Europcar is a global company, in business since 1949, so it’s safe to say they are among the leaders in motor rental and leasing, always innovating and expanding to offer the best products and services to their customers, both new and loyal.
The Cork branch is headed up by Niall King, who has seven years’ experience in the industry, specialising in branch management, fleet management, forecasting, client management and corporate sales. Niall runs the branch as though it were his very own and it shows. Giving all of his entrepreneurial passion to the business has made this branch strong, gaining new success and clients every day.
What was the key driving force behind you going into business for yourself?
I have always had an ambition of owning my own business and being responsible for growing something from the ground up. Although I don’t own the business myself, I am given the responsibility of running everything from top to bottom. I am responsible for managing staff, setting the yearly budgets and targets, marketing, sales, customer service, and managing costs. In a way, I’m my own boss, and I run things in the same way as I would if I was the owner.
What was your mission from the beginning?
My short-term mission was to raise awareness of the branch and the services that we offer as quickly as possible. My long-term mission was to hit my targets within a certain time frame. This is only possible by offering a top class service to our customers.
To what do you attribute your success?
As I mentioned, looking after our customers is key. We don’t sign any of our customers into long-term contracts, so if we didn’t offer a best-in-class service, they could all leave us in the morning.
I see myself as a target driven individual and I get a great sense of achievement from seeing the business flourish and develop. I also try to put a lot of time into developing my employees, as I feel business owners and managers have an obligation to make employees the best they can possibly be.
As a business manager, a lot of the burden must feel like it is on your shoulders; how do you manage stress?
I learned a long time ago that stress never helps a situation. My view is that a problem is there to be fixed and not to be worried about. I always look for a solution rather than complain about a situation.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and what would you hope to learn from them?
I would have to say Sir Alex Ferguson. In my opinion, he is the best example of a leader of people in the past 20 or 30 years. It would be interesting to hear an honest opinion of how he kept so many big egos working together and harmonious at the same time.
What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love sport. I spend a lot of time watching football, hurling, soccer, golf, boxing, anything really! I try to play a bit of golf and soccer and I enjoy running. I love to get away and travel as well, either in Ireland or abroad.
How has being an entrepreneur affected your family life?
Again, I think it’s so important to be able to switch off from work. I have a great work-life balance, which positively affects my personal life and work life. Obviously there are times where you need to put in the extra hours but overall I’ve been able to manage it very well.
What trait do you most value in a business connection or partner?
As a personal trait, I appreciate honesty, as I personally like to treat colleagues and customers with honesty and respect.
In a business sense, I prefer working with organised people. I would struggle to see how anyone could run a sustainable business by being all over the place! I’m also a firm believer in an employee or business partner having a great attitude. You can teach anyone how to sell, or how to create reports etc. But it’s difficult to teach someone to have a positive attitude.
How do you define success?
I think success is based on the targets we set ourselves. Everyone has their own goals, and they vary from person to person. If you do everything to reach the goals you have set yourself and you eventually reach that goal, you can get a great sense of achievement from it.
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to go into business for themselves?
Absolutely go for it! Listen to your own gut instinct. Someone else’s way of doing things is not always the only right way. And make sure you go into an industry that you enjoy. Enjoying the work you do makes it so much easier and much more rewarding. And be aware that you can’t be an overnight success. You need to put the hard work in and eventually you will reap the rewards.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs to invest their time in?
I would say it’s vital to be aware of and embrace change. We live in a world that is constantly changing and we need to change with it. Europcar Group have recently expanded from the traditional car rental model and have now become Europcar Mobility Group, as the world of transport and mobility is constantly changing. It’s so exciting to be a part of this.
What would you do with your company if you had unlimited resources?
I would probably hire a personal assistant to help with the never ending paperwork and phone calls!
11-13 South Terrace, Cork
021 240 0140