Moran Industries was formed in 1990 when the Moran’s acquired Mr Transmission, which was the beginning of their entry into the franchising world. Over the years Mr. Moran’s entrepreneurial spirit was evident as he built the original business around automotive resale & wholesale and eventually saw the need for automotive and transmission parts and repair services. In 1990, Mr. Moran, his wife and his youngest daughter Barb founded Moran Industries and expanded the business model to include franchised repair facilities with the acquisition of Mr. Transmission. Through hard work, commitment to customers and development of innovative products and services, Dennis, Cele and Barb built the business into one of the leading transmissions, auto repair and accessory franchises in the country. Barb has led the company through a changing industry and served as the President and CEO since 1999. In 2010 Barb purchased her parents shares in the company and became the majority shareholder of Moran Industries, Inc. Today Barb is the majority shareholder and CEO of the Moran Family of Brands which includes Milex Complete Auto Care, Mr. Transmission, Multistate Transmission, Dr. Nick’s Transmission Smartview Window Solutions and Alta Mere Automotive Outfitters. This is her genesis story.
So Barb – you grew up in a family business. Any lessons there or stories you can share about the benefits and/or pitfalls of a family business?
The benefits of working within a family business is the opportunity you have to learn many aspects of a business and being a part of carrying on the family’s legacy to the next generation. The pitfalls are many and choices have to be made at some point on your ability to work with family. Not everyone is cut out for that much time with family and may have aspirations to do other things in life. I think one of the first pitfalls you have is others perception of who you are and what your capabilities are within the business. Another pitfall is the expectation your other family members have of your performance and dedication. Living at home and working for my dad was not easy. If I stayed up or out after 10PM on a work night he would get angry and wake me up at 5 to have a meeting It was expected that I put in 110% in all the work I did, take no lunches, stay late and start early. If you can handle that environment then going into the family business can be rewarding in the end game.
You grew up in predominantly a man’s world (automotive businesses). I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. What challenges have you incurred being the female head of an automotive company?
I have definitely seen a lot of changes in the industry from the technology side, all the way to those working within the industry. It has been an amazing journey and one that I appreciate being a part of. Challenges that I have incurred as a female leader within this business are many and helped me to be a better leader. I think one of the most significant challenges was when I first went out on the road to meet franchisees. I was met with a great deal of disregard, and questions as to my ability and knowledge of the automotive industry. During those first encounters I asked for time to show through my actions my ability to lead our company. I found this method to be the best avenue in changing anyone’s perception of another person.
Whose idea was it to start franchising additional locations and why?
When we acquired Mr. Transmission it was always our intention to franchise additional locations. However, we decided to first focus on growth by acquisition and then began to grow organically.
What is the biggest business mistake you made – and how did you learn/recover from it?
There have been many mistakes over the years and there will be many more in the future. I think what is most important when making mistakes is to first acknowledge the mistake, take accountability for it, correct the mistake when possible and finally learn from it. We all make mistakes. It is how you choose to handle it that makes the difference. So having said that, probably one of the biggest mistakes I made early on was accepting less from others and not holding them to the expectations that we had and needed from them. The leader sets the vision of a company, the culture and others depend on them to lead and hold everyone accountable to this vision and culture.
Your company has a strong value’s statement – want to share that with us?
When we started in franchising my father’s vision was to help others go into business for themselves but not by themselves. He wanted to be able to help them achieve the American dream just like he did. Over the years of helping him, his vision became my vision. I love being a part of helping others get into business for themselves. Some of my happiest moments are hearing franchisees success stories of creating a legacy for their families. We are family driven, with a vision of helping others accomplish their dreams of business ownership, creating legacies and having a culture of DRIVE; Dedication, Respect, Integrity, Vision and Enthusiasm.
Do you have any female franchisees?
Absolutely! In fact, our Master Franchise in Africa is owned by a woman. The women who are a part of our system have been wonderful to work with and excel within their businesses. I think one of the struggles I am trying to overcome is finding more women to enter this industry a business owner.
Who makes a successful franchise owner in your opinion?
There are several factors that go into what or who makes a successful franchise owner. Having the right attitude is first and foremost when going into business. You have to be willing to work harder than you ever have in your life. You have to be willing to follow the process you bought into when you made the decision to buy a franchise and you have to constantly work on being a leader within your business.
What’s next for the Moran Family of Brands?
Continue to grow our business with our franchisees leading the way. There is so much we want to do and aspire to be. The most important for us is have DRIVE and creating customer experiences that result in satisfaction and loyalty! We have always believed that our success is dependent on our franchisees success and that needs to continue to be our focus.