Welcome back to Leader Talk! In episode 57 we spoke to Jose Marquez, CEO of Quantum Motors South America, the first Bolivian company dedicated to manufacturing electric cars.
With a focus on environmental and regional sustainability, Jose aims to make Quantum Motors SA a leader in the electric transport industry, helping solve problems caused by combustion vehicles. Jose is well-versed in people management, resource allocation, sales strategies, and software engineering, making him a well-rounded leader in both the production and software development industries.
In this chat, we spoke about how to find your purpose and bring people along on your journey to success.
Want to learn more? You can read or listen to our chat with Jose Marquez on YouTube, Spotify, Listen Notes, or Player FM. It’s also available anywhere you listen to your favourite podcasts via Buzzsprout.
Authored by Jose Marquez, CEO of Quantum Motors South America.
Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially when you have to compete with established companies in your industry. Confidence will play a crucial role in your small business’s long-term success and your motivation to keep going. As a small business owner, the three essential traits you should master: a clear vision, a solution to real problems, and an observant mind. These traits will help you be confident in your business and ensure long-term success, even when facing bigger competitors.
Let me share my personal experience in the electric car industry in Latin America as an example. When people think of the electric car industry, they think of Tesla. Our region needs to be part of the sustainable energy transition, but affordability is a big issue. We have very low incomes compared to people who can afford Teslas. That was our thinking process when we created Quantum Motors S.A. Being an entrepreneur is all about identifying untapped markets and helping those who aren’t being helped. Not only did we aim to provide cars that people in the region can afford but also that feed their needs. For example, in Mexico City the average speed is as low as 30km/hr and in Lima it is 12km/hr. These are very crowded cities with very slow traffic and cars that are literally burning money and causing pollution. So we designed low-speed, lightweight, and sustainable vehicles that are both affordable and feed their needs.
To be confident in your business, you must ensure that it provides solutions to people’s specific pain points. Knowing that you’re actually helping people in ways that no one else has been able to can be a great motivator. Remember, your business doesn’t have to tackle the world’s biggest problems right away – start by addressing the problem in front of you.
Identify your solution
Many people think of becoming an entrepreneur to create their own opportunities. However, to survive in the competitive world, it’s crucial to be very sure about your idea and the reason you’re putting it out there.
Your “why” is your driving force. What problems are you and your team solving and why? Not all startups or entrepreneurial ventures will solve a problem, let alone make a significant change. But if you’re making an effort every day to achieve both, you can be confident in your business with the fact that you are helping real people with real solutions. For example, our company wanted to build electric cars because we believed that the big brands weren’t taking care of a large number of people. We wanted to provide a better solution for low-income people living in big, crowded cities.
Getting to know your target market will also help you combat a lack of funding and resources, a significant challenge for businesses. Once you understand their needs, problems, and desires, you can better prepare to grow and expand your business. It’s important to focus on your unique selling points. Remember, logic is what drives us, and if you have a compelling value proposition, you can play to that and attract your target market.
Bring the vision
The downside to having innovative ideas and solutions is that sometimes convincing people of your vision takes a lot of work. In such cases, not only do you need to convince your clients, you also need to convince your workers to believe in your vision and join you on the journey.
This was the case for us when we started to build electric cars in Bolivia five years ago. Some thought our dream was impossible, while others labelled me as “the crazy electric car guy from Bolivia”. However, like many entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s in my nature to dream big and strive to make the impossible possible. With perseverance, we convinced some people of our vision and succeeded.
To convince others of your vision, you need to explain your idea clearly and create a space for open-mindedness and possibility. Paint the picture of how the problem can be easily solved with your product or service. Sharing a vision is not just about making a nice statement or having a big dream, but it’s about explaining how you’re going to do it and why you want to make it happen.
It’s not enough to have workers who are there for experience or money. To truly succeed, you need a team that shares your vision and thinks like you do. People who are passionate about their work and have a sense of purpose are more likely to do their best for your business.
Be a curious observer
As a small business owner, it’s important to keep an eye on everything around you – watch how things work, identify areas that need improvement, and understand how you can make them better. And here’s a little secret: your product or service is allowed to evolve. The product you offer when you first start may be very different from the product you offer in a year or five years. As technology and procedures evolve, your product should evolve with them. So stay curious and observant to come up with innovative ideas to improve your business and its solutions.
I tell my team members to be like a Swiss army knife. You never know when you’ll need to use a particular tool. Arm yourself with a variety of skills, like making a website, marketing, or another language. It will open doors for you. Being curious is crucial in business. It will help you understand how things work and open your mind to new ideas and possibilities.
Every market has its own innovators and people who are willing to try new things, including what your business hopefully has to offer. Observation can help a great deal here as well. Find the innovators in your market and make them your ambassadors who spread the word about your solutions and help you reach a broader audience. Then, once you start growing, it is essential to keep observing and adapting to changes, as your target market may change with you.
As a business owner, you will face scrutiny and judgment from others, but who I call the “haters” can actually be your biggest help. Not only does having critics show that your business has recognition and visibility, but it can also provide you with an opportunity to find something true in their comments. Some of the critics may have valid points that you can use to solve issues or problems. It’s crucial to observe and learn from their comments and use them as a tool to become better. By embracing helpful scrutiny and criticism, you can improve your business and take it to the next level.
Taking time to observe also means you have time to slow down and think with a clear mind. It is normal to feel worried or stressed at times but take your time to observe, learn from failures and prevent them from happening again. Some solutions are much easier than you think, so when faced with problems, it is important to remain calm and analytical, as losing your nerve can make it worse. Take the time to analyse the situation and understand how you got there. By doing so, you can identify the reasons behind the problem and come up with an effective solution.
Being an observer requires a lot of curiosity, energy, and willingness to learn from feedback and comments. Remember, problems will occur, but with a calm and analytical approach, you can always find a way forward.
Being an entrepreneur is not an easy journey, but having a clear vision, a solution to real problems, and an observant mind are crucial traits that can help you be confident in your business and succeed in the long run. By focusing on solving specific pain points, you can make a real difference in people’s lives and create something that truly stands out from the competition.
So don’t be afraid to dream big, and always remember your “why” – the reason why you started your business in the first place. With these traits and a strong sense of purpose, you can build a successful business and make a positive impact on the world.
So, ask yourself, what is your “why”?