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Exploring Life & Business with Kevin Syed of Integrity 1st Automotive

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kevin Syed.

Hi Kevin, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
First and foremost, passion. From a very young age, I always had a passion for cars. I was able to take this passion and begin working in the field in gas stations and automotive shops in New York. Having an entrepreneurial father, and a successful one at that, fostered an environment that encouraged innovation, and an affinity to lead. I was always looking for autonomy – I didn’t take directions very well.

Although my managers disliked my often contrarian attitude; they could not deny the level of customer experience and sales I was generating for them.

I had always aspired to be involved in business, whether in an executive capacity or ownership.

Naturally, I gravitated towards business related studies during my postgraduate pursuits, having earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from SUNY Buffalo in 2006.

While simultaneously earning my degree, I worked at an automotive repair shop which my father had a real estate investment in. I was taught all aspects of the business. Upon graduating, my responsibilities with the business expanded to management and operations.

Once I had enough industry experience and savings under my belt, I decided to become a franchisee of Getty Petroleum/British Petroleum. While some autonomy was lost, having been under-the-curtains of a multinational organization, I was able to gain tremendous insights on how businesses scale without compromising on quality or control.

After the better half of a decade operating as a franchisee, I decided to develop my own automotive service centers in New York. In 2015, my family and I relocated to Texas where Integrity 1st Automotive was born and is thriving.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
There was definitely turbulence along the way; and it required continued self-awareness and compartmentalized thinking to overcome these obstacles.

DELEGATION. The foremost obstacle that most entrepreneurs like myself have faced has been delegation. In simple terms, putting elements of your business in full trust of other individuals. Running an auto repair shop as an owner/operator is easy because I am fully in control and accountable. Delegating management off to team members required a spirit of ‘letting go’ and trust that was initially uncomfortable. If done incorrectly, you will micromanage your colleagues and turn them off from the business. If you take your foot completely off the gas, you risk the integrity of your systems and processes. Finding that middle-path was key, and is something I continue to improve on.

CREATING SCALABLE SOLUTIONS. When you’re looking to expand your business to new markets and demographics, you need systems and operating procedures that genuinely scale. The goal is to create turn-key solutions that are agnostic to location and demographics. While not all processes and systems can be a ‘one-size fits all’ solution; you want to get as close to this ideal as possible. The turbulence here is in ideating these solutions, putting them into writing and training modules, transferring that knowledge to team members, and then auditing compliance and effectiveness.

BEING A LEADER, NOT A BOSS. This is critical. Being a business owner who wants to grow requires the sensitive transition from boss to leader. A boss simply manages employees, systems, and tasks… a leader is an entirely different domain. My role was no longer to manage team members; I trust in my systems and processes for that. My role instead was to inspire, engage, listen, motivate, and lead by example.

As you know, we’re big fans of Integrity 1st Automotive. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Whether you’re looking for an oil change, need an expert to diagnose that annoying check engine light, or require comprehensive engine repairs – the Integrity 1st Automotive family is there.

We’ve become one of the highest rated and fastest growing automotive repair shops in the DFW Metroplex by dedicating ourselves to our craft and refusing to compromise on our core values.

Our mission is quite simple; to provide honest repair at a price that’s fair. To treat every person walking through our doors with the same intent and effort as they would their own mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. Essentially we are in the relationships-business; but we just-so-happen to repair and maintain vehicles. In order to build relationships, it requires an organization that takes the time to genuinely educate and guide clients with integrity, honesty, and transparency.

Aside from providing world-class service and ethics, Integrity 1st Automotive shops are fitted with dealership-level equipment and tools, gorgeous lobbies with a myriad of amenities, proudly ASE-Certified, and we back all our work with industry-leading warranties. The foundation and vision of the business is to be the undisputed choice for consumers.

The truth is, even with all the bells and whistles mentioned we are human, and we may not always be perfect. However, you don’t measure an individual or organization on how they react when things go right…it’s how they react when things go wrong. We stand by our work, we are not shy to admit our faults, and we always exhaust all possible options to resolve concerns.

Lastly, I must say that you don’t need to take my word for it, simply run a Google search on Integrity 1st Automotive and you will find over 1,500 verified 5-star reviews of clients all over the DFW metroplex sharing their experiences with our organization.

What do you like and dislike about the city?
What I love most about our city are the local city departments who have been so conducive and resourceful for small business owners. It’s with great pride that I can say your voice as a citizen can and will be heard. Our local fire and police departments are courteous, friendly, and professional.

I also love the myriad of food and entertainment options always within reach; foods from different cultures and classic southern tastes! Not far from the city, you’re able to get in touch with mother nature. I personally enjoy hunting, fishing, and marksmanship.

Lastly – as a gear head myself – I am thrilled to be part of a community where I am able to found and/or join exotic car clubs such as Lamborghini Club Dallas and Porsche Club Dallas.

What I dislike the most at this time is the exponential growth we are facing; it’s not a complete negative as there is a lot of benefits that comes with growth.

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