Q – Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities.
Answer Mel Mravik – Our business is Trans Works Transmissions. We are located in Portage, WI. We perform repairs, rebuild or replace auto and light truck drive train. Such as, but not limited to transmissions, clutches, transfer cases, drive axles and shafts. If it makes your car move, we probably work on it.
Q – Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements).
Answer Mel Mravik – I have been married to my wife and Business Partner Kim for 35 years. We have 3 daughters and 5 grandsons. I am a fully certified ASE Master Technician for 35 years. We have been fully self employed since 1997.
Q – What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Answer Mel Mravik – We were inspired to start our own business when it was apparent to us that there was a need for a specialist in this field in our area.
Q – What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Answer Mel Mravik – I would tell new entrepreneur’s to keep to your idea’s but be ready to make changes as markets and trends in your field change.
Q – What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Answer Mel Mravik – Skills need vary upon your field, but attributes would be courage and dedication, family/spouses/partner support and willingness to learn from and grow from mistakes made.
Q – How many hours do you work a day on average?
Answer Mel Mravik – The average hours an owner must work varies. There is not a normal work day. Usually about 11 – 12 hours, the real answer is as many as needed.
Q – To what do you most attribute your success?
Answer Mel Mravik – My success comes from the support I get from my wife and business partner.
Q – How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Answer Mel Mravik – We started marketing with phone books, then added radio and tv. We have now changed more to internet services. We provide Good Will Services such as free road test and estimates. Our most successful form of marketing is direct contact and word of mouth.
Q – Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Answer Mel Mravik – We build our business slow. We self funded it, slowly building inventory. When the time came for an expansion we got a loan from our local bank.
Q – What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Answer Mel Mravik – Long term success is achieved with determination, hard work and the willingness to change plans when needed.
Q – Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Answer Mel Mravik – I hope in 5 t0 10 years to be able to sell and slow down a little.
Q – Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Answer Mel Mravik – I admire any dedicated Business Owner that has stood the test of time.
Recommended Questions –
Q – How important have good employees been to your success?
Answer Mel Mravik – Good employees are one of the most valuable part of your business.
Q – How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Answer Mel Mravik – I will not give up on an idea until I have tried it and failed at least 3 times. Or until my head starts to bleed from running it into a wall (whatever comes first)
Q – What motivates you?
Answer Mel Mravik – Overcoming and completing a difficult task motivates me.
Q – What are your ideals?
Answer Mel Mravik – My ideas are how to better use my time and talents to run my business.
Q – How do you generate new ideas?
Answer Mel Mravik – New ideas come from new needs in an area.
Q – How do you define success?
Answer Mel Mravik – My success is defined by keeping productive employees, returning customers, referrals, and staying current on paying bills.
Q – How do you build a successful customer base?
Answer Mel Mravik – You build a successful customer base by satisfying your customers needs.
Q – What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Answer Mel Mravik – My favorite aspect is knowing that we build what we have.
Q – What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Answer Mel Mravik – My most satisfying moment is when a new customer has been referred to me by other shops.
Q – What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Answer Mel Mravik – The biggest difference is dedication and understanding customer satisfaction.
Q – In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur.
Answer Mel Mravik – Demanding
Optional Questions –
Q – If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Answer Mel Mravik – If I could I would have started my business earlier in life.
Q – How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Answer Mel Mravik – At times being an entrepreneur has strained the family. But it has also strengthened it as we overall. Two of our daughters are now business owners as well.
Q – What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
Answer Mel Mravik – My greatest fear is future changes needed. I manage the fear by changing when needed.
Q – How did you decide on the location for your business?
Answer Mel Mravik – We looked at trends in our community when we relocated.
Q – Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Answer Mel Mravik – Yes, I believe the formula is hard work!
Q – If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
Answer Mel Mravik – Joan Of Arc because she believed in and fought for what she believed.
Q – Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Answer Mel Mravik – My wife Kim is my greatest inspiration.
Q – What book has inspired you the most? (OR what is your favorite book?)
Answer Mel Mravik – I am really not a big book reader.
Q – What are some of the biggest mistakes you’ve made?
Answer Mel Mravik – Not taking enough personal time.
Q – How can you prevent mistakes or do damage control?
Answer Mel Mravik – You learn from your mistakes and own up to correcting them.
Q – What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Answer Mel Mravik – My hobbies are outdoor activities, such as ATV riding, spending time in the woods with my wife and grandson’s.
Q – What makes you happy?
Answer Mel Mravik – Going home after a successful day makes me happy.
Q – What sacrifices have you had to make to be a successful entrepreneur?
Answer Mel Mravik – My sacrifices have been lack of family and personal time.