In the beginning of June, I started a new journey of better health. I want to be blunt and honest with all of you. Ever since my wife and I moved back to Mississippi in 2004, life and career has taken its toll; I have found myself fat and lazy. Saying this is not meant to be negative talk about my health, but to be real. The reason for sharing this is that I had one of those “aha!” moments that I have read about but have never experienced firsthand. It has taken a lot of work, but this new journey has been a lot of fun and very interesting. I made a commitment to be active for 30 days straight at the gym/home and I have met my goal every day but one!
I am sure you are beginning to wonder how my personal health journey and my big “aha!” moment relates to the collision repair industry and your business. Hang in there with me and I will explain.
I have been in and around the collision repair industry all my life. I started going to our shop when I was 9 years old. I have grown up seeing my granddaddy, uncles, and father run the business. Those were simple times and business was simple. Fast forward 30 years…things have changed immensely. It has become more complicated within the business side of collision repair.
Just as we want great personal health, we want great business health as well. This means the heart of the business: the financials. This is the reason we are in business in the first place. The only problem is a lot of us start to fall into a “fat and lazy” mentality when it comes to our finances. It’s so easy to make up excuses and trick ourselves into thinking everything is going well, and we are doing all that we can do, when what we may need to be is honest and blunt about the health of our business. The truth is that most people are not being realistic when it comes to financials. Just like I have made the commitment to better myself through going to the gym every day, I decided to also make a commitment to work on the financials every day. You are probably like me, pulled in many different directions in your business, but the commitment you make to ensure money is being managed well will pay many dividends in the long run. Here is a brief list of good business habits that can help you just as it has helped me.
- Meet with your CPA at least on a monthly basis. Go over the financial statements. If you do not know how to understand your financial statements be sure and ask your CPA for help; or you may want to invest in a business class to help you better understand where you need to be. Your financial statements are your keys to success and making sure you know what decisions you need to make. The financial statements are the key to your business health and keeping you on the road to proper health, keeping you from becoming fat and lazy again.
- Work with a 20-group. One of the items that has helped me tremendously is working with my virtual 20-group. If you are like me and have a hard to time getting out of the shop for an extended length of time this is a great way to interact and meet with similar minded people that want to improve their businesses.
- Communicate with your business partners (vendors). What I mean by this is to make sure that vendors and other partners know what your philosophy is. A lesson that my grandfather and my dad taught me a long time ago is make sure you adhere to the golden rule. Treat everyone the way that you want to be treated. We have a lot of animosity in our industry right now that can cause a lot of problems. Although if you adhere to the principles of the golden rule, then all those with negativity will succumb to your way of thinking and philosophy. This will build trust and improve your business’ health.
- The last and most important habit is to set aside a specified time each day to work on your financials. Work on the business and not just in it. This is a habit that I had to figure out, but it is a great one that will help you become a better businessperson. I wear a lot of hats at my shop, but the most important hat that I wear is the financial hat. If we are not making a profit, then we must figure out what is happening and where we address these areas to realize a profit.
It may seem simple, but if you want good health, personal or business-wise…"don’t be fat and lazy.”