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Meet Shamel Leonard of Auto Dealer Business School in Marietta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shamel Leonard.

Shamel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart and have always loved finding creative ways to make money and provide a service to people. I started in college in Boston cutting hair in my dorm room.

I first started in the car business as a way to bring in extra money. At first, I didn’t know a lot about it. As I started to grow a dealership it became more interesting and exciting as I learned how to evaluate cars and build a customer base. I saw a lot of success but there were also a lot of challenges.

Over the years through talks with current and aspiring independent auto dealers, I realized there were not many resources to support us to keep our doors open and to grow. That gave me the idea to launch the Auto Dealer Business School to create formal training for auto dealers to be successful in their business.

It was also a great way to build community and help people fulfill their dreams.

Has it been a smooth road?
I wouldn’t say it was rough but it was not without struggles along the way. The biggest challenge was getting started and trying to anticipate what the challenges would be.

When you spend a lot of time working on a product it gets really hard to know what is clear and what is not for a first time user of the program. I learned that I had to be ok with good and not let striving for perfection get in the way of moving forward.

I also had to really lean on my support system when I had doubts before I had my first client and wanted to give up. It’s so important to have a good cheering section to get you through the journey!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Auto Dealer Business School helps people make their dreams of entrepreneurship come true.

I work with my clients to help them figure out how to build an independent dealership and generate consistent revenue doing something that is a lot of fun, selling cars. I’m really proud of the fact that my clients are able to set a vision for themselves and achieve it no matter where they are starting from.

Personally, as a woman led the company in a male-dominated industry, it’s also really exciting to break glass ceilings on what is possible for a woman wanting to launch an independent dealership.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Atlanta is an amazing city for entrepreneurship but it is still challenging for a new business owner without a history of doing business or significant capital to get access to a lot of the programs that support new business.

I am optimistic that as I continue to build my business I’ll get access to more resources for minority-owned businesses. I work with clients all of over the country in many communities and would love to see some of the grants offered in other communities offered here for new businesses.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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