Ram Balaranjan (Bala) took time out of his busy day to take us Behind The Business to reveal a thriving multi-site enterprise with big ambitions that looks set to fly and fly…
Bucks Horn Oak Service Station became your third JET site in January this year – can you talk us through what drove the move?
Our relationship with JET echoes the way we like to work and the ethos behind how we run our business. Communication is easy and straight-forward, everything is transparent and nothing is hidden. And there is a real synergy and trust - which is hugely important. I also like that we have direct and instant access to good people - should we need to speak to them. A shout out to Chris Murphy in particular - I like the way he works, the way he approaches and communicates with his customers. He is a big part of why we moved Bucks Horn Oak over to JET.
And in the few months since the move what, if any, has been the impact on the business?
To be completely honest, I was worried that moving away from Shell would result in a decrease in customers - but it has been the exact opposite. Sales have increased by 15%!
And a lot of that has to do with JET being so competitive on price plus the site looks good – bright and fresh.
Tell us about any recent changes to the business and your ambitions moving forward.
The big news is that both of my sons have made the big decision to change careers and join me in the business! The older one was a pilot flying private jets and the younger worked for Johnson and Johnson as Regional Manager for Medical Devices - it’s a big change but exciting to look to the future together, as a family.
The ambition is to grow the business to 10 sites - and for them all to be JET. And to be honest the plan is only possible because of the relationship we have with JET.
What sets your sites apart from your competitors?
Customer, customer, customer. Great service is everything and if it isn’t right - I’ll put it right. I also like our sites to look good. If there are things that need repairing, I make sure they are sorted straight away. It’s important to have pride in what you do and to know that you are doing the best you can for your customers.
What do you love about your job?
Hard work is my passion. The more you put in, the more you get out.
And what qualities do you need to succeed in this business?
Treat your customers as if they were one of the family. Love, respect, transparency. Always be prepared to go the extra mile.
Once my wife Suganthy, who has been central to the success of the business and has supported me in my career for 30 years, found an expensive watch at the back of the forecourt and on the back it had ‘Thank you Dad’ engraved. So it was obviously a very special item and we were desperate to find the owner so my wife went through the transactions, phoned the bank and then through the bank the customer was contacted and the watch was returned. He was so happy when he came back to collect it and he gave us a bottle of champagne!
It really was a special moment.