Automotive expert Kamran Saleem has over 15 years of experience in the automotive industry. He is skilled at raising money, franchising, and navigating the deal-maker’s journey! Kamran studied Business Management at Aston University. He is the founder Motoserv UK, a sales and service organization.
Kamran has always loved cars. He notes that, growing up, his parents were accountants. This led to being surrounded, early on, by entrepreneurs and business owners that his parents worked with. From restaurant owners to commerce and trade businesses, he feels lucky to have had so many early inspirations.
As a result, Kamran feels that becoming an entrepreneur himself wasn’t a question of “if”, but of “when”. While studying Business Management at Aston University, Kamran’s early work was connected to financial management and office-related roles. Upon graduation, he joined the family accounting firm. However, he found that all of his clients and connections had pressing questions beyond the numbers: they needed to know things about their cars!
After giving out a great deal of advice, Kamran ended up becoming a deal packager and set up a brokerage. This allowed him to earn commission from banks and auto sellers. Quite quickly, he was making more money with his automotive connections than he was working for his father’s firm! Although he was still years out from franchising, he was on the way towards his own business.
Early Deal-Making & Growth
Kamran remembers being around 16 and buying a camera and laptop. He went around and took pictures of menus and food at restaurants, and started writing things up online. His clientele quickly grew, and he was charging a few hundred pounds to put up their sites. He completed around 50 in the first year, which set him up for ongoing entrepreneurial success.
Now, Kamran is located in the UK. He works in the automotive trade, with both servicing and sales, with the company he founded, Motoserv UK.
Early on, this required raising funds. He put together his concept, and worked to do so via private funding to get off the ground. He also took on quite a bit of debt to get started. Kamran noted that, in the UK, the automotive trade has a tendency to struggle. With all those industry failures, finding a backers for his idea was quite difficult.
Another hurdle? His age. Kamran was still in his 20’s, and didn’t have a proven track record for taking on something this large. Those factors, coupled with the industry he was trying to enter, would have made it easy to get discouraged. He kept working hard, however, and was able to find an investor who believed in his vision and was willing to take a chance.
Kamran’s business plan was an essential part of securing that early funding. He was able to demonstrate how his vision for the organization met the lender’s criteria and lending sensibility.
He also attributes his success to personal networking. By leveraging personal recommendations from financial industry professionals that he had met and grown relationships with via networking, he was able to take an extra step in demonstrating his credibility.
Once he had a seat at the table, Kamran also needed to be able to sell his vision. Being able to communicate the passion, drive, and energy he had was a major part of closing the deal.
Because of the uniqueness of his business model, Kamran notes that many potential investors felt that it wasn’t going to be sustainable. In fact, many predicted it would all fall apart with growth! He notes there is some wisdom to their feedback, as the business has required a lot of him to maintain and scale. In fact, he’s been called a “professional juggler” by his accountant because of how many balls he has in the air with the business!
Because of the nature of the industry, Kamran has needed to stay flexible over the years. He shares he has refinanced, paired everything down, and restructured a number of times.
However, his willingness to work through the financing process has also allowed him to take his monthly payment from being over 20,000 pounds per month, to being 6,000. Although there were some early payment fees, the business absorbed them in order to make moves that would benefit them in the long run.
Freeing up that extra cash flow has enabled him to grow and expand in ways he couldn’t with the higher payment plan. Kamran shares that he is always looking at options and possible end games. He has a real genius for seeing where profit could be made, and how things could be copy/pasted and regenerated into new businesses or profits.
Expanding Into Franchising
Having opened the original branch in Solihull, he’s since seen the organization grow via franchising. Kamran notes that a major part of growth has been the development of relationships.
MotoServ UK is well aware of the lifetime value of customers. This can mean not emphasizing “money today”, if it means off-putting customers or losing later business. Instead, the focus is on how they can best serve, stay top of mind, and become a part of people’s lifelong automotive journeys.
After all, car repairs, purchases, and sales are an ongoing aspect of many people’s lives. For success, you have to think beyond simple services and consider the big picture.
Kamran has also implemented a subscription model, which helps to stabilize income in an industry that can have wide ranging fluctuations across seasons and time periods. His deal-making journey is inspiring, and he shares great information in this episode. Definitely listen in for his thoughts on retention as well — he is a master of the game!
Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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