OK, so you’re the Owner of “Your Repair Facility”, now what? This article is going to look at, “Working IN your Business or Working ON your Business” and all the idiosyncrasies that entails.
First we’ll start with those of you who prefer to work “IN” the business. These business owners typically tend to work as Service Advisors by day and Owners by night after everything is shut down and somewhat quiet. In this scenario the owner, who put up the cash to build his dream, now works from 7:00 in the morning to 5 or 6:00 at night depending on the hours the facility is open as the Service Advisor, a Technician or combination of anything that requires getting done. Maybe 5 days a week, maybe more! Then when the business closes he/she turns into the Owner again and starts doing the paperwork required to run a GOOD facility. This generally amounts to 3-5 more hours well into the evening. OK, now it’s between 10:00 & 12:00 at night and he/she generally still must drive home, then unwind from the day of frustration and “try” to go to sleep. With maybe 5 hours of sleep he/she gets to get up and start the day all over again! WOW, do this a couple weeks in a row and we all can see where and how things start to slip through the cracks in the business. OH, maybe I forgot, AND you have a family that wants to spend time with you…….maybe? You see, after a month or so of this pace not only are things going wrong at work, they’re going wrong at home too, with or without a family! Loss of sleep, the pressures of your customers, your employees, not making enough money to pay the bills…………. then you snap!
Not a good place to be when you actually stop, step back and think about it, but it is a place we see owners every day! Then we come in to “help” and one of the first things we say is, “you MUST start marketing more”! You see, whether you’re an established business or just opening your doors, you will have to Market. Whether it is to replenish your current customer base losses through “normal” attrition or to keep your customers start coming back to you. Now, where is that time going to come from? You could probably rob some time from the day-to-day operations or maybe the after hours paperwork, maybe even sleep a little less, but your business WILL suffer, as are most that have Owners that work IN instead of ON their businesses!
Now let’s take a look at the Owner who works “ON” their business. In order to work on the business, most shops MUST employ someone to manage the day-to-day operations. This person is responsible for everything that goes on during the normal business hours freeing you (the owner) up to do things like………oh, lets say, paperwork (remember 3—5 hours), maybe sleep, spend time with the family, AND MARKET(the other 5—3 hours left)! The smart business owner understands that delegation is the key to the success of any business, because you just can’t make enough money (in most cases) working off of your efforts alone! Real money comes while working off the efforts of others, and happiness quickly follows. You “don’t want the large overhead of employees or a Manager” you say, well lets look at how much more effective a business owner you can be when they’re well rested, have a good relationship with family and enough money to pay the bills, what’s that worth? In most cases you can’t afford NOT to have a manager if you ever want success within your business. Good business decisions require a sharp mind……..Marketing well enough to promote your business properly does too!
Most owners got into business because they wanted the “freedom and money” they used to “make for someone else”. Maybe they simply thought they had a better way, whatever the reason, don’t short-circuit the machine before it gets going. Be an Owner, Market, run then business instead of it running you, hire people to do the day-to-day stuff the business requires, and start to enjoy life!. Because, when you are enjoying life, in most cases your employees enjoy it too, and that is where GREAT facilities come from.
What defines a GREAT facility?? That answer depends on you. For some it is having the money to do what they want, when they want, for others it’s having the time, and some look for a combination of both. However, never think that because you have reached you’re “success level” that you can stop working! Staying on top requires constant work and if you’re the type that wants to slow down, make sure that you put someone in place that has the drive required to continue to build your business. One more thing here, make sure that you pay your people (employees) what they are worth through a good compensation plan. One (compensation plan) that builds and increases as your business does through they’re efforts. We have seen many good to great employees leave because they received no kudos or rewards for exceptional work, and in most cases this could have been avoided with a well thought out compensation plan.
Hire good people, empower them to do the job, pay them fairly for the job requirements……..and let them do their job! They may not do it as you would, there may be major differences, but looking for the proper end result instead of criticizing the process is the mark of a good owner. Your managers need to learn that last step as well. If you’ve hire the right people, and have given them the guidance as to what the end result should be (sometimes referred to as goals), they will succeed. If they are the wrong people, stop procrastinating and terminate them. We see facilities everyday that have the wrong employee for the job, year after year because the owner feels bad about terminating them. This is business, your business, don’t make employees personal. Good long term employees may be different to some degree, but even a long term employee that was once good, but isn’t any longer MUST be let go before he/she adversely effects the rest of the business!
Remember, you can only wear one hat at a time, well you can wear more, but you can only really make it work with one! More than that confuses everyone, your employees and your customers, and confused employees and customers soon become someone else’s!
If you need help with your business and want to see and feel the successes you expected when you opened your doors, give us a call at:
The ACT Group, 916-588-0775 or visit our website for more information www.automotivecoachingandtraining.com