Planet Subaru – Jeff Morill

“There are all these Win-Win situations, if you’re intentional about looking for them and building that into your culture and operating philosophy.” Jeff Morill

The most successful and sustainable business often have their strengths anchored in the fundamental values rather than products. These values dictate how these business relate with both their employees and customers. This is according to our guest today, Jeff Morill, who believes that once established and entrenched in the business culture, positive values will remain alive and serve your business a great deal.

Jeff Morill’s first business was Planet Subaru, perhaps the world’s first ethical car dealership. He co-founded Planet Subaru, “your undealership,” in 1998, and built it into one of the most successful privately-held car dealerships in the United States. He later started other businesses in automotive retail, real estate, telecommunications, and insurance that generate over $100,000,000 in annual revenue. His achievements in building profitable and ethical companies have been featured in a variety of national media including USA Today, Entrepreneur Magazine, Automotive News, The Boston Globe, and others.

After Jeff nearly killed himself in an accident, he wrote a book to pass along the unusual things he had learned about how to sell a lot without selling out your integrity. The book comes out February 28th and is titled ‘Profit Wise: How to Make More Money in Business by Doing the Right Thing.’ Learn more at (I’m donating all author royalties to charity.)

Jeff reveals things about the car business, but prefers to speak thoughtfully about personal development and entrepreneurship. For example, He developed a straightforward hiring process that makes a lot more sense than what most businesses are using (if they have any process at all).

In today’s episode, Jeff discusses how he was able to form a highly profitable company based that was anchored on ethical practices and superior customer experiences.

Listen in!

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  • When we opened our business, we saw an opportunity to differentiate ourselves from the terrible state of the showroom experience. [3:03]
  • My brother who is the co- founder business partner, and I grew up under very modest conditions. [3:42]
  • We knew from the beginning that we wanted our lives to be about a lot more than just moving iron and making profits. [4:16]
  • Other businesses that we’ve bought have put us in a position to do some pretty neat things in terms of giving back and serving the community. [4:26]
  • I think it’s important to understand that with all the success we’ve had, we’ve had some struggles too. [5:32]
  • I guess I look at it like a garden, that is growing and it has its own energy and we have to go in and make sure that we’re providing it with all the resources it needs. [6:19]
  • It’s a ton of focus on making sure that the stated values that you started the company with are actually alive in it every day. [6:44]
  • One of the things that has really made us successful relative to competition is our ability to hire people. [7:29]
  • A lot of businesses though, if you lose the interest in making those investments, the withdrawals happen sort of automatically. [10:13]
  • What I want to do is articulate this vision and hopefully inspire other entrepreneurs to think about it the way I do. [11:38]
  • One of the things I’m really proud of at the Subaru dealership, we’ve hired many female technicians which supports their families and their communities. [12:18]
  • There are all these Win-Win situations, if you’re intentional about looking for them and building that into your culture and operating philosophy. [13:56]
  • The most conspicuous thing we see from having more women in our team is that the men felt like they needed to act a little more professionally. [15:48]
  • Commercial break [18:05]
  • I think I have a very high pain threshold, which has served me very well and another thing that I’m really proud of is my communication ability [19:48]
  • I was very scared for many years that we were going to lose it all because we’re very lightly capitalized, highly leveraged. [23:55]
  • If I could write myself a letter back to when I was starting a business, I would tell myself to make sure I enjoy it along the way and that it was going to turn out fine. [24:22]
  • One of the things I did do well is I started the business with love in the model. [24:54]
  • Human institutions ultimately need to be there for the benefit of people, and to serve others and to benefit the earth in some way. [26:06]
  • If all your business does is pad your pockets, you’ve failed regardless of how rich you are, that’s where I’m coming from. [26:20]
  • If you’re going to succeed in business, just make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons and that you’re taking care of people. [26:26]


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