Marc Zaransky

Through perseverance and determination, you can succeed.


Marc Zaransky grew up in Chicago area, amongst the successes of his father’s automotive and real estate business’s. Marc received his BA in 1985 from the University of Illinois, and immediately after college, he went to work in the auto industry.

Marc has since owned and operated his family’s business for the past 35 years. It is now the largest independent leasing company in Illinois with operations in all 50 states. The company provides leased vehicles and finance options to large corporate accounts and professionals and specializes in advising and providing handicap buses for the nursing home industry and retirement communities.

Marc was the youngest member to serve on the board for the Brickyard Bank, and he also served on the board of the Jewish National Fund. He is very supportive of the Jewish United Fund and the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago.

Marc currently resides in the Chicago area with his wife Heidi of 25 years and has two older children in their early twenties. In his free time, he enjoys working out, socializing, and reading several books a month.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I grew up in a family-owned automotive and real estate business. Both have always been in my blood and passions of mine. I began working in the industry right out of college, and I had always wanted my own company. The idea came from evolving a business that was started in 1955 by my father. I was able to grow it from a very small company to one of the largest.

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

I typically start my day very early while it’s still quiet. That’s when I do much of the research, investigating, and paperwork I have to get done. Later on, I’m interacting on the phone or in-person meetings with clients or customers to discuss cutting-edge solutions to their transportation needs. I also spend a lot of time socializing, working out at the gym, and with my family to balance my life.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Through perseverance and determination. I’ve been in the industry long enough to determine which tasks are reasonable, and then I pursue those. I also refuse to give up partway through an idea. If something isn’t working the way I hoped, I will continue trying to find another resolution and a conclusion for all of my clients. You can always accomplish your goal if you persist and don’t get discouraged.

What’s one trend that excites you?

There is much change happening in my industry right now. There are electric vehicles and rideshare, and all these new green initiatives and urban mobility. Within five years, we will have auto products that didn’t exist today, ones concerning rideshare and urban transportation options. What I find exciting is that I could be on the ground floor for all of these changes over the next decade. People’s transportation needs and the way they think of transportation and commuting is changing now more than it ever has in history.

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

I listen to my clients’ needs with an open mind, and I’ve been doing this for many years. I make sure that I don’t have any predetermined conclusions about my clients. I am defined as being fair, admitting my mistakes and failures, and owning up to them.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell a younger Marc Zaransky to be more flexible and open to change.

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

With all of the new technology and innovation and changes in my industry, the one thing that remains most important is personal relationships and excellent service. I find that many people believe, particularly in my industry, that everybody wants to do things on the internet these days and have things less personal. That is one of the trends right now, to have less interaction and less face to face meetings with clients. I disagree with this method.

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

I make sure to keep in contact and keep cordial relationships with my customers and clients. I listen to their changing needs and stay open-minded to change.

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

One strategy I found to help grow our business is focusing on growth within my existing customers instead of always looking for new business. I help my existing clients to grow and I’m there for them as they continue to grow, by growing with them.

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

I’ve been through several financial crises. I’ve overcome it by just downsizing, persevering, and by waiting for our climate to change.

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

Autonomous vehicles are the future. I believe investing in this undeniable future will be a great idea for many. Cities and towns worldwide can easily subsidize self-driving cars to bring customers for free and drive them home safely. This will be extremely useful for a magnitude of reasons.

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

I’ve recently acquired a personal trainer and have begun working out regularly. I find it helps to clear my mind.

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

There is a variety of software that incorporates information from all different vendors, lenders and clients, and it puts it all on one platform. These new online tools provide me with up to the minute information. It’s a fantastic technology that has evolved to make life much easier.

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

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I believe that this book provides a great perspective on what’s important in life.

What is your favorite quote?

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” – Henry Ford.

Key Learnings:

  • Through perseverance and determination, you can succeed.
  • Focus on growth from existing clients
  • Keep in contact with customers and clients to develop a good relationship