Mike Welch is the president and CEO of tirebuyer.com which merged with tirescanner.com, a US-based tire retail marketplace, in 2019. In this episode, Mike shares how we went from working at dealerships and small independent repair shops in the UK to founding and operating one of the most successful online tire retailers in the world.
02:40 - Mike got his start at 15 years old fitting tires at dealerships and small independent repair shops because it was all he knew. He wasn't interested in pursuing post-secondary education. Out of necessity, Mike was led to follow one opportunity after another that led to forming his company blackcircles.com (now owned by Michelin)
03:35 - Mike shares that he's always had the drive to work hard, something that the retail auto industry rewards. It's fascinating that the auto industry is still one of the few that accepts everyone and gives them the chance to make something big for themselves if they put in the work.
05:57 - Speaking about taking opportunities, Mike explains, "The fewer reference points you have for what could go wrong, the more upside potential there is." Mike explains how he got into selling tires after being made redundant by the shop he was working for.
08:33 - Mike explains how he went from having no experience to founding and growing a large e-commerce tire sales/tire fitting website. In the early days, it was all about doing whatever was required to get the job done and see sales come in. Mike recounts teaching himself how to code basic HTML so that he could build a website, i.e., having the willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.
10:25 - Mike shares the story about finding his mentor, Sir Teddy Lee (The CEO of Tesco). Mentors and those with experience can help grow a business exponentially because they have the wisdom of experience.
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[00:00:00] Michael: Get your Google vehicle ads up and running fast with flex dealer.com. The car business is rapidly changing and modern car dealers are meeting the demand. I'm Michael and together we're going to explore what it takes to create a thriving dealership and life in the retail automotive industry. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with subject matter experts that are designed to help you grow.
[00:00:27] Is the dealer playbook.
[00:00:41] Mike Welch: All
[00:00:41] Michael: right, gang, you know me, it's not every day that you get to have a fellow Commonwealth there on the show and in particular, because this is a topic that we haven't really ever been able to discuss on the show. And I can't think of anybody better than my guest today. Is dare I say, a master at e-commerce, especially when it comes to the online tire business.
[00:01:03] He was named president and CEO of tire buyer.com. The company merged with tire scanner.com at US-based tire retail marketplace launched in Florida in 2019. I'm going to let him share all about his journey and how he got into this business. And also the fashion business. If I recall correctly, Mike Welch, thanks so much for joining me here on the dealer playbook.
[00:01:27] Mike Welch: Thanks for having me. I'm not sure about the master thing though, but let's w we'll we'll explore that like, w we'll we'll
[00:01:35] Michael: know, by the end of this 30 minutes. So let me ask you, are you in the you're in, are you stateside now? Are you still based in the.
[00:01:44] Mike Welch: No we're in Miami. So we we've we've we've, we've camped here now.
[00:01:48] So this is the family home. So we, we made the move. My, my background, um, you know, I was a tire installer out of school. I mean, I didn't kind of stick about for, for the exams. I was shut out of the door at 15 fit in tires and, and, uh, in a dealership and, um, in Liverpool actually. So, um, you know, I've kind of been in and around the tire industry.
[00:02:13] Pretty much all my, or certainly all my working life. Um, you know, since I was a boy. Um, so, so I, I of kind of have, I guess my career has evolved through dealerships and an independence and then into e-commerce and e-commerce was, um, in, in Britain when I launched black circles.com, which was one of the first, certainly the first kind of what we consider click to fit or click to install online tire retailers.
[00:02:42] Michael: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit because I'm trying to think of how does a 15 year old or 16 year old, I guess at this time, you're, you're fitting tires. You're working in a dealership where the industry at large kind of has this stigma of dead end job, no growth, potential. It are those thoughts that you're having at this time, like, ah, I'm just here making a few bucks or are you seeing potential even from an early age on something you can grow into this business?
[00:03:12] Mike Welch: it's the thing that Canada looked back is is, is slightly difficult because you kind of feel like I've always thought the same about the opportunity, which was, it was an opportunity because I didn't have many, so I was very grateful to get a job and to be in an a few books. I mean, the irony is I then got made redundant, which forced me to start to look for another opportunity.
[00:03:35] And there were really, there were not many. So, um, I was then, um, Forced down, down on avenue a, which was to start to trade tires. It's like, that's all I knew. So I had contacts it. So I guess to answer your question, I've always been. About the hard work, you know, never shaked, you know, the candidate. So shift, so is about, look, I've got to make a book continue, you know, kind of, you know, obviously I've set up down this channel, I've got to keep going.
[00:04:06] So I started to trade ties to my, to my buddies, um, at a counter realize. Send me in a high-performance and there was a margin. And actually that the dealers and the independence, they were counter taken a tire off of a supplier, sticking an arbitrary mark open, then just getting it out the door. But actually there was, it struck me, there was some nuances in there.
[00:04:28] You know, we have performance stuff for exotic cars. You had different tiers, different brands. The market was evolving sizes. We're becoming a much more fragmented. There's more brands coming in. Um, so I thought, you know, I'll give, I'll give this a shot. I mean, how bad can it get? And, you know, I had stacks of ties in my, in my parents' front room.
[00:04:48] I'm not exaggerating. I mean, it was, it was chaotic, but it was, you know, it was kind of, it was, uh, an, an evolution of. Yeah, I'm buying size of this guy today and sell them and install them in the dealership. I just didn't have any way to install them, but the guy gave me an opportunity. He said, here's 15 days to pay, pay the bill pad, no credit, no cash.
[00:05:11] You know, I just had a, it was just a bare face task, you know, please, can you help me? And he said, yeah.
[00:05:18] Michael: Oh man, I love that. I, you know, as an entrepreneur, I'm feeling all of the, what I call bowel quivers of that circumstance. Like you're allowed to fall off a bicycle. There's so many moments I imagined that were baked into that experience of like, yes, I've got to make this work.
[00:05:36] Yes. I need to produce, yes. I know this industry. It's all I know. But also somebody who's given me a shot here
[00:05:44] Mike Welch: and it's funny, you know, that it's exactly right. And I think the. And, and you're kind of in your career, I wouldn't say in life, because it's not an age thing, but certainly early in your career, you take these sorts of opportunities.
[00:05:57] The less reference points you have for what could go wrong. So actually from my point of view, it was all upside and you know what, see if it didn't work, I felt like I've at least got some more experience in the bag because I didn't have those qualifications to lean back on that. What I would say is in the early days, I did well, I got further.
[00:06:18] I wouldn't go as far as a big, well, I got further because people gave me a chance and, and, and that was only because I was willing to ask for the chance. I think so often people can, uh, better not, I better not asked or a better not to of put my neck on the line. Why not, you know, nothing to lose. So, so that really was kind of what got me started, what I, what I started to realize as I was basically building a business.
[00:06:44] I mean, I'm selling tires, but actually what you know, I've now got a, I've got a P and L to manage. I've got supplies to pay. I've got customers to serve, you know, I've got a business, I've got the makings of a business. Which was, that was the daunting because I'm thinking, well, what's, you know, cash low and I've made it, you know, I'm, I'm relying on this guy, Nigel who's given me 15 days.
[00:07:07] I mean, that's, that's the basis of certain. So, so as that evolved, um, I was taking strip ads in magazines and what I realized was trying to put prices and realize like places go out of date quickly in the tire industry. So. You know, there's a thing called you know, the internet was kind of happening. I'm thinking, well, let's find out a little bit about this.
[00:07:28] And like, you know, over the course of three months I taught myself some basic code. Then I built a really simple racism and inventory on that I could change as well and just take strip ads or the URL. And that was the first move into having an internet business. Now that wasn't because of. The Internet's the place to be.
[00:07:46] It was just because it was the most economically for me to get my offer out into, into, into this small market that I've identified. And I'm really, that was the start of black circles, which kind of, you know, later on really evolved into, you know, into something really quite, quite big.
[00:08:02] Michael: This is fascinating because, and you kind of answered it, but I want to poke at it a little bit more because I think it really shows.
[00:08:10] A couple of things. One of the things I've actually had this conversation with a few people over the last week, Mike, and it's that the car business in particular is, is rare in that it can take in somebody who has no other experience. And if they're willing to see an opportunity and to work hard to your point, there's a life here.
[00:08:33] There's a life here and you can produce. And I was going to ask in particular, How you go from no experience to starting a large e-commerce tire selling tire fitting website. And you said, I taught myself how to do some basic code.
[00:08:54] Always been a part of who you are, like, has that baked into your DNA, that if you don't know something, you just go and figure it out. Because I would venture to say, not many people are thinking I should teach. You know what I think I should teach myself how to code,
[00:09:07] Mike Welch: you know, it's a fair, it's a fair point.
[00:09:09] It's kind of a means to an end. And I think that, you know, I'm, I'm, you know, I would say, so my, some of my knowledge, I would say that I was blessed with not having an ego. You know, I, I have spent most of my life, um, kind of relishing being the underdog, um, you know, really, um, uh, I've been fantastic experiences by leveraging other people's knowledge and I'm being the guy going with the ask.
[00:09:37] Um, so I, I had, I mean, around that time, You know, when, when they start to evolve the princess trust, which is, you know, the prince Charles has got a charity in the UK, they award grants to two young businesses that are kind of got a bit of a struggle. So the background is, um, you know, is that they're not blessed with, uh, with, uh, with, uh, you know, account of a jumpstart.
[00:10:04] So they identified what I was doing, but because of the circles, I'd started to mix in, you know, kind of local, um, kind of business clubs and whatnot. So they, they gave me a grant and that was really helpful, uh, to allow me to buy a computer and employee, somebody to do the admin. And then I had the business and then I kind of started to learn how to run a business.
[00:10:25] I taught at night cost to do accounts, so got this kind of business evolvement, but I kind of. No, I was, I was trading this, this commodity through on the internet, but I wasn't retail. And I knew that if I was going to be successful, I needed to retail. So I started to read. So I read a lot, you know, a lot about business, a lot of autobiographies, and that was my school really.
[00:10:48] And I read an article on a guy called sir Teddy Lee, who was the CEO of a business called Tesco, which is the equivalent to a Walmart in Europe. And he happens to be from. Well, I mean, live a P you know how we might even be cousins who knows. So, so I wrote him a letter. I wrote him a letter. He was, he was Forbes businessman of the year.
[00:11:11] And I wrote my letter. I said, look, I'm from Liverpool. You're from Liverpool. You're a great retailer. I'm trying to retail. Would you spare me some time? Uh, not, not really expect to get anything. And, and, you know, couple of days later he wrote me a letter, he says, come down to London, come and see me outlook.
[00:11:29] We have a cup of tea. We'll do half an hour, two hours later. You know, I mean, it was, it was amazing. And this is one of those kinds of moments. You know, um, anyway, so you can leave a year later, kind of six months, a year later, Ted invested in black circles. And then, you know, we became, we've become good friends and, but, uh, but I learned from him from one of the best retailers of his generation, um, how to read.
[00:11:58] Yeah, T managing tier tiers of good, better, best product management, margins customers, more important most than poly customers. And that gave me the, I guess, the focus either kind of handful of things that I think have kept I've created my style and our style in terms of the businesses that we operate as a group, because there's a group of us now we're kind of, we tend to kind of journey around the various businesses.
[00:12:23] You guys you've worked with me for 20, 25 years. I know, you know, the cornerstone of what we do is, is all about customers and you know, and how we over-deliver for customers. And what's great in every market where you sell to consumers. Tomorrow's another day, the next customer is another customer. You get another chance if you get it wrong, but it's not quite on point.
[00:12:47] Um, you know, you've got to learn from that and you've got to constantly evolve the offer to make sure you deliver for customers. And if you do that, because everybody says they do, but, but in my industry, you know, at that time black circles was, you know, it was a kind of, it was a small business. I mean, we would do maybe a million dollars a year in sales.
[00:13:07] Um, you know, over the course of 15 years, by focusing on our customers, um, know we built a hundred million dollar sales business off, uh, we raised about $200,000. So it was off, it was bootstrapped, you know, but it was, we had the fundamentals, right. Um, Michelin acquired the business in 2015 and use I've used black circles as their kind of boiler plate for e-commerce across the planet.
[00:13:33] So, you know, but it was when I kind of come back to what was the secret sauce? It wasn't really a secret. It was, there were fundamentals that we would not waiver from. And it was about how we deliver for our customers every day, how we create a culture of, you know, of, of camaraderie. We would ha you know, when we hired people in assembler place, that they, to a certain extent, you know, this may be comes back to me.
[00:13:59] I wouldn't necessarily be hot enough resume. Certainly not alone. It's about, it's about, for me, talent is about, you know, the eagerness, the commitment, you know, the kind of the fundamental drive of an individual. So we would hire differently. Um, and we compete, we compete every day to win and, and like I say, win is not, you know,
[00:14:22] Uh, capitalist kind of, um, when, uh, per se, it's about, it's about how do we judge our success by what our customers tell us that we're doing right, right. Or wrong. And we don't waiver. And that kind of form the, you know, we would engage customers quarterly, annually, and they would, they would drive our business plan.
[00:14:41] What could we do better? Where do we get it wrong? Well, you know, and we'd listen. And we, you know, and I'd want to hear the bad stuff, you know, and I I've been involved in so many businesses. Where, you know, we don't engage customers, um, as an exercise, but don't really recycle a great rich information that comes back.
[00:15:01] Particularly if it's bad news, nobody really wants to hear that they got it wrong. So we have this culture of tell us, tell us what would you know, this is great. You know, the good stuff's great, but really tell us how we could do better. And the team, you know, we're just double down on that. And that was just became a, like a steam train of kind of, of energy that kind of just took us so far.
[00:15:23] Michael: You've mentioned the word fundamentals and it's something that resonates with me. I feel like, how can, you know, if you want to build a massive structure, then the foundation needs to be in. Yep. But the reason, the other reason it stands out to me, Michael, is, is in the retail auto industry. There has been an increase in conversation about the fundamentals, culture, hiring process.
[00:15:48] You know, you've mentioned some soft skills and hard skills that you're looking for, but mostly, you know, like people that are eager that have commitment that are willing to compete, hold ourselves accountable, you know, get feedback and listen and customer experience and all of these sorts of things. My question to you is because the car business for the longest time, it's like, you either want a car or need a car or you don't.
[00:16:12] And if you do, we're here kind of a. How do you hold true to those fundamentals in moments where you think things should be growing faster, or maybe you feel like you're plateau Ang or not? Because I know that's something that a lot of people get hung up on is yeah. Yeah. I'm hearing culture, but that sounds like it takes a long time.
[00:16:32] Yeah. I'm hearing better hiring process, but that sounds like it takes a long time. So on and so forth. What's your recommendation.
[00:16:39] Mike Welch: Always take the, always take that longer route if that's what it takes. I mean, the challenge with not this business is a made of light. Of decisions and the layer on layer on layer.
[00:16:52] And, you know, you become those fundamentals are usually the leg they're made up of, uh, of, uh, of a huge legacy of decisions that you and your business make around. You know, it's those short-term, you know, we could get there in two steps, but it wouldn't be perfect. But we wanted it. Perfect. We'll have to get that in 15, you know, or whatever.
[00:17:14] And it's, it's a, it's a longer route round. You've got to take, you've got to do the right thing because you know, for the, we we've spent in all, in our current business, we spent 12 months. Replumbing our technology and our team making sure we've got the right focus and now we're flying. And I mean, flying, you know, in T and S you know, in a three month period, we've made more progress than I think we probably made.
[00:17:42] And 12 months in full flight of black circles, because we have the benefit of our experience. Now we knew, we knew that, you know, it's, it's, it is much easier when you kind of know what kind of broadly know what's coming around the corner, because to your point, if you can, uh, if you live in each day, The sales line or by, you know, the, the margin, um, uh, delivery, you know, you, can't, it's kind of one day to the next.
[00:18:06] And I think you've got to take a, be prepared to be brave enough to take a slightly longer term. I view it with a vision of what you want to be, you know, and, and recheck back on that and see that we all, where we are. And it's it's it's okay. It's good. It's okay. But we want to be excellent. We want to be the best in class.
[00:18:26] What's it going to take to get us there, make a commitment to that. And unless you're talking about kind of Armageddon circumstances and business terms, Stay true to that and know, you know, make conscious decisions around, um, you know, if we, you know, if we do this quickly, we can get there sooner, but these are the, the unintended consequences or these are the, you know, the trade downs on the position that we set out as our ultimate goal.
[00:18:53] Um, As long as you share, you know, the, you know, the, the vision with the team and everybody's engaged and excited about where we're going to get to and broadly how long it's going to take. You know, the hard work is not something that, you know, you get people's engagement in the front and the hard work. I think generally it's not something that people, um, you know, we'll share as long as they know that at the end of it.
[00:19:16] There's. Yeah, Paul gold in terms of what we end up building and creating. And we've, we've just been through that exact exercise. And we had a lot of, kind of very tired people who are now super energized because they can see what we've created because, you know, we can now go so fast in so many areas, right?
[00:19:35] But do it right. And what that creates is, you know, this, this kind of blue kind of space between us and the market in that regard, because, you know, we've got the, we've got the platform that we need to, you know, to really, um, you know, to really kind of move home from. So
[00:19:51] Michael: I love this. It's, it's something that I think we need to hear more of, especially in the age of the internet and social media, because if you were at, and I were to go on LinkedIn, right.
[00:20:03] Or Facebook, we're going to hear the best parts of people's fake lives. You know what I mean? I just, you said experience and, you know, we've, we've been through a similar exercise in my company, um, where we develop software for car dealers, inventory management systems and websites systems. And we have a marketing agency arm and things of that nature.
[00:20:26] And we've been working and pushing towards. Um, specific targets and goals and initiatives, and sometimes in the monotony of the day-to-day in the ordinary of the day to day, if you don't have to your point that that goal, that focus and what you're working towards, it is easy. You know, one of my team members said sometimes it's easy to get lost when you're waiting through the river, holding a, uh, you know, a canoe over your head as the way you kind of phrased it.
[00:20:57] But now all of a sudden we're coming out and, and, and the team can see the acceleration. And, oh my gosh, I understand why we needed to do that for this to happen the way it's happening now. And now there's this new revitalized energy, like you're saying. And, and so I think that's so important for people to hear that it's on the back of all of this experience.
[00:21:20] It's not always a peaches and cream. There are.
[00:21:27] Mike Welch: Oh man. I mean, look, you know, there's been so many scoff knees and bloody noses and I wish I'd never done that. I mean, honestly, I've made so many, I've stood up so many times and I think, I think there's, you know, You know, overuse the web, but the fundamentals though remain, as long as they remain in place.
[00:21:48] We have some great KPIs in our business that everybody shares every day we see on numbers and they're not just sales numbers and margin numbers. There'll be, you know, satisfaction numbers. There'll be the things that keep us honest, you know? And, and, and it's the stuff that. You know, th that we, that I want everybody to know is, is happening because it, you know, because we all shared in the outputs is all part of what we put in and, you know, every day, but also, you know, to get to your point, it's the benefit of all of that ground work that kind of gets them.
[00:22:22] So when you, you know, when we come out to your point, when the canoes start to come down off the head, then you start to come out of the swamp. You know, you can see in the numbers. Yeah, in those KPIs while this has happened and like this has changed and you know, my guys, uh, all market on market. Kind of broadly speaking is down at the moment.
[00:22:43] You know, we were punching one 50, 200% gross, but it's not because, you know, we've, there's a, there's, there's a, you know, we've hit a, you know, a Eureka moment. There's no, there's no kind of gold golden ticket. It's a tumor, it's an accumulation of maybe 20 different. Initiatives or Canada or pinch points that we've addressed or, you know, there isn't, uh, you know, there isn't, there's never in my experience, you know, just that kind of one golden Mo you know, golden initiative or golden moment, it's a combination of, of everything.
[00:23:17] It's that culmination of all of the efforts coming together. And it's my job to make sure that I'm communicating. I'll progress on that journey. So, you know, when the guys do feel like, you know that as a sacred feed through it, and what you've just articulated is almost identical to where we've been in the last, you know, the last 12 months.
[00:23:37] Um, and the way we keep going is that we have those checkpoints where all we are. We, you know, once we get this in, you know, we have. Runway in front of us and, you know, and the guy's got to be able to believe in that. Um, and it gets, you know, it gets tiring, but, but, but I think th so the most important thing is I think set.
[00:23:59] Who do we want to be? Where do we want to get, get to, and also having a little bit of flex in there because the market changes and actually there's, there's in the journey of developing to that end. There's some discovery as well. Right. So, you know, you kind of feel like, well, you know, perhaps we need, we need to pivot a little bit because it's not quite the direction we were taking might not be as exact as we thought and, you know, and have enough flexibility.
[00:24:24] Um, but having everybody on that, on the journey, Being able to check in with the progress of things really important. This
[00:24:31] Michael: is spectacular. I can only imagine then, you know, you mentioned experience and I'm, you know, Mike, I don't know what happens around turning 40, but I feel like you start seeing the world through a different lens and you start seeing.
[00:24:50] Moments in, you know, and you, you've kind of alluded to this, those mistakes and those moments of why isn't this happening fast enough. And look at that company over there, they seem to be doing something that I'm not. And I look back over my career up to this point in what I feel like now is an acceleration, like we're, we're pedal to the metal, so to speak.
[00:25:13] And I realized now through the. More established goggles, if you will, that everything has happened the way it needed to happen for me. And part of that journey was finding the right people to go on this adventure with me. Is that been similar for you? Do you see how having the right people is something that's necessary in order to achieve those fundamentals and be able to push past.
[00:25:45] Mike Welch: Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, that's probably why from black Sickles to tire, uh, you know, we've been one of the reasons we've been able to move so much quicker is because I can new. Yeah, and it almost immediately what, what I needed and who I needed to surround the business with, um, in terms of roles and types of character and some of the same characters, actually.
[00:26:09] So there's, there's that whole, I mean, that's what my age is. I mean, I couldn't afford people and, you know, in blacks it was really. Yeah, it was a process of elimination. Really? It was kinda, you know, you learn it, you learn as you go, you make your mistakes, your games. Oh my word. I mean, it's some of the, some of the biggest successes and biggest failures of being around people for me.
[00:26:30] And, you know, you got to get it, you know, you've got to give yourself a bit of flexibility to. You know, to make the sometimes won't make the perfect decisions, but ultimately trust you go, particularly if you've got experience and, you know, go with, um, you know, have faith in the P in your people and back them.
[00:26:52] And, you know, um, and you know, nine times out of 10, you know, it will, will work out. But you know, the, the exciting thing on this, on this journey that we're on. As we evolve the business, um, you know, w w we're really, you know, I would say in the black circles, it was, you know, we were facilitating the growth of the business this time round, because there is a little bit of being able to see around the corners we're trying to hire in anticipation.
[00:27:21] So we've got time to highlight. Level of talent. We've got, you know, w we're willing to pay a bit more for the person than we might be. If we didn't think that we were going to, you know, I was always, you know, do I, if I could just push it a little bit, Maybe I should, but I don't know if we're going to take another step up in growth or we kind of got more short, I've got more assurance on the basis of experience now, so we can hire more confidently.
[00:27:49] And I, and again, I would say if you find the right person, um, based on not just their resume, but all the other attributes and the chemistry's right, you pay whatever you need to pay within reason because you know, great people, um, You know, uh, a Rocky field. I mean, it's such a, you know, caddying people versus, you know, great people who are self-starters and can get the job done.
[00:28:15] I mean, it's such a, you know, it's a night and day scenario. I love that.
[00:28:20] Michael: Um, with all of this experience that you have now, and as the retail auto industry is really starting to pay close attention to e-commerce models, or maybe a hybrid model. What are some common misconceptions that you think people have about e-commerce that you've learned or dispelled through your experience over the years?
[00:28:48] Mike Welch: That's a good question. I think, um, or the first thing is they're not different costs. You know, I don't get the CarMax customer. Cause I get the people who come into my store type mentality. They're the same person. And in fact, they've, they've, they've messaged on our merging at a rate that is now. Kind of irreversible.
[00:29:11] So if before you were able to, to, you know, to draw a line between those that came into your store and those that would shop online, you know, it's, we're now in a world where there's different behaviors for different circumstances. I would say that rather than be demographically different there's situational differences.
[00:29:30] So in my business, You know, a customer, we, we, you know, we can install ties with mobile vans next day. So that same customer who needs that soon. At the, you know, today because they have a blowout, they might not need it, you know, next year or in six months time, because they've kind of spotted. The tire needs to replace them.
[00:29:51] They can be a bit more organized and they can take it to one of the stores for an install. So they're deaf for, from my perspective, we, we need to make sure we have all of the different situations that customers might find themselves in covered. So, you know, we provide, you know, we've got to be as accessible as possible.
[00:30:11] Different types of service to suit those different situations. I would say, you know, if I was running a, you know, a kind of a traditional brick and mortar business, I would be looking to try and use technology, not just from the front end e-commerce user experience, but within my business. So how can I embed technology?
[00:30:31] To make processes more efficient. How can I make information more accessible? How can I understand more about my cross them and about my businesses performance? Because technology is not just about selling things on the internet, in a business it's, it's about how you can make yourself you're more profitable, more efficient, more insightful.
[00:30:51] Um, I'm I give you, give, you know, give yourself the mental. Had space to grow and focus on how you develop your business as opposed to be in it all the time, get on it. Um, and I think, I think we're in, we're in a, we're in a really interesting period, um, of, of, you know, these two worlds, absolutely collide and emerging, you know, and there's a great opportunity for, for open-minded, um, you know, business owners to start to really embrace technology if they haven't been.
[00:31:22] Michael: Amazing. Um, the one last thing that I wanted to just touch on, because I think this is so true. Um, you were awarded an OBE officer of the most excellent order of the British empire. I wanted to say that I wanted so hard to be able to say that with a British accent, perhaps a top hat and a monocle, uh, I don't know why that's the visual, the British empire, you know, by the queen in 2006.
[00:31:51] So you actually get to meet the queen in this, in this ceremony. What was that like?
[00:31:57] Mike Welch: That was great. I was great. She's very, um, she, she knew about the princess trust and it was, it was excellent. Actually, we were, uh, it was very honored. Um, and it was for services to business and charity and part of w I'd worked with the princess Tru we set up a charitable trust myself, my wife, after we sold black circles.
[00:32:17] Um, and we, you know, we put a lot of energy into adoption, fostering critical illness in kids. So, you know, we, we, we probably spend a quarter of our time, you know, really just invest in, you know, our energies in China, further, those, those causes. Um, so it was lovely to be recognized at the same time. Like I say, she, you know, she was aware of the princess trust and get me started.
[00:32:40] And we've kind of subsequently got involved with, with that in Europe. And we served on the board of the princesses and various other things. So there's a nice, really nice recognition. She's a lovely, lovely lady.
[00:32:52] Michael: Well, and, and I mean, you know, um, I, I don't know if monarchist is the right term, but I mean, growing up in camp, Um, you know, she's on all of our money.
[00:33:03] She's, she's everywhere. She's our head of state, you know? So, so I'm always intrigued by those who have had a chance to meet her in person, but more, more. So I want to just underscore how, uh, amazing, I think the work that you're doing through the charity and three-year trust is, and, and, you know, providing opportunities to, you know, children and, and, and individuals to help them understand how great they are.
[00:33:30] And how much capacity they have and how much more powerful they are then they're probably giving themselves credit for, I think, you know, just, I want to really underscore that because I think that's tremendous and, and certainly congratulations to you and your wife.
[00:33:43] Mike Welch: Thanks. I appreciate it. Thank
[00:33:45] Michael: you. How can those listening get in touch with.
[00:33:48] Mike Welch: I'm on LinkedIn. So, uh, uh, micro Welch, um, and, um, also you can reach out, email me by, by all means andWelch@tirebuyer.com. I'd love to look to hear from anybody, you know, is it like the Teddy lady? I just retail. I can't promise a Copa T in London,
[00:34:07] Michael: but maybe a marmalade sandwich at a Liverpool match. You
[00:34:13] Mike Welch: got it.
[00:34:14] There you go. All right.
[00:34:15] Michael: Thank you, sir. Thanks so much for joining me on the dealer playbook podcast. Thanks for having
[00:34:19] Mike Welch: me. Cheers.