Marc Zaransky has always had the ambition and passion to become an entrepreneur. With his father starting his own automotive business in 1955, Marc grew up with an entrepreneurial spirit in his blood.
Growing up in the Chicago area, Marc Zaransky obtained his BA from the University of Illinois in 1985. Immediately after graduating, he went to work in the family business. For the past 35 years, he has owned and operated his business, transforming it into the largest independent leasing company in Illinois. It has operations in every state. The company works with large corporate accounts and professionals, providing leased vehicles and finance options. It specializes in advising and providing handicap buses for the nursing home industry and retirement communities.
In addition, Marc Zaransky is involved in his community. He was the youngest member to serve on the board for the Brickyard Bank and also previously served on the board of the Jewish National Fund. Marc supports the Jewish United Fund as well as the Hebrew Theological College in Chicago.
In his free time, Marc Zaransky enjoys working out, socializing, and reading several books per month. Now more than ever, he believes reading is important and is something that everyone should do, even if it’s as little as reading the news every day. Marc resides in the Chicago area with his wife Heidi.
Why did you decide to get into your industry?
I consider myself born into it. My father was an entrepreneur, owning many businesses, so I grew up being influenced by the automotive and real estate industry I was always passionate about it. After I graduated from college, I pursued my dreams and operated my own automotive business. Today, my business is a leading independent leasing company, the largest of its kind across the Midwest.
What would you tell others looking to get into your industry?
I’d say to be prepared to pivot your focus and the way you do business. Our world is changing every day with new advances in technology and economic behavior. Just look at what’s happening with COVID-19. It is affecting every industry and the automotive industry is no exception. You have to be prepared to change your business model to suit the current conditions to ensure that your business survives crises like this one.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about managing your business?
Hire the right team from the get-go. If it means working understaffed until you find the right fit, then you do that. You need to hire people that not only have the skill set you’re looking for, but they have to show a willingness to learn, be willing to take on more, and fit the company culture. You shouldn’t settle for staff that has only one of those qualities. You run the risk of high employee turn over that way. By hiring the right team, you won’t feel like you have to micromanage them because you’ve hired people that you trust and can rely on.
How do you maintain a work-life balance?
I just make time for things that are personally important for me. A lot of people like saying work-life balance is a myth. I don’t agree with that. You just don’t make time in your life for anything else but work. For me, exercising, spending time with my loved ones, and reading is important. So, I find time for those things even if it’s one hour a day. If something is important to you, you’ll make time. That goes for work as well. Work is important, but you can always find time for other things that you care about. Some days require more work and longer hours than others, but in my experience, that’s not the norm.
Why is it important to be well-read?
I know that reading isn’t for everyone and a lot of people say they just can’t do it. I think it’s important to read a little bit every day, even if you’re just reading the news. It expands your mind, helps you socialize better, allows you to listen and be more receptive to others, and ultimately it can be relaxing, depending on what you’re reading of course. For me, I even it out by reading both news articles and books. It’s important to keep up to date on the current news, but it’s also important to read about new ideas in books or magazines. I read a lot about different business leaders. You can learn a lot from them.
How do you overcome obstacles?
The important thing is just to persevere. We’re all presented with different obstacles and challenges throughout our lives. All of the world’s political and business leaders have been as well, and they persevered through them. They didn’t give up. The world’s biggest companies, including Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and even Disney all started in garages. What would have happened if they gave up on their ideas? So, despite the challenges, it is important to stay determined and to persevere.
What trends in the automotive industry excite you?
There are new technologies and business models emerging every day. Electric vehicles and rideshares are taking the commuting industry by storm. People are always looking for new ways to get where they need to go that are affordable, stress-free, and more environmentally friendly. My business is on the ground floor of that movement and this is very exciting. Because there are new ways to travel and commute every day, is incentivizes me to come up with new ways to stay competitive. It keeps me active and encourages me to continuously improve my own company and its processes.
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