Delma Collins has been a business owner since 1989. Learn how this seasoned founder of AVC Sales & Service has made her business a success.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Sales and services of Alkota Cleaning Systems: Pressure Washers, Water Treatment Systems etc.
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
My husband Kenny (now deceased) and I had an air vent cleaning business and we knew the products from our first business so we decided to get into selling them.
Where did you get the startup money?
A first small loan with the SBA, Kenny was a veteran so that helped but that's how we started.
Who are your main competitors? How do you compete against them?
Our competitors are people who sell a different line of the same product – other brands of the same product. My biggest competitor now is the internet. I compete by surrounding myself with people that know their business. I find people who can help me stay abreast of the competition and let them focus on their areas of expertise as it pertains to my business while I focus on what I do best, selling and servicing the equipment.
How has your experience in running the business been different from what you expected?
Business owners have to really want to be a business owner. Running a business is not easy, you go to bed with it on your mind and wake up with it on your mind. It's hard, but with us defeat wasn't a part of our vocabulary.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I could take my knowledge and go back 20 years and use it then. Because we grow older you can only share it with the next generation so they can take the business to the next level.
What have you done that has been very effective in helping to grow the business?
Our highest priority is customer service –service after the sale. That alone makes us stand apart from the competition because many other companies sell the products then you are on your own.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
The most important thing is do not cut yourself short of operating money, you better be ready to weather a storm for 5 years.
Thank you Mrs. Collins for sharing your tips with the next generation!