Success Story Of Bill Swad: “I’m GOING TO DO IT!”
Success Story Of Bill Swad: “I’m GOING TO DO IT! ” This is the testimony of BILL SWAD, SR. is founder and president of Bill Swad Chevrolet, Columbus, Ohio, Omega Life Insurance Company, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Hamilton Acceptance Corporation. He is founder and senior pastor of Christian Center, Columbus, Ohio, and chairman of the executive committee, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma. His numerous awards include an honorary doctorate from ORU.
If I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT, TOO!
- “Bill, what is your secret? Can you give me any advice?”
- “What made it happen for you?”
- I’ve been asked those questions from Hartford to Honolulu, and hundreds of places in between.
- How did the child of an immigrant father escape the poverty of Martins Ferry, Ohio, to build a multi-million dollar automotive empire?
- How did a young man who was making $1.47 an hour working on the assembly line of an aircraft plant suddenly become Ohio’s largest used car dealer?
- And how did someone raised with a “failure mentality” establish national sales records as the world’s largest American Motors Company dealership?
It started with a decision.
- HOW I GOT MILLIONAIRE MENTALITY, I shared the story of how I tried to better my lot in life by taking a job selling cars at a Ford dealership near Columbus, Ohio. But something happened on that showroom floor in 1957 that transformed my life forever. “Someday? ”
- It was a dreary day and the salesroom was empty when I began talking with Tom Arthur. He was an older man who had a lifetime of experience. I shared with Tom the fact that deep inside I had the desire to start my own business and that I’d like to own a used car lot someday.
“Someday?” he asked. “You ought to start a used car business right now.
- Because if you don’t you’re liable to be right here selling these Fords for the next 20 years. You’ll always wonder why you didn’t become your boss.”
- His words were like a match stick that ignited a fire deep within me. What he said wouldn’t leave my mind. Even in the middle of the night, I’d toss and turn and hear him say, “You’ll always wonder why!” Finally, I walked into the dealership and said, “Tom, I’m going to do it!”
- “Do what?” he asked with a knowing look.
“I’m going to start my own used car business.”
- He gave me a great big smile and said, “Bill, that’s the best decision you ever made.” It was the “second best” decision of my life. The first—and best—was when I accepted Christ into my life as my personal Savior. But now I had made a total decision regarding my economic future, and what I was going to “become” for the Lord.
The dream God has placed inside you may be light-years away from the automobile business.
- You may be pulled toward opening a donut shop, an advertising agency, a landscape service, a computer software company, an office cleaning business, or whatever.
- Your choices and opportunities have never been as varied or as plentiful as they are today.
- For my life, it was starting a used car business. And that became more than a fantasy it became an obsession.
The turning point, however, was when from my heart, I said those life-altering words, “I’m going to do it! ”
- No matter what field of endeavor you choose, nothing really will begin to happen until you put your plan in motion. It’s like trying to ride a bicycle, you can’t balance it while you’re standing still. You’ve got to decide to move forward.
Is Money the Answer?
- Does it take a fortune to get started? Absolutely not!
- There is nothing but disaster ahead for a person with great financial resources but no personal commitment.
- That’s a sure road to the bankruptcy court.
- Show me a person of limited resources with a decent concept and a dedicated commitment, and I’ll show you a future millionaire. On the very spot where our mega-dealership—Bill Swad Chevrolet—now stands, was where my original office was located.
- I wish you could have been there on opening day, April 8, 1957.
- My sales “shack” was made out of orange crates and glass—like a little greenhouse. I borrowed $1,000 from Economy Loan Company for three used cars, brought in a little gravel, hung a few lightbulbs on a wire and I was ready for business.
Did I look successful?
- No way. But I felt ten feet tall on the inside because I had made a total decision regarding my future. That’s why even the postman that stopped by with some junk mail that first morning could not discourage me.
- He said, “Mister, you probably ought to know that several businesses have started on this corner and they all failed.” He told me about a flower business, a man who sold old “memorabilia,” and others that had opened and closed. “I think this corner is jinxed,” he said.
Perhaps that is why I was able to rent the lot for only $75 a month.
- I looked at the mailman and said, “Well, mister, this business is going to succeed.” I wasn’t about to let “stinkin’ thinking” ruin the opening day of my venture. I had spent the previous hour in fervent prayer committing “Bill Swad Motor Sales” to the Lord.
- Within one hour I had my first customer. I sold a 1951 Ford Victoria and took a 1952 Plymouth in on trade and I was off and running.
Something else happened to me.
- Evangelist Oral Roberts brought his tent crusade to Columbus.
- At the meetings, I heard messages and saw miracles as I had never heard or seen before.
- Just the sight of the huge crowds night after night was motivational.
- I learned that God truly wanted me to be a winner.
- And it inspired me to do something big not for me but God.
It’s impossible to put into words how “turned on” I was to see my little-used car business prosper.
- The vehicles began selling faster than I ever imagined and within three years I was the biggest retail used car dealer in the state of Ohio.
- Then came the new car dealerships; AMC, Chrysler/Plymouth, Datsun, Lincoln/Mercury, Chevrolet, and in another town I had Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, and GMC trucks.
- Then we added an insurance company, two mortgage companies, real estate developments, and more.
Where did it all begin? With a decision.
- Yes, I was raised with a poverty mentality, but even as a small boy, I refused to allow adverse circumstances to become gigantic problems to me.
- Whatever I faced, I viewed it as an opportunity to excel. When I was hoeing corn for a dollar a day, I wanted to hoe more corn than anyone else.
- When I was setting up pins in a bowling alley for a few cents a line, I wanted to set up more pins than anybody.
- Instead of working just one alley, I would take three or four.
What happened later only added fuel to the fire.
- What about you?
- Your background no matter how many negatives it contains can be overcome by a personal decision to succeed.
Three Kinds of Minds
- If you’ll observe human behavior you’ll find that there are three kinds of minds: the small mind, the average mind, and the great mind. Let’s look for a moment at each of them.
1. Small minds discuss people.
- The next time you have lunch with friends, listen to the conversation. “You should see the girl Bob was dating last night.” Or, “Did you hear what happened to Mary?” Their chit-chat is simply gossip that contributes nothing of substance.
2. Average minds discuss events.
- “Did you see last year’s Rose Bowl game?” Or, “Let me tell
- you what happened on our trip to Jamaica.” We may learn a few facts, but that’s about all.
3. Great minds, however, discuss ideas.
- Their conversation will be filled with powerful thoughts and creative innovations. What a refreshing experience to be in the company of people who share concepts you’ve never heard before.
How can you transform where you are to where you should be?
- How can your life improve?
- How can you grow?
- It comes from stimulating your mind with exciting ideas from saturating your thought-life with everything from God’s Word to books and motivational tapes filled with great concepts and principles.
Ask yourself, “What kind of mind do I have?” ” What does my conversation say about me?” Pay close attention to your words and decide to “shift gears” and begin to discuss great ideas. My church laughs when I remind them, “We have an absolute rule around here. We don’t repeat gossip —so you’d better listen carefully the first time.”
If you want to lift the level of your life, start by elevating your thoughts. Remember, great minds discuss great ideas.
- How does it work in practice?
- Let’s say you’ve started a small business and you’re out of cash, but you do have some inventory.
- How do you sell your products?
- A creative mind will focus on something like the potential to advertise at practically no cost.
- You’ll develop a strategy of marketing through little “penny saver” weeklies and free hand-outs.
- You might even flood local bulletin boards in grocery stores and laundromats with the sale prices of your inventory.
- Begin to exercise the creative genius within you.
Perhaps your greatest idea lies just beneath the surface of your mind. It’s like drilling for oil in Texas. Every once in a while you hit a “gusher.”
My Great Crisis
- Just because I built an expansive business doesn’t mean that I’ve never experienced a cash-flow problem. Far from it. I’ve been faced with financial dilemmas that required all my creative energies and the Lord’s help to solve.
- Let me tell you about one of the greatest predicaments I ever encountered.
- At one point in my business, I had an extremely large leasing company with about 5,500 cars leased all over the country.
Do you remember when the oil crunch came in the early Seventies?
- I certainly do.
- Not only was the country running short of petroleum and gas, but interest rates went through the roof.
- It was during the Jimmy Carter presidency.
- It seemed like a bad dream, and I will never forget that 21 percent interest. ‘
- A large portion of my underwriting was based on an agreement with a huge finance company.
- We had $18 million worth of cars out and my customers were paying me a fixed rate on the leases.
- They were paying the same monthly payments whether the interest rates were 10 or 21 percent.
- Unfortunately, when I put most of those cars out, the interest rates were around 12.
- But I was paying my banks and the financial institutions a floating rate of something over prime.
- As the prime went higher, I paid more. You can imagine the palpitations of my heart when prime zoomed up from 12 to 21 percent.
- Folks, you don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to figure out that’s a whole lot of greenback. But that is exactly what happened.
How did I survive?
- I prayed and asked God to help me. “Lord, I need a new revelation of how to solve this problem.
- Plant an idea within me!”
- The answer I had been searching for finally came.
- The idea was for me to make up for the losses by getting more for the vehicles when they came back from the lease.
- When you have 5,500 cars out there, you have autos returning nearly every day.
- So instead of wholesaling the cars to move them quickly, we began to polish and shine them for our retail lots.
- The used car market was skyrocketing, especially since new car sales had taken a nosedive because of the oil scare.
- For example, the Chevrolet Cameros that came back after three years were worth more than what I had originally paid plus I had collected lease payments for three years.
What was the result?
- I more than made up for any loss I suffered by the exorbitant interest rates.
- “A Brand New Way”
- The situation you face will be entirely different, but I believe that you have the creativity it takes to succeed.
- Begin to look at an old problem in a brand new way.
- Two ladies impressed me when I saw how they opened a new babysitting service.
- It wasn’t at their home in some out-of-the-way neighborhood. It was in a vacant storefront at a large shopping center with plenty of parking and easy access.
- The location and visibility advertised itself and they quickly expanded to 2,000 square feet with a staff that takes care of children from 6:00 a.m. until midnight every day.
- It’s a beehive of activity with cribs, toys, and wall-to-wall children. Even parents going out for a quiet dinner use their service instead of hiring a babysitter.
- When I saw what they had accomplished, I thought, “Now that’s being creative.”
What would happen if you presented such a proposal to the average person?
- “Well, the rent’s probably too high.” Or, “That sounds like too much work.”
- Such negative people will never, never experience the joy of success.
- What it took for me, many years ago, it will take for you.
- You’ve got to decide absolutely, positively that you are going to succeed in life.
- If you believe that you can move mountains, they’ll move.
- But if you say the words, “I can’t,” it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
“Can’t” died in a poor house. “Can’t” never accomplished anything worthwhile. The Big Decision
- It is time for you to make that all-important decision.
- Do you remember the story of the Prodigal Son?
- He would have remained in the pigpen of life had he not decided, “I’m going back to my father’s house.”
- Don’t allow the events of your past to govern your future.
- I’ve made enough mistakes for both of us combined but they’re not setbacks, just learning experiences.
- The Apostle Paul wrote, “Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:13,14)
How does the journey of a million miles begin?
- With that first step.
- It starts by deciding to begin.
- You can make a monumental decision right now that will affect the rest of your life.
- Take the idea that God has entrusted to you and make a total commitment to seeing it happen.
- Right now, speak these five words out loud: “I’m going to do it!”
- Repeat those words again and again. “I’m going to do it! I’m going to do it!”
- You’ve already taken the first giant step on your pathway to success.