Small-business owners, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd? Each week, we focus on an entrepreneur who has lessons to share that we think will resonate with other small-business owners.
Gary Bauer, founder of eco-friendly transportation service, Bauer’s IT, answers our questions:
What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?
Bauer’s IT stands for Intelligent Transportation. We supply employees of companies like Google, Wal-Mart and PG&E with comfortable, environmentally-friendly rides to work. While in transit, riders have access to high-speed Wi-Fi, flat screen LCD monitors, iPod hookups, phone and laptop power ports, CD and DVD systems, bike racks and bathrooms. But the best part? With a fleet of nearly 200 green vehicles — 15 of which are hybrids — we’re almost completely carbon neutral. Providing a group with transportation via a 52-person bus eliminates 1,310 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
I am both proud and dumbfounded when I look back at the progress of Bauer’s IT. What started as a single limousine has grown into one of the largest eco-friendly transportation companies in the U.S.
What’s the biggest challenge of owning your own business?
Identifying new opportunities while managing existing ones. Sometimes stepping back and looking at the bigger picture is necessary to ensure business health and growth.
Name: Gary Bauer
Business: Bauer’s IT, an eco-friendly transportation service.
Location: San Francisco
Year founded: 1989
Number of employees: 200
Web address: www.bauersit.com
What’s the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?
Changing people’s perceptions about group transportation. After seeing one of our huge buses on the road, which ostensibly looks like a gas-guzzling plague on the environment, people often have a negative view about this type of transit. However, by educating customers about why our service is actually a good and environmentally-smart solution that takes individual cars off the road, we were able to allay many of their concerns.
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?
Trying to do it all by myself. There is simply no way I could have grown the business by as much as it has in the past 20 years without other people’s help.
What’s the best business advice you can offer?
Build a sturdy foundation with a strong team of people and then lead by example. That includes owning up to (and learning from) your mistakes.
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