We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Trieu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I was working in the automotive industry for about a decade before starting True Performance Motorsport. My career began as an automotive parts specialist in the racing and performance division at a well-known performance shop in Orange County. In addition, I was honing my skills on the racetrack as a competitor and eventually became a driving coach. This gave me a better understanding of how the parts enhanced the driving experience for different cars. I also immersed myself in the racing world and it showed me how the community was closely knit. Because I worked in the industry and was a racer, I noticed that club racers and car enthusiasts, like myself, needed high performance tires and parts. I wanted to pursue this market, but couldn’t due to restrictions at the current company. This sparked the idea to start my own company in order to service this niche market. It was a difficult decision, but I left the company in order to pursue my own passion. After leaving, I had the opportunity to become a specialist in race tires. My main focus was working with tire companies to test new compounds, provide tire service, manage race events, and sell tires. From this, I learned what performance minded clients demanded from their tires and how to properly service them. By knowing the most important features of the tire, I was able to recommend exact product specifications that tailor to the client’s needs. This was the experience I needed to get the confidence to finally start my own company.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
True Performance Motorsport is an online performance tire and parts retailer. We started back in 2018 and have grown into a facility that supports not only the local Southern California club racers but expanded internationally. We are one of two exclusive retailers for Nexen race tires, and our knowledge on race tires is second to none. It was not an easy transition going from a stable 9 to 5 to starting my own venture. There was a steep learning curve and we had many fumbles along the way. We had the same typical problems as other businesses such as cash flow, inventory, and gaining a client base. The stress was getting to be overwhelming, so I decided to seek help from experts on the issues that held my company back. By asking questions and continuing to be assertive, I was able to get really great advice from fellow business owners. This is what helped push True Performance Motorsport to finally get the traction it needed. Lesson here is don’t be afraid to ask! After finally getting the ball rolling, the pandemic hit us extremely hard. Our clientele of racers had nowhere to compete as race tracks were closed for almost half the year. We barely made it through but the support from family and friends along with our loyal clients helped us keep the business afloat.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Balboa Park is a beautiful site to see if you enjoy nature. It’s right in the middle of downtown San Diego, and has a serene Japanese Friendship Garden along with other botanical gardens and ponds. Also in the area is the San Diego Zoo. For some good eats, Searsucker is also in downtown but if you don’t mind driving a bit further, you have to try Menya Ultra for their ramen. Camellia Rd Tea Bar is also right next to it and you can indulge in delicious tea drinks. Or there’s Phil’s BBQ, which is a staple of SD. If you want to shop, Fashion Valley is a very hip outdoor shopping mall that has something for everyone.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to make a shoutout to my wife, Laurie, who stood by me, put forth many late hours of work, and experienced all of the growing pains of the business with me. Plus, Bryan from Berk Technology, Steve from European Auto Source, and Leonard from Swift Springs who have mentored me. Lastly, all of my friends who supported the business in its infancy by using our services and sending referrals. Also thank you to SD Voyager for sharing our story and giving us this opportunity to be a part of the series.