Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in automotive but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Mubin Vaid & Charith Perera, Founders of TDot Performance, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are car enthusiasts, and we love serving car enthusiasts. We also love serving just about anyone else, of course! At TDot Performance, the focus has always been to keep the customer in mind by providing top-of-the-line aftermarket products at an affordable cost. We know how it feels to pay ridiculous fees just to ship parts from the U.S. We’ve been there. When we started this business, we were just a bunch of kids with big dreams. We were naïve, but that naivety helped us create a business where we could offer quality without all the extra costs like border fees, customs fees, and taxes. When we realized it was possible, we didn’t look back.
Tell us about yourself
Initially, we just wanted to make a bit of money. We started off going door-to-door, selling LED strips! Soon, we started thinking about how we could offer something different to customers. Right from the start, we felt that buying parts from the U.S. was a rip-off. You definitely don’t end up paying the amount you see on those websites. There are so many ridiculous hidden costs like border fees, customs, and taxes. We felt there was an opportunity for us to make a difference. Customers in Canada shouldn’t have to pay absurd extra fees for products. We thought we could offer the same or better quality products without the hidden costs. And that’s how TDot Performance was born. We had no idea that the business would take off the way it did. Making it to Dragon’s Den was the validation we needed that we were doing something right. Since then, there’s been no looking back. We always think about how we can do more and do better, and there’s a lot more to come from us. That’s what keeps us going.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think Dragon’s Den moment was huge, considering that at that point, I’d say we were still pretty new in the game. Since then, we’ve come a long way. When I look back at those door-to-door trips and see how far we’ve come, I still can’t believe it. Obviously, there’s a long way to go, but I’m proud to be here.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Oh, where do I start?! I don’t think there’s one difficult thing because there are new and unique challenges that pop up regularly that you just don’t foresee. Maybe that’s the hardest part, having to deal with a new set of problems frequently and having to evolve constantly. But to be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way because we need to keep evolving to be able to grow.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I know everyone’s heard these a million times, but clichés exist for a reason. Most of the time, they’re true. We started off wanting to make money, but ultimately, it’s all about providing value by solving a problem. That’s tip number 1. Find a common problem that people have and provide an affordable solution through your products. Tip number 2, don’t give up. The journey is full of ups and downs. A lot more downs than ups, but the ups, when they come, are huge, so the overall trajectory is upwards. If we’d given up the first time we faced a setback, we’d be out of business the year we started. Tip number 3 would be to keep evolving. After finding a bit of success, it’s easy to forget why you started the business in the first place. Don’t forget the reason you started: to provide value for customers. Keep the customers in mind and don’t remain static. It’s crucial to keep changing with the times by working hard and working smart.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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