Brian Lounsberry-CEO of Motovicity-devoted a large chunk of a late-June day to an interview with THE SHOP magazine. This is the third of three parts from our conversation.
THE SHOP (TS): You were named CEO of Motovicity in December. What have you learned about yourself, the job, and the company since coming into this new post?
Brian Lounsberry: I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned was this role has never made me happier. I was always a little tiny bit nervous at the idea of taking this type of job, and the stress and the challenge, but it puts the biggest smile on my face every single day. I live for it. It’s almost an addictive sort of thing. I love this job.
TS: What are some specific things you love about it?
Brian Lounsberry: I really like engaging my staff and helping them to overcome their challenges and helping them develop.
When I first took over, I sat down and wrote out six months of our strategy. Everyone got tasks. My idea was to do three years worth of work in six months. I got to watch my staff and myself struggle with that and overcome. It really taught me a lot about how much you can push and how much you have to appreciate at the same time
TS: Were you successful in accomplishing those goals early on?
Brian Lounsberry: Yes. Our first quarter, our tasks were all done. Our second quarter, our tasks were all done. They were pretty ambitious goals and a lot of them are still in final stages, but I couldn’t believe how hard the team challenged themselves and the positive attitudes they had. I was a little bit shocked. I thought it would be more of a struggle. Believe me, people were frustrated, but man, they really did good work.
TS: What changes have you made to the company since becoming CEO?
Brian Lounsberry: We already had a good culture here, but what I really wanted to do first was to emphasize that culture. I wanted to get back to our roots and what’s important for us. I wanted the employees to know that they’re the most important thing to me; and then comes our customers. If we aren’t happy here doing what we’re doing, then how can we expect our customers to be happy dealing with us?
TS: Any other changes to note?
Brian Lounsberry: Yeah, putting together defined goals and ambitions was a big priority. Not only that, I made all the other departments learn what other departments did and what their metrics were and what was important to them. That way, when they’re working together, there’s less bickering and fewer people saying ‘what do they even do?’ and ‘why does that matter for me?’ Everybody got a good understanding that we’re all pulling that rope in one direction.
TS: What is your strategic vision for Motovicity and how will that affect our readers?
Brian Lounsberry: All my vision is customer-focused innovation. I want to make the customer happy. I can’t tell you every single thing I’m going to be putting through, but for anybody who knows me, I’m constantly trying to think of ways to be different and more competitive. It keeps me awake at night trying to challenge our industry, challenge the segment of business we’re in as a WD.
I think Motovicity has always been an innovator and I think we’ll continue to do that. I wrote out a laundry list of things that I want to do over the next two years and we’re checking those things off. Every one of those things-because we only sell wholesale-directly benefits our customer base.
TS: What are some unique ways you engage your customers?
Brian Lounsberry: Well this sounds kind of old fashioned, but it’s actually unique now: I believe you have to have a relationship with who you’re buying parts from, and I believe in having a live person on the phone-somebody you can reach out and talk to.
TS: Tell us about your biggest business failure and how you used it to fuel future success?
Brian Lounsberry: For the last couple of years we have been trying to bring forward a new version of our website. Murphy’s Law hit us every way through this experience. Everything that could go wrong went wrong.
The two previous versions of the site, we made on our own. We have our own IT department and we built our own infrastructure-we operate on a lot of code that we’ve written ourselves. This new website we were working on, we outsourced the work because that’s what a lot of people told us we needed to do and that it’s a smarter, faster and better was to operate. But we learned, even though this is a business-to-business model and there are companies that support that, the way that we go to business is not that easy to adapt to a turnkey platform. We struggled with this for a couple years.
In 2017, when I took over I got fed up with it and I had our in-house team look at all the stuff that we had done. We sat down and figured out how we could do it and we made a new version of the site in two-and-a-half months.
The biggest thing it taught me personally was, when I started here a Motovicity, I was a guy who had never written an email before. I have learned, profoundly, an education in IT. I had to learn from the bottom to the top how it all worked. I personally learned how to do wire frames and story boards for function and operation on the website, and a whole new level of project management.
The team themselves and all of us learned that if you want something done correctly, you’ve got to roll your sleeves up and do it yourself, because there’s nothing you can buy off the shelf that’s going to fit your business perfectly.
TS: When you look at what Motovicity is accomplishing today, what are you most proud of?
Brian Lounsberry: Even though we had a laundry list of tasks, I wasn’t met with any opposition. The team, said ‘ok, let’s do it, let’s get it done.’
Overall as a company, the thing that makes me smile in the background: When I started here, we only had less than 30 brands and there were eight of us on staff. We were the underdog. Nobody let us display at SEMA. We had every negative thing put on us.
I get stoked that we started out as this little tiny company that started out with a few select brands and a handful of employees, and now we’ve made a seat for ourselves at the big boy distribution table-all the while not selling out, and staying true to ourselves and core values.
TS: How many people does Motovicity employ today?
Brian Lounsberry: It always floats between 99 and 101, so I always just say 100.