WOW…….we just returned from a month of trade shows all over the country. And after having spoken to hundreds of shop owners in the last 30 days and heard a variety of concerns and opinions about their business. Trying to evaluate all the information, we started looking at what makes one owner successful, while another struggles. Taking that thought process a step further we looked at establishing a categorization process for Shop Owners. The following is a summarization as to the five categories we isolated “today’s” shop owners into;
Inspired: I’m not satisfied These owners are motivated and looking to the future as evident by their questions and comments throughout the show. They understand their business and keep a close watch on the numbers, and as soon as a number or trend changes they isolate why and are making adjustments immediately. These owners understand what the history of the business means and use it to influence the future and as a net result we see them working on the business, not in the business more frequently. They constantly look for new trends, make adjustments to the business, and then watch for effectiveness. These business owners are involved in the community, have a large presence on social media sites and use networking to its fullest potential. We also found that they have a staff that they trust to provide great customer service, make the business grow and of course make a profit. By and large they are not micro managers, but instead are leaders, accomplishing the business goals through others. These owners dream big, think big and make things happen! They are not just working on today, but have ideas and plans for next month, next quarter, next year and far into the future. These owners understand the value of not trying to do everything themselves, and as such hire professionals to help them take the business to the next level. These owners are always seeking knowledge. In other words they (the Inspired Owners) are engaged and present, mentally & physically. The inspired owners do the hard stuff.
Complacent: Things are OK These owners are in the Status quo mindset. They may not be satisfied with where they or their business is at, but can’t seem to make the changes needed to change. A success to this owner is the business that does not go backwards. No change in any direction is good, because they have achieved a level of comfort. They’re paying the bills and not much more. Any problems, a bad month, equipment failure, or an increase in any expense creates a huge cash flow issue. They have a tendency to be very proactive in staying up on the technical side of the business, but not the management / ownership side of the business. Even if they attend business training they may not take anything from the training or they may feel they don’t need to change. The problem with the complacent owner is the world is changing quickly and they are not able to change with it. In many cases they go to training just to look progressive while not really wanting to change anything. They are not motivated to make changes and will generally only do the easy things.
Oblivious: What? The world has passed this owner by! They are so busy fixing cars that they have forgotten or are in denial about the changing world. The idea that’s someone can help them, both with internal and external help, is very foreign to them. They are the ultimate doers; “if they don’t do it then it doesn’t get done.” This owner may attend classes and read the trade magazines, but cannot conceive that the class or magazine is about them, and that they should try new ideas, process or procedures. These owners and managers are the ones that say “that won’t work for me in this area, or with my customers, or in my state.” The oblivious business owner is focused on themselves, sometimes running around in circles and complaining about all they have to do and how there’s no time, almost always with no tangible results. Because they don’t realize how deep the rut is they’re in, they think “I’m OK.” Until, the rut becomes a grave, and only then, do they stop being an oblivious owner and become a Stuck or Desperate owner.
Stuck: No way out! These owners have been on the business merry- go- round for so long, they no longer get dizzy. They want to change, but never do, even when knowing there is better and different ways to do things, change simply scares them. They don’t see any benefit in spending money to improve the business. They spend a lot of time worrying about how change will affect their life, both personal and professional and may even know that if they don’t change, they may not have a business in the future. Because he/she won’t change, they are always fighting cash flow issues. These owners have employees they should fire, but they justify keeping them by making excuses like “they are OK and I might get someone worse,” “he has some good qualities,” “he’s my friend, or I just can’t fire him.” The business looks like it did 20 years ago because they are still doing business the same way.
Desperate: Survival This owner is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Thinking only about today or in some cases tomorrow. They hope nothing happens, breaks or a problem arises, because that will be the straw to breaks their back. They rush each customers check to the bank, so the check they wrote this morning for the parts won’t bounce and their employees are rushing to the bank to get their check cashed first. They may realize that they need help, but because they’ve waiting so long cannot afford even the most basic training. We generally see that not only is their business in trouble, but in many cases they are behind in all of their personal finances as well. They are so concerned with making money that customer service has all but disappeared. Money is the only thing they focus on and their customers see that. Once this happens, the shops reputation drops fast, they lose customer base, and can no longer afford any new marketing, repeating the cycle again! Where are you, and did you see yourself in any of these scenarios or categories? Remember that you must first identify where you are before you can start working to make a difference in your life and business. Start by addressing any of your personal issues as this will almost always help with business issues. Then work on specific business issues and focus your efforts on moving up the list to becoming an Inspired Owner. It will require refocused effort, energy and a willingness to do the hard stuff. Remember the definition of insanity is: Doing the same things over and over, and expecting different results. Time to get off the treadmill and hit the open road. Make the needed changes and grow yourself and your business.
ESi is training and coaching / consulting company that can help you rise to the top. Through personal attention and service, recorded training session and a track record of improving business all over the Untied States