Tekmetric Co-CEO and Co-Founder Prasanth Chilukuri knows a few things about scaling. He and Sunil Patel started Tekmetric in 2016, and today, it’s become the preferred auto tech software in the auto repair industry.
Prasanth’s success prompted Authority Magazine to contact him for an interview on the formula for scaling success. Below are just a few excerpts of Prasanth’s interview with Ken Babcock (CEO of Tango), along with bonus content for any entrepreneur seeking to scale their business.
“Let’s look at each component. The Right People. First, you have to have the team that serves your company the best. At Tekmetric, we learned this the hard way. We had a phenomenal idea — but our first team wasn’t comprised of exactly all the people we needed. And that meant we failed in the first round. It was disappointing, but we learned a valuable lesson, and the next round, we hired people based on the talents we knew we needed. It was the right move, and it set us in the right direction toward success. In fact, many of the team members from this second group are still with us today.”
Today, Tekmetric has a growing team of people working in various departments, such as customer support, sales, product development, and human resources. Walk into our Houston headquarters, and you’ll see people from all backgrounds catching up on their week, discussing the next product update, or talking about the future of our company over a cup of coffee.
A large portion of our team works remotely. We have employees across the United States, including:
But no matter where our team members are, one of the big things they have in common is that they’re passionate about providing Tekmetric’s customers with the best experience and support possible. Our support team in particular is easy to get in touch with. Customers don’t have to spend hours listening to annoying “waiting” music on the phone or anxiously sitting in front of their computers for a response to a support ticket. The Tekmetric support team acts to get questions answered quickly and any issues resolved fast. After all, auto tech software needs to move at the pace of the auto repair industry—fast—and support is an important part of that process.
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“You also have to know the direction you’re going. Having the idea is great; getting it right as you grow is vital. You may not have the details fully fleshed out, but you must know what you want to do and the tools you need to get there. I’ve always said, if you have a goal in mind, and you don’t know how to get there, then you’re doing something right. If you do know how to get there, you’re not thinking big enough. Think long and hard about what you want your business to look like. Once you figure out those initial steps and orient yourself in the right direction, you can think ahead to challenges like growing and scaling.”
The Tekmetric team keeps a close eye on what’s happening in the auto repair industry so that we can stay one step ahead when it comes to driving the auto repair industry into the future.
For example, Tekmetric listened to its customers’ desires for a true two-way texting feature and released Tekmessage, which enables shops and their customers to communicate more seamlessly than ever before. Tekmetric also frequently adds to its list of integrations with industry-leading tools so that shop owners can set up workflows that work best for them.
And Tekmetric listens to what shop owners, technicians, and service advisors are saying, taking their feedback and suggestions into account. We know that we cannot do this on our own, and respect the contributions of people throughout the industry.
“As you scale your business, be intentional with your finances. When you start making profit, don’t take that as a sign to relax financially. You need to find the right balance. The biggest thing at Tekmetric has been knowing when to expand and take on extra resources. A lot of companies start with an idea, raise a ton of capital and try to build something gigantic, and they don’t move strategically. Before you scale, look at your resources: are you using funding efficiently? Are your people paid too little, or too much? I think about it like a car — I wouldn’t put it on the road with no gas or unaligned tires. The same applies to your company and its resources.”
As Prasanth told Authority Magazine, we’re always intentional about our finances. Ultimately, financial intentionality from the get-go is what enables us to get the right resources in place to offer shops auto tech software that doesn’t break the bank with astronomical pricing.
Part of our financial strategy includes securing funding. In December of 2021, we raised a fresh round of funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity (SGE). We’re using our funding to scale by adding more people to our engineering and technical teams. We’re also going to enhance our product, so it continues to meet the needs of shops as the industry evolves. We are grateful to connect with such excellent funding partners and the opportunity to fund our next stage of growth.
“Inevitably as you’re scaling your business, you’re going to hit a roadblock. Expect roadblocks. You have to be okay with this, and you need to be prepared to pivot, realign and take on a new plan. That might mean a project takes another quarter, or that you lost a deal because you couldn’t deliver results. For Tekmetric, sometimes a feature doesn’t go as planned or is released late. We might have a big enterprise client that’s upset with us because they’re not getting the results they want. Having a stomach for those things and realigning as needed is crucial. Not everything goes perfectly as planned, and that’s part of the scaling journey.”
We’ve come a long way as a team since the early days of our business. Now that we have a large team, we’ve put an even greater focus on learning and training—both internally and externally.
We hold in-house product training sessions to make sure everyone across the company understands our auto tech software and the people we serve. Understanding the ins and outs of the software is what enables each member of the team to do their best work for our customers. We also train people externally, encouraging them to get professional certifications in their fields.
We’re always on the lookout for the best talent. Our people and culture team actively seeks new talent to bring to Tekmetric. By retaining and hiring people at the top of their game, we’re ready to pivot at a moment’s notice. If something doesn’t go as we expected, or we want to see something exist that doesn’t exist yet, we roll up our sleeves and build.
We work hard, but we play hard, too. Throwing some fun into the mix is a vital reason why we’re able to adapt and respond to challenges so well. Our weekly breakfasts are a popular tradition. Every Wednesday, people at our Houston headquarters and San Angelo, TX office mingle and munch on whatever is on the menu (which can range from delicious donuts to breakfast tacos… after all, we’re in Texas! Breakfast tacos are a must). People also hang out for lunches, happy hours, local events—they just want to connect with the people they work with each day.
“Finally, don’t stop challenging yourself and looking to build your business. Success is the result of a journey, not a result alone. Being an entrepreneur is a journey, and it’s always evolving. Your business is not a standstill component — it’s a growing entity that needs to be nurtured. It’s a journey that keeps growing and evolving, and it keeps getting nurtured. You have to enjoy the process and create new goals to maintain your progress, even as you reach old goals.”
Our philosophy is that good auto tech software needs to evolve with the times. We didn’t just create a stagnant product that we sell to shop owners year after year. We’re always striving to iterate and innovate; we want our existing customers and the new shops we get in front of to have access to the best of the best features.
That’s not to say we haven’t hit some speed bumps along the way. A few flat tires are a part of life. But we work through those challenges as a team because we have the end goal in sight: driving the auto repair industry forward one mile at a time so shop owners can provide world-class service to their customers and provide great lives to their team members.
At Tekmetric, we want our auto tech software to not only stand the test of time but also shape the future of auto repair shops. That’s why we make headlines.
Check out how else Tekmetric has been catching people’s attention in the news.