Most of us have probably experienced the frustrating world of online car sales and found little success. Thankfully, Tom Marley, founder and managing director of The Car Buying Group, is working to make the process a lot easier for the customer. Working out of Bradford, The Car Buying Group have grown across the country and don’t look like they will be slamming on the brakes any time soon.
What does your business do?
The Car Buying Group is an online car buying company and digital service provider. Requiring only a few basic pieces of vehicle information, a car valuation is provided instantly to the customer searching their website. Furthermore, TCBG offer a UK-wide free vehicle collection service, for maximum convenience to the customer.
Where did you get the idea from?
As with all good ideas they are created over a beer! I noticed a gap in the market to add a different level of service to the online car buying sector.
How did you know there was a market for it?
There were other successful businesses that had done well in the infancy of this market, and research showed there was still plenty of headroom left to grow.
How did you raise funding and why?
Initially, The Car Buying Group was funded personally through myself and our founders (by re-mortgaging my parents’ house!) the next round was a challenge. Traditional routes were not interested in taking a chance on us, it took months of hard-work and networking until I got chance to sit and have a coffee with our series B funders, motor-trade giants, the Greenhous Group, from the moment we met we knew we had the same approach, desire and outlook. We received a multi-million-pound investment from the Greenhous Group which propelled the business into larger markets, leading to a number of corporate partnerships.
Describe your business model in brief
The Car Buying Group makes life easy for people looking to dispose of their old cars, in a fair, swift and high service led environment. Also, we work with other businesses to understand their pinch and pressure points, looking at ways we can create a solution to support this and offer them a service.
Your lowest point was…
The first six months of initial fundraising!
Your highest point was…
Promoting internally. Seeing the progression of employees who have almost been with me since the beginning.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with people that are better than yourself, and always take a chance, say yes to things and then work it out afterwards!
Where do you want to be in five years time?
Heading up multiple businesses in multiple countries, owned and run by myself and our founders.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur you would be?
A frustrated entrepreneur!
If you could go back in time what would you change?
I would have taken the chance on starting The Car Buying Group sooner.
How do you find being a tech company outside of London? Are there advantages or disadvantages?
There are both advantages and disadvantages to running a tech company outside London. The main advantage is that everything is cheaper!
The main disadvantage is that many people believe that London holds all the opportunities, and therefore don’t look north. This is a myth, the north is buzzing right now and is often where the best opportunities can be found.
How has the growth process been? Are you worried it’s too fast, what have you found to be your success for growth?
Growth has been rapid but manageable, I’m not worried that it’s too fast, often I think that it is not even fast enough!
Success is staying focused, thinking big and always pushing. I always develop a strategic plan for the next three – six months, so I always know what has to be done each day to achieve our goals.
How do you stay relevant in the rural northern cities?
Internet! We are so fortunate to live in an age where you can reach anyone at the touch of a button. Also, constant networking, making connections and building relationships with key people at key events.