufacturer and global supplier, recognized for best in-class quality, true performance, emissions compliance, and innovation.
A life-long car enthusiast and semi-professional road racer, Joe recognized the opportunity to serve others as the aftermarket for performance systems was low quality, very expensive and fractured. He founded Fabspeed after friends in the exotic car community sought his advice for replicating the exhaust and specialty parts he had created for his own cars. Joe is relentlessly committed to leveraging technology for automobile efficiency, electric car accessories, and renewable energy solutions. His mandate of responsibility includes research & development, new product strategy, and strengthening Fabspeed’s network of global client partnerships.
Where did the idea for Fabspeed Motorsport come from?
As a kid, I was always surrounded by car magazines and was fascinated by them. When I worked as a broker in New York, I bought myself a Porsche. I wanted to personalize the car to my tastes but could never find a good vendor for it. I even contacted vendors overseas in Italy and Germany, but my customer experience was less than ideal and most of the products I finally received were unsatisfactory.
I had the knowledge of how cars were made which helped lead me to mentally construct the full ideas that I wanted to accomplish with the car. After I customized my car to the specs I wanted, I started getting compliments about the speed and power it was delivering. Soon enough, people were asking me to do the same to their cars and that is when a light switched on in my head. I took the initiative and bought ad space in the same magazines as I read as a kid. I focused on applying my knowledge and my craft of customizing Porsches for the consumer… Fabspeed was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
A typical day at Fabspeed involves many functions brought together by an entire team. Checking in with the departments such as R&D, marketing, and video development to see where we are at with our vendors around the world, what improvements we can make to the website and how our marketing campaigns are doing. We have connection meetings every morning to go over sales, current trends for the month and the status of our overall goals.
One of the aspects of Fabspeed that I really enjoy is working with research and development. In there we challenge ourselves each day to design new parts, new bits and pieces for the cars. So, when a new model of Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Bentley, etc. comes out, we look at what the factory did, and we then design parts for it that improve or even solve issues for the consumer.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The core cars we work on are Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Corvette, Audi, and other exotic car brands. We try to stay aligned with our market niche, so when the new cars come out, we get our hands on the new models so we can evaluate them.
Since we’re in the exhaust business, the first thing is to make an aftermarket automotive exhaust system. We see what we can reverse engineer and redesign to increase power and improve durability, give it more of a “sports car” sound so clients can have that feeling of listening to a musical melody when they drive. Like any human being, if I go out jogging, I’m trying to get healthy. Similarly, when an engine takes in air fuel burns, it burns and exhaust has to go out the tailpipes. So, we consider making carbon fiber air intakes as well. We make better ways for it to breathe. as well.
To summarize, we bring our ideas to life by evaluating what’s in the car from the factory, and then try to improve upon what the factory did. Because quite often the manufacturers try to make the cars as quiet as possible, like a Dyson vacuum cleaner.
What’s one trend that excites you?
It’s hard to pin-point one trend. The introduction and popularization of electric cars into the market is good for the entire industry, as it aims for a clean and green future. But my livelihood is based on engines. One trend that we follow, that is technically not a trend, is studying the new cars that come to market. It is a daily passion: to analyze cars, create parts, to be the best and deliver the best. If one of our customers drops off their latest purchase for customization, I always have fun diving into it and designing new parts for it. This isn’t really a trend, just something that excites us at Fabspeed.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
When I was younger, I used to be really organized. I would always write down a to-do list on a legal pad. I’d write down names and phone numbers and check them off and keep going after them and be persistent.
When I started the company, I did every job function on demand. This was before there was even 56K dialup. So, I did order, shipping, sales, fulfillment, design, engineering, and procurement. I still try to stay that productive. I have a lot of energy and I’m a little hyperactive, so that’s how I try to be productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give my younger self is the same advice I give to other young people: Do not be afraid to try doing multiple things. Don’t be afraid of failure. Always have a pleasant and positive attitude, towards business and life.
I believe that getting out of bed early in the morning and starting a new day with high spirits is essential. Sometimes when you decide to sleep in, you end up losing the whole day. Also, I advise young people to listen to their parents. As you get older you start noticing patterns in life, like mistakes that you could have avoided. So, I suggest listening to your parents. They have seen a lot and will have good advice for you.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I don’t want to come across as arrogant, most people have their own beliefs and want to stand by them, but sometimes listening to others is important. Some of the sales people who have worked for me want high salaries, but they don’t want to do their duty as employees. They forget that doing the job is the most important thing.
I have a lot of experience with the nuances of design, and know how to make a product optimized for manufacturing and sourcing. But sometimes people end up designing extremely complicated models. I try to work with them on their designs, but it can be a little difficult.
Another issue we have arguments over is branding. Branding is essential for company recognition, so we sometimes weld our logo onto the exhaust tips. People argue about putting our logo all over, or say that it looks terrible, but it is important to us and shows our work to the world.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I’ve started other businesses; some have prospered, some have not done too well. What this taught me was to keep trying, working hard, and maintain a positive attitude, but also be realistic. We need to be realistic about certain things.
You have to know when to cut your losses. If you make a mistake in business and invest good money after bad, it’s of no use. At some point in time, you might not make it. You have to realize when it’s just not working. Also, make sure you hustle, because then you could figure the problem out quickly, back up, and make the changes necessary to succeed.
I recommend trying to hire people with good and positive attitudes. Also, if you’re going to start a business, ask yourself what your passion is and what you would really enjoy selling. If you’re really excited about what you do it won’t feel like work.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One successful strategy we apply to our business is to be early to the market. When a new car comes out, we try to design the parts quickly but accurately, and fine tune it. We also build our brand endlessly, before we could advertise on the internet, I would put them in magazines. I would call up car dealers and repair shops to spread the word about Fabspeed and ask how we could become one of their dealers.
You build your brand and business by entering the industry on time and appealing to your customers. The strategy that’s helped me grow my business is to be the first to enter the market with a product and try to figure out the value benefit associated with it.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had a friend who hadn’t been working for 10 or 12 years. He was a master salesman, so I gave him a job. I put his family on my health insurance in 2016, brought him into my company, and put him in as my COO. He was here four months. He acted irrational, stole three or four of my employees, stole my customer list, supplier list, and everything else he could, and opened his own business. He copied everything I did, and that’s my biggest failure. I basically set up a competitor against Fabspeed, and they’re still operating across the street.
There was sabotage in the company, like making parts that failed or were faulty, and they printed our whole database of customers, dealers, and installers. To this day my biggest failure is being personally responsible for the goodness of my heart, my generosity, to help a friend who was down on his luck.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Always be thinking. Think ahead, thinking about your competition, and think about the problems present in the market. Get up early, stay sharp, and try hard. You should not be afraid to move fast and work hard. Try and build alliances. Trial and error is key, and so is having the right attitude. These are my philosophies.
For a business idea, I suggest working on electric cars and accessories. I’m starting work on it, and electric vehicles are definitely the future of this industry. Another idea is to identify an issue in your area or locality. For example, if your hometown doesn’t have a dry cleaner, take that as an opportunity. I did the same when it came to Fabspeed.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I believe that giving away money to charities is a worthy way to spend our earnings. In the United States, there’s the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or SPCA. I donated $58 recently, and in return they gave a token of appreciation. I believe if there’s a hurricane or natural disaster and you’re able to help, then it’s the charitable thing to do. Somebody out there will benefit from it.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Microsoft Outlook used to help us manage our productivity, but we have shifted to Google, Gmail, and Google Docs, which have been helpful. My iPad also helps me be productive and stay connected. I could just be sitting on the couch and getting emails from all over the world.
Others include Odoo, a CRM that assists us with accounting and book-keeping. Monday.com keeps track of the work we do.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Jack Welch, who was the former Chairman and CEO of General Electric, is one author whose works I frequently read. His books deal with business and related topics and are pragmatic and to the point. Welch’s work opened my eyes and made me understand the way people think and do things. I admire Welch and have his books in my office. He did what I do, but at a much larger scale, and this makes it easy to relate and learn from him. Winning and Jack: Straight from the Gut are two titles of his that I recommend.
What is your favorite quote?
There’s a quote from Jack Welch that I really admire: “People with positive energy are generally extroverted and optimistic. They make conversation and friends easily. They start a day with enthusiasm and usually end it in that way too, rarely seeming to tire in the middle. They don’t complain about working hard, they love to work.” What I figured out was that you can train somebody with a positive attitude, but you can’t fix or train a person with a negative attitude.
Another thing I love is to multitask. I love wearing multiple hats, doing accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, etc. For any employee, it’s good to be able to wear multiple hats and perform a variety of job functions.
I believe that the energy that you bring to your job has a great effect on team dynamics and your work output. If you have a positive attitude, you can learn how to do anything, to grow, to overcome any obstacle.
- Do not be afraid to try doing multiple things. Don’t be afraid of failure. Always have a pleasant and positive attitude, towards business and life.
- Listening to others is important.
- Keep trying, working hard, and maintain a positive attitude, but also be realistic. You have to know when to cut your losses. If you make a mistake in business and invest good money after bad, it’s of no use. At some point in time, you might not make it. You have to realize when it’s just not working
- Always be thinking. Think ahead, thinking about your competition, and think about the problems present in the market. Get up early, stay sharp, and try hard.
- The energy that you bring to your job has a great effect on team dynamics and your work output. If you have a positive attitude, you can learn how to do anything, to grow, to overcome any obstacle.
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.