Lance Manins, the Managing Director of Driveline speaks exclusively to Getfrank about business, his passions outside of why he always listens to his intuition.
Tell us about your background
I was brought up in a farming family but I decided shortly before leaving school it was not a career for me; so I headed off to University and ended up studying Geology as a major. In reality, I had little clue about what direction life was taking me in. After spending 25 years in finance, from Trading Futures and Securities through to kicking off in the Fleet Leasing and finance industry, here I am running a finance company 30 years later.
Business for me is a tool to set up opportunities to spend time doing what I am most passionate about and that is my fishing and family. I am an obsessive fisherman and also run a charter business up in the Bay Of Islands over summer specialising in Big Game Fishing for Marlin and Broadbill.
What motivates you?
I am constantly inspired by many of my mentors who are still running businesses very late into life. These guys are full of enthusiasm and very young at heart, even though they may be well into their late 70’s. Having this kind of attitude is, to me one of the keys to living a long and fulfilled life.
Setting myself up for semi-retirement and having good work life balance motivates me along with supporting my family and the ability to go FISHING!
What is Driveline and when did you start it?
I formed Driveline in 2001 as I saw an opportunity in the for a progressive thinking niche player in the market that could jump in with new products and service offerings and nip away at the heels of the big guys. The primary product launched was the 100% Tax Effective SmartLease which was the 1st non Km based Operating Lease widely offered in the market. Getting through the GFC was the next big business challenge and with over 160 Finance companies going bust and with a major down turn in our industry we managed to get through wholly due to the loyalty of an amazingly loyal client base.
Where did you get the idea to start the company?
I had been working at senior management level for a number of mainstream finance companies and was constantly frustrated with the big corporate structures and the lack of genuine foresight as to where the industry was going and how best to approach it. It was a natural progression for me to go out on my own and whilst it was a very nervous time to start with, I have few regrets.
How would you describe your leadership style?
Encouraging not demanding!
What books are you reading at the moment?
Charles Darwin- The Voyage Of The Beagle is my current read. I found it quite by accident while on holiday in Rarotonga and it has been an amazing read and put a fresh perspective on the man and his work. Give me a book about discovery and adventure any day!
What are some important business lessons you have learned along the way?
Always listen to the little voice of intuition. In my experience it is rarely wrong and some of the best business decisions I have ever made started from this point. The old adage of “Just doing enough is never enough” also holds very true.
Have you always been interested in business?
I have always been naturally inclined to business and business development. As a youngster I was making hat stands from Bamboo and selling them which paid for Bikes and new woodworking tools. My mind is always coming up with new business opportunities, and everything gets written down no matter how trivial they may seem at the time. The online world has been my focus for the last 3 years and the more I learn, the more opportunities present themselves.
Who are some business figures you look up to?
Sir Tim Wallis’ story has been a huge inspiration. With the mix of Deer Hunting and flying Spitfires, I couldn’t really think of anything better! Number 2 would be Sir Colin Giltrap and what he has achieved locally and internationally in the car industry has been nothing short of remarkable and inspirational.
Any advice for up and coming entrepreneurs?
Never fear failure! I have failed many times before but have never given up and always had the ability to regroup, re strategize and keep moving forward. If I hadn’t done so I would be sitting in a dull 9-5 job worrying about how the mortgage was going to be paid next week.
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