Friday, November 29, 2013
By: Fred Granillo
Like many kids growing up in Guam, Derrick Muna Quinata has fond memories of his Dad taking him to baseball practice or golf lessons or teaching him to ride a bike. Derrick rode the bus after school to his grandparents Bill and Ana Muna’s house in Mangilao where he would do his homework and play. Derrick had fun with friends and got in trouble just like other children. He was a normal kid. Some of his early memories are of accompanying his mother to work. Derrick’s mother Donna is a successful auto sales person for many years and still works today.
Derrick remembers running around SLC Motors (the old Ford/Mazda Auto Dealership) as a kid. He would sweep floors, clean cars and other tasks that afforded him the opportunity to learn the auto business. He remembers walking around the auto showroom listening to the different sales people entertain customers. He truly enjoyed the different vehicles, sales process, and dealership environment thinking “this is a great business.” The auto dealership was his second home, the environment was dynamic and he felt comfortable there.
Later, he went on to college and earned his bachelor degree in business from the University of Guam. Then, he worked in the technology field for a few years, and although he enjoyed and excelled in the work he was doing, something was missing in his professional life. Derrick is not sure why, but one day he decided to try his hand at selling cars and after rejection from some dealerships, Triple J Motors hired him as an auto salesman. He then spent several years with both Triple J Motors and Atkins Kroll, Inc. (Toyota dealership) proving to be a successful salesman by surpassing stated goals and earning high commissions. He has been in the industry ever since.
In early 2009 Monster Auto Corp. started operations with three employees that included the two shareholders at the time. The company does business as Guam Auto Spot. The business started with just 5 cars on consignment. They started out with a small loan to establish the initial office and hire employees. Derrick noted the start-up process and first year of operations was a rough learning experience. The biggest challenge was mustering enough capital to purchase some inventory and generate enough cash flow to keep operations open. This early struggle taught Derrick to rely on his ability to come up with creative financing to keep the business in operation while also selling cars and managing the overall operations.
The Small Business Development Center was there to offer advice on how to prepare a business plan with financial projections for the purpose of requesting for financing from the bank. Further, they provided advice on the financing process and how to determine the line of credit financing request. Given their goal of expanding the business, they needed to run their business more business-like through financial analysis if they wanted to achieve such goals. As a result, the business secured a line of credit with Bank of Guam and a Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) guarantee that enabled them to purchase increased inventory and sell a higher number of used vehicles to realize their goal of operational expansion. Thanks to the guidance they received from SBDC, Guam Auto Spot’s operations were able to jump to the next level.
In a few short years the company went from exclusively selling pre-owned vehicles, to offering detailing services, opening a repair shop to service vehicles, and offering after market products. In less than five years Guam Auto Spot became a full-service used car retail business. In 2013, the business moved into the new car market when they became the authorized Mitsubishi Dealership on Guam. The company moved into a familiar location, a former dealership location in East Hagatna to house this new car dealership. The new car operations started in September and the company is already seeing demand for the vehicles. Derrick noted the road to get where he has arrived so far has sometimes been bumpy and there were days when he wondered what he got himself into, but it seems that this is the path that he was meant to be on because of his passion for the auto business.
The company’s short term goal is to reintroduce the Mitsubishi brand back into Guam and achieve a respectable market share that was known for this brand when it was sold in past years. Another short term goal is the expansion of the service repair and maintenance segment for both new and used vehicles. The long term goal for the business is the expansion into additional brand name vehicles not currently offered on Guam.
For more information on how the Guam SBDC can help you, give us a call at (671)735-2590/8 or visit our website at www.pacificsbdc.com.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Why did you decide to start your own business?
What was the start-up process like?
What were some of the biggest challenges you experienced in the start-up process?
And lastly, balancing the different priorities in my life. Being a new single mom is hard work and so is opening up a business, but thankfully I really had the support that I needed. And I had to continue to prioritize and work at my own pace.
What is your most memorable triumph in your start-up process?