Inspiring Entrepreneur Story: Dannie Lyman

Dannie: Three more stores in the next eighteen months, no worries. That excites me, I know I can do it. I’ve done it before. I know where to go to get funding. I know who to speak to, I’ve got the contacts. That is a really exciting prospect.
Woman: very entrepreneurial in his thinking when he wants something.
Man 2: Not every mechanic you meet has that sort of vision, that sort of focus.
Dannie: We’d like to do twenty stores in the next ten years.
Woman: He thinks up in the sky. Open to thinking, open to expansion, open to beautiful ideas.
Man 2: it’s unusual in a small business owner.
Man 2: So, one of the drivers for him is two address that perception in the community that mechanics are not trustworthy, they’re up there with used car salesman in terms of the public perception of their mora standards.
Paul: When I first moved into the Warriewood area, I was really stoked to hear that Dannie was am a mechanic because that’s one of the biggest stresses – finding someone you can trust with your car.
Man 3: when I first spoke to him about starting the business, he wanted to change the perceptions of what he does.
Woman: He’s an honest guy. He’s the sort of guy that if you were in a tough patch, or needed help, and this is purely not even in a business sense – this is just Dannie as a person – is an honest good person.
Dannie: There’s an entrepreneurial drive in me that I’ve had since I was a child that wants to build something really big.
Man 2: the business touches the creative in him and he really enjoys the creative side of building the business. “How do I grow the business? How do I reach more people?”
Dannie: We discovered this niche of picking vehicles up from people and dropping them back:
Paul: GDL has been great and they make it super convenient. That has been a huge thing for me.
Woman: I would say if you look at GDL’s ideal client is, I would fall into that category fairly quickly. I think it’ brilliant.
Dannie: They just leave their keys at reception. We come and pick it up, sort out what has to be done, give it a wash, it comes back, bottle of wine, packet of lollies, bills paid by credit card over the phone. Our customer’s never left their desk.
Woman: so I can have my car booked in, leave the keys and my car is then back in my driveway at four o’clock that afternoon when I get home and I open the door and inside that is a nice brochure that’s got my tax invoice inside it and a little bag of lollies – to me, is that value? Absolutely.
Man 3: It’s about having a consistent message about what your business does, what it offers, what the difference is between you and the competitor and, more importantly, being consistent in the delivery.
Man: it’s meant that people like Blackmores do value it and do utilise it.
Man 3: I think Dannie has been quite diligent in doing that and always putting the client experience first.
Woman: What’s our USP, what’s our vision, who is our target market? Where is our target market? And that’s one of the reasons why we chose Hornsby because it fits within what is the ideal target market.
GDL Automotive StoryPaul: My name’s Paul Simpson. I’m one of the ministers at the church Dannie goes to. Dannie’s one of our really committed leaders. Obviously, he runs his own business. He’s got two little kids and he’s about to have a third. He gives up his Friday nights to come along and help run our program to teenagers that tries to reach out to the local community. There’s a lot of time and energy that he puts into that. He is very dedicated to doing the best job he can, even when he’s stretched for time himself.
Man: We have a family history of being involved in youth groups, community youth groups and he’s got an opportunity to give back to young boys especially.
Man 3: He’s got a very strong faith and that kind of drives the way he thinks about people. How he treats people. The ethics around the business.
Man: The personal conviction flows out into the way he runs his business and the way he interacts with people.
Dannie: So, to grow our business and the industry, we feel it is important to take on apprentices. We’ve got a first-year apprentice right now on trial. He’s only been with us a few months at the time of filming, but underneath John and Brendan and myself, this guy will be an industry leader in years to come.
Woman: when I first met Dannie, he always had a vision of having more than one store in fact, many stores.
Man: one of the challenges he has is that people want to engage with him. People want to know that he is the one working on their vehicle, he is the one ordering their parts.
Dannie: There’s a need and desire to go and make something massive out of nothing.
Woman: you’re driven to want more. It is a challenge of someone I fully believe of someone like a Dannie you go when is enough enough?

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