Pamela Rodgers is one of very few women in the world who have been able to start and grow an auto dealership from the ground up. To do that, she had to overcome a slew of challenges—from rejection to cash flow management to an industry meltdown of biblical proportions.
A 30-year veteran, she has built Rodgers Chevrolet (No. 33 on the BE AUTO DEALERS list with $67.3 million in revenues) into one of GM’s flagship franchises and ranked among the largest black-owned dealerships: 2013 revenues climbed 32% last year because of her attention to detail – from the showroom to auto parts and services.
Her ability to consistently beat the competition through unassailable sales prowess, incomparable customer service, financial efficiency and effective deployment of social media has earned Rodgers Chevrolet the distinction of being named the 2014 BLACK ENTERPRISE Automotive Dealer of the Year.
She says the Bible’s book of Ephesians inspired her mantra for business success. “Where you’re taught to put on your spiritual armor, I liken that to entrepreneurial armor,” she says.
The belt of truth is your reputation. “You only have one chance to make a strong reputation, so if you say you’re going to do something, do it,” she advises. “Because you’re nothing without a strong reputation.”
The breastplate is your commitment. “There’s going to be plenty of naysayers along the way who try to deter you or who won’t support you,” says Rodgers. “So you must have a strong commitment to your goal, see it, and believe in it, and know you can do it.”
The shield of faith is a positive attitude. “Results are based on 10% of what happens and 90% on how you react to it,” she claims. “Maintaining a positive attitude goes a long way in building a business.”
The shoes are networking. “If you can find a mentor to help you along the way, that’s a tremendous way to avoid some of the pitfalls,” Rodgers recommends. “But remember to be a mentor to someone else.”
The helmet of hope is education. “Education nowadays is continuous because the environment is always changing,” she says. “Keep yourself on top of your game, learn the market, know the trends—stay aware of your industry.”
Finally, the sword of prayer. Because, according to Rodgers, “There’s always something to be thankful for.”