It should be no surprise that Dee Kivett’s career would be connected to the auto industry. She is president and CEO of Next Gen Suppliers as well as an automotive engineer with a prestigious Six Sigma Master Black Belt. She also is a professor at CU-ICAR. Why isn’t that surprising? Because her father is one of the famous Wood Brothers, the longest running racing team in the NASCAR Cup series, spanning more than seven decades. Kivett group around tires and cars. So what else do you want to know? Check out the Least Asked Questions.
What is the worst part of starting your own business?
I would say the lack of “mentors” on a regular basis. I have managed to find them through intentional participation in service groups and boards, where I can make friendships with people who can offer their advice from experience when needed.
A lot of entrepreneurs get caught up in the worrying about things like logos. What is your best advice for them to be really worrying about?
Worry first about really “knowing your game” before going out on your own. Do not try to start a business in an area where you don’t have experience already. This will help you ensure that you know what you’re getting into before taking the leap. Next, logos are nice, but in general… don’t drive business to your door. Get some early-adopters, those customers that will be your biggest fans and spread the word about what you do and who you are. Personal referrals are worth gold.
What drives you?
Being able to live the lifestyle I want with my family. The main reason I decided to go into business for myself was flexibility. When the kids have a school program at 10am, I can be there. Soccer practice at 4pm, I can take them. I may have to do much of my work at strange hours, but it is worth it to be able to spend the time with them for those special events in their lives.
What is the hardest part of managing your business?
Turning away work because you are too busy to take on more. This is really, really hard… but overall, it is better to tell a customer you cannot help them at this time than to try and end up under performing.
What is the one company that you wanted to start, but never did?
Don’t really have an answer for this one… sorry!