Oils ain’t Oils

As we speed towards Christmas and we have the opportunity to take a well-earned break, many of us will be looking to pack up the car, 4-wheel drive etc. and head out on the open road for some summer holiday time with family and friends. No doubt before you go, there will be those few necessary mechanical checks to ensure you have a trouble-free journey – like oil!
Have you ever stopped to really give some thought to the quality of the oil that you are putting into your engines? It turns out that Vladimir and Sergei Ostashkevich were faced with just such a dilemma back in 1995. As professional drag racers they were aware of the importance of the product they were putting into their $60,000 vehicles.
‘During a race event a large quantity of motor oil is required to run these 6,000 horsepower machines. Every time you start the engine, either in the Pits or every 4.9 second pass of the quarter mile requires 15 litres of motor oil in the engine. To protect the engine and also to get the best performance out of it, you cannot underestimate the quality of the oil needed,’ said Sergei.
Finding themselves without an oil sponsor led them to research the market and they discovered an American Top Fuel racer by the name of Pat Dakin who was using a product called ULX110. ‘I was really just trying to get oil for free as part of a sponsorship deal, and our mechanic was very sceptical about putting this product into our very expensive engines. We were willing to take a huge gamble on a relatively unknown product and we took it to the 1995 Nitro Champs held at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney’s outer west. Without exception we have never seen or still have not seen anything that can rival the performance and protective qualities of this exceptional motor oil,’ said Vladmir.
So it was that in late 1996 Sergei and Vladimir decided to import and sell ULX110 as authorised Australian distributors. ‘The success of the product has been the pure fact that it works and that it out-performs all other commercial oils in the market – and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a street car or a race car,’ said Sergei.
When the Aussie dollar crashed in 2000, this meant it was not financially viable to import American products, so Sergei and Vladimir commenced blending it themselves in Adelaide, under license. ‘Our customers are very loyal to the product because there is nothing in the market that compares to the performance of ULX110. We still have the same original customers from when we first imported the oils in 1997,’ said Vladimir.
Obviously versatility is the key to their business success along with an absolute belief in their product ‘having the ability to convince potential customers to try the products when they have been bombarded with commercial companies that spend millions on advertising, telling them different, only works if you have the honest belief in yourself that what you are telling is the truth about your products,’ said Sergei.
When asked about what advice they would give to their younger selves about starting a business both brothers acknowledge that it does take hard work and time to build a loyal client base, but that such a base is invaluable. ‘Getting loyal customers who spread the gospel about your products is the best form of advertising.’ Nothing truer than that!
So as you head off on your summer break, remember – oils ain’t necessarily oils!
And our quote of the week from Leadership coach, Brian Tracy. Learn something new. Try something different. Convince yourself that you have no limits.
On a personal note as we do head into the Xmas break, I wanted to express on behalf of the committee for Southern Business Connections, our thanks to everyone that has been involved in our organisation over the past year. We are blessed to have a committee that wants to make a difference and a membership that sees the value in the peer to peer support that comes from being involved and networked. Thanks to all and have a merry and safe Xmas and new year. See you both next week at our Xmas function and in 18!
Cheers Phil

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